By Katie Lehn, RD
Did you know that insulin resistance and diabetes are the leading causes of heart disease? Managing blood sugar is critical to preventing and managing heart disease. Thinking about blood sugar control, may pose a threat to the joy associated with eating, however, lowering your blood sugar does not mean one must create a list of forbidden foods. Rather it brings opportunity to create intention around food selections. Here are three myths we encounter in controlling diabetes and insulin resistance.
Myth: Cut out all carbs
- People often feel the need to remove all carbohydrates from the diet. While they’re on the right track by becoming mindful of carbohydrate consumption, there is no need to eliminate all carbohydrate from the diet. Carbohydrate-rich foods are important sources of fiber and protective antioxidants and phytochemicals.
- Rather than eliminating all carbs, choose unprocessed foods such as beans, lentils, sweet potatoes, corn, peas, winter squash, fruit, brown rice and oats as the primary sources of carbohydrates. Eat small amounts of these foods with three meals daily.
Myth: Use artificial sweeteners instead of sugar
- Many people begin using Splenda, Sweet n Low or Equal. However, this is not a good choice. Artificial sweeteners have been linked to increased cancer risk, neurological symptoms like headaches and negative alterations in our gut microbiome. Additionally, artificial sweeteners perpetuates craving for sweets.
- Train your tastebuds to appreciate less sweet treats. Experiment with preparing desserts using natural sweetness from fruit and spices. Check out our Nourishing No-Added Sugar Desserts Cookbook for ideas (it’s a free download!).
Myth: There is no joy in life when our food is changed
- Take the focus away from food by suggesting alternate activities such as a hike, going to the park, playing a group sport (touch football, Frisbee, soccer), crafting or playing bored games.
- Bring healthy food options to gatherings with family and friends. This way you know there will be at least one thing you are confident supports your goals.
- Plan ahead. Make sure you keep to a normal eating schedule during weekend actives. Have a healthy snack option with you at all times in case of emergencies: nuts, fresh fruit, fresh veggies, natural jerky, fruit and nut bars without added sugar.
- If you have diabetes, create your own “Diabetes Care on the Go Kit” to have ready for a spur of the moment adventure. This could include: a blood sugar monitor, insulin (if prescribed), a water bottle, emergency snacks, and a cold pack (to keep the insulin at the right temperature).
- Another aspect of joyful living is exploring new cooking styles and flavors. Try these delicious, antioxidant-rich recipes:
- Szechuan Green Beans is one of my favorite blood sugar friendly dishes. Why? Because everyone loves it, not just those with insulin resistance! This veggie-tastic dish is rich in anti-inflammatories, like the flavonoid, quercetin from ginger. Reducing inflammation plays an important role in managing blood sugar. Not to mention, it’s packed with flavor!
- Garlic Rosemary Parsnip Fries are a personal obsession of mine. I love this recipe for diabetes because it encourages getting creative with unprocessed, carb dense foods. Parsnips are a less common carbohydrate choice and this quick & easy dish is a great way to try them out for the first time!
Want more? Begin your journey to a balanced life during a personalized session with one of our dietitians today.