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Beating Diabetes: Nutrition is Key

This month, guest blogger Michelle Matte, CSCS has been discussing diabetes in recognition of American Diabetes Month. We started with a general overview to increase awareness about diabetes. We then focused on Managing Type I and 2 Diabetes through Exercise. Today we will discuss Nutrition and Diabetes.

diabetes whole foods


You Are What You Eat

Every morsel of food you put in your mouth must be dealt with in some way by your body. Some of it is broken down in your digestive tract, where energy and nutrients are absorbed to be used for metabolism. Some of it passes right through, cleansing your colon if your diet is rich in whole fruits and vegetables, or possibly building up and becoming trapped if your diet is made up of meats, grains and processed chemical-laden food. An unbalanced diet devoid of natural whole food and full of sugar and refined grains can glut your system with glucose that exceeds your energy demands, leading to insulin resistance and Type II diabetes.

Your “Health” Food May Be Killing You

Many people traditionally eat a carbohydrate-based diet, and those populations are more vulnerable to diabetes. In the United States, Native Americans, African Americans, Hispanics, and Asian Americans are more likely to develop Type II diabetes than Caucasian Americans. “Diet” foods can also boost your blood sugar. 100-calorie packs of snack food, packaged frozen “lean” dinners, and “low fat” foods tend to be high in carbohydrates. Eating these items may be sabotaging your efforts to lose weight and lower your blood sugar.

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No Grain No Pain

You may think that cutting sugar from your diet is enough. But grain-based foods are ultimately broken down to glucose, which is released into your blood stream. Refined grains like white flour, rice and corn are broken down quickly, creating a spike of blood sugar. But even whole grains will eventually cause elevated glucose levels. While it may seem counterintuitive, ketogenic diets that are high in fat and low in grains and sugars can help you lose weight and improve your insulin sensitivity. Most ketogenic diets limit grains, sugars, legumes and milk.

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The Whole Truth

For optimal health, a whole foods diet that consists mostly of fresh produce, along with fresh meats, seeds and nuts in moderation can help you manage both your blood sugar and your weight. A study of 1480 diabetic adults published in “Diabetic Care” revealed that the majority were overweight or obese, and consumed low amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables. To improve your diet, avoid processed meats and canned fruits and vegetables. If a grocery item requires a label, it is not a whole food. Whole foods are found on the perimeter of your grocery store in the produce, meat and dairy sections. Drink plenty of fresh filtered water daily to keep your body’s systems running smoothly. To boost nutrition and add a bit of zest, add berries, cucumber slices or citrus wedges to your water.

To gain a deeper understanding about glucose metabolism and diabetes, consider enrolling in W.I.T.S. online courses. Nutritional Concepts, Certified Personal Trainer Certification, Older Adult Fitness Foundations, and Exercise Program Design for Special Populations all offer insight into how the body uses sugar for energy.

– See more at:



Diabetes Care: Diet and Exercise Among Adults with Type II Diabetes.


Healthline: Type 2 Diabetes Statistics and Facts.


Healthline: How the Ketogenic Diet Works for Type 2 Diabetes.


Hawthorn University: Reversing Type II Diabetes by Implementing a Whole Food Diet & Lifestyle Changes

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