Diabetes and Macronutrients

Proper macronutrient choices directly help diabetes and glucose (blood sugar) regulation.

Diabetes results when there is an imbalance between glucose and insulin.  When this occurs, your body’s blood sugar levels rise above the normal range.  Often times your pancreas will try to compensate for this imbalance by making more insulin which wears down the pancreas and makes it more difficult to produce adequate amounts of insulin.  Diabetes also affects the liver.  Our liver stores the excess glucose, referred to as glycogen.  With diabetes, the regulation of the liver releasing stored glycogen becomes imbalanced and may release too much sugar when our body doesn’t need it.  High levels of circulating insulin can damage arterial walls over time which may lead to heart disease. Therefore, proper diet along with exercise is crucial when living with diabetes.

Pairing your macronutrients (macronutrients are complex carbs including vegetables, fruit, & grains; lean proteins; & healthy fats) together is the optimum way to regulate glucose and keep energy up all day. Focus on foods rich in potassium, magnesium, calcium, fiber, and vitamins A, C, and E. Dietary fiber can decrease the risk of heart disease and help control blood sugar levels. Avoid an excess of starchy foods as they register to your body as a simple carbohydrate and get stored as sugar which leads to late day energy loss.

Since carbohydrates break down into glucose, they have the greatest impact on your glucose level; and therefore, it is the carbohydrate-based foods that are most important to control.  The type of carbohydrate, the amount, and even the timing of when you eat certain carbohydrates makes a difference with diabetes.

Try this recipe which pairs your three macronutrients in a perfectly balanced way and helps keep your glucose levels under control.  It includes vegetables and brown rice for your complex carbs, chicken for your lean protein, and olive oil for your healthy fat.

Stir Fry
4 tablespoons Olive oil
3 boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts, sliced thin
1 Egg White, 1 teaspoon Flour – to coat the sliced chicken
1 Garlic Clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon Ginger
4 Scallions or 1 yellow Onion, sliced
2 Carrots, sliced
1 Zucchini, sliced
1 Red Bell Pepper, sliced
1 cup Snow Peas or Green Beans
1/2 cup Broccoli Florets
1/2 cup Bok Choy
1/2 cup White Mushrooms
1 tablespoon low sodium Soy Sauce
1/4 cup Chicken Stock, warmed

Slice chicken and coat with egg white mixture, set aside. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large wok or skillet, add the garlic and stir briefly until garlic is slightly browned. Add the coated chicken and stir until chicken turns slightly golden on each side, remove chicken and add the rest of the oil to wok/skillet. Add all the vegetables and the ginger to pan and stir well, cook about 5 minutes. Add chicken back into wok/skillet along with soy sauce and cook 1-2 minutes. Pour in the hot chicken stock and let it boil for another 5 minutes until the sauce starts to thicken. Serve over brown rice.  Makes 4 servings.

Approximately 30 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes.

Another 86 million Americans have prediabetes and are at risk for developing diabetes.

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