Nutrition is Important

The food you eat is not used for energy because your body does not make enough insulin or the insulin your body does produce is not working the way it should.  Insulin is a hormone made in the pancreas, when you have diabetes, your pancreas makes little or no insulin or the insulin you do have is not working the way it should. 

There are 5 types of diabetes, severe autoimmune diabetes, severe insulin-deficient diabetes, severe insulin-resistant diabetes, mild obesity-related diabetes and mild age-related diabetes.  A breakdown on how your body uses sugar for energy can lead to two major types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2, which we will focus on.

Type 1 diabetes, the body immune system fights off harmful viruses and bacteria.  People with Type 1 diabetes, the immune system mistakes the body’s own healthy cells for foreign invaders and attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin.  Therefore your body does not produce insulin.  Signs of Type I diabetes may include the following: Frequent urination, increase thirst, increase or decrease in appetite, rapid weight loss (even when eating normally), very dry or itchy skin, fatigue and blurred vision.

To help manage Type 1 Diabetes you need to check your blood sugar daily, take insulin every day, follow a meal plan and exercise.

With Type 2 diabetes, the body is insulin resistance.   The body produces insulin, (but the insulin does not work the way it should) or (but it is unable to use it the way it should.) Your pancreas will try to compensate (work harder) to produce more insulin and will be unable to effectively use insulin causing sugar/glucose to accumulate/build up in your blood/bloodstream.

Lifestyle may contribute to Type 2 diabetes, including excess weight and inactivity.  Signs of Type 2 diabetes: Frequent urination, fatigue, increased thirst, very dry or itchy skin, sores that are low to heal, unexplained weight loss, extreme hunger, sudden vision change and tingling or numbness in the hands or feet.  These symptoms may develop over a long period of time and you may have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all.   To help manage Type 2 Diabetes you need to monitor your blood sugar, follow a meal plan, exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight and take your medications if needed.

Normal range blood sugar levels according to the American Diabetes Association begin at 70 mg/dl which is normal range to 130 mg/dl to be within the healthy range.

When blood sugar is greater than 150 mg/dl the risk increases for diabetes and complications increase.  It is always important to have your blood sugar numbers closely monitored by you and your physician.

A target blood sugar range of 90 -130 mg/dl before meals may be recommended since 70 may be too low for some people.

Essential part of managing diabetes is meal planning.  Eating small, evenly timed, complete meals is important to help maintain blood sugar levels.  Eating well is key to taking control of your diabetes and avoiding any diabetes-related complications.  Start with these guidelines:

  • Eat 3 balanced meals a day
  • Do not skip meals
  • Eat a variety of foods
  • Eat meals 4 to 5 hours apart
  • Make sure to eat enough fiber
  • Avoid high-sugar foods
  • Avoid high-sugar drinks
  • Watch your portion sizes


Make sure that at each meal you portion Protein, Fat and Carbohydrates.  Starches are the same as carbohydrates, your body needs carbohydrates, but you need to choose wisely.

Whole grains, such as brown rice, oatmeal, baked sweet potato or any items with whole grains and not (or very little) added sugar.

Load up on fresh veggies, raw, steamed, roasted, or grilled.  Plain frozen vegetables lightly steamed.

Fruits are a good source of carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and fiber.  Fresh fruit, plain frozen fruit or canned fruit without added sugar.  Sugar-free or low-sugar jam or preserves.

Protein includes beef, chicken, fish, port, turkey, seafood, beans, cheese, eggs, nuts and tofu.

Eating foods that are high in fiber, such as oats, wheat, whole grains, brown rice, soybeans and peas are some examples of good foods to eat.  Also included are beans, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products.  Eat 3 balanced meals a day