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Guide to healthy eating for diabetics exposes myths

DiabetesAug 28, 07

A new report from Harvard Health Publications dispels common myths concerning diet and diabetes and explains what people with diabetes should eat to keep their blood sugar levels in check.

One of the most common myths is that there is a “diabetes diet” that prohibits sugar and lists other items to avoid. “In fact, the advice for people with diabetes is similar to that for the general population, but with extra emphasis on weight control and control of blood sugar and risk factors for heart disease,” the report states.

Edited by Dr. David Nathan, director of the Diabetes Center and General Clinical Research Center at the Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital, the 48-page “Healthy Eating for Type 2 Diabetes,” covers the elements of a healthy diet, meal planning basics and ways to lose weight. It also includes 40 diabetes-friendly recipes.

Briefly, the report recommends eating a well-balanced diet with a variety of healthy foods, while watching total calories and staying physical activity, with the overall goal of achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.

The report also recommends that people with type 2 diabetes eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, but limit white potatoes, and replace unhealthy fats with vegetable oils.

It also encourages people with diabetes to opt for complex carbohydrates over refined sugars and refined starches; boost the amount of fiber they consume; opt for healthier proteins such as beans, nuts, fish, and poultry, rather than red meat; drink alcohol only in moderation; limit salt intake; get plenty of calcium; and take a multivitamin each day.

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