Grocery Shopping Tips for Diabetics

How to manage your diabetes at the grocery store

Diabetes, prediabetes, and blood sugar control are very important for many people keep in mind on a daily basis. Here is a collection of great tips from SupermarketGuru crafted to keep your blood sugar in check.

The first step begins before you even step foot inside the store — always be sure to eat before a shop trip prepare a list to make the process as easy as possible. Make it a priority to read labels carefully for dietary information and review ingredient lists whenever they're available. One important thing to look for on a food label is the total grams of carbohydrate. This includes the grams of sugar listed as well as the amount of additional carbohydrates in the food. 

Controlling blood sugar levels is critical for diabetics; understanding the principles of counting carbohydrates, since maintaining a lower carbohydrate intake is associated with having lower sugar levels in the blood, is essential. The nutrient term for sugars can also be identified by looking for "-ose" at the end of a word (i.e, glucose, fructose, and sucrose are all sugars).

Inside the supermarket, avoid purchasing highly processed foods as often as possible. Try not to be automatically swayed by any food that claims to be diabetes-friendly — read the labels carefully. Although they might seem to be lower in sugars, these foods often contain other substances that will raise blood sugar when they break down. Look out for sugar alcohols — including mannitol, sorbitol, and xylitol. Sugar alcohols can increase your blood sugar level (although not as much as pure sugars), so should not be considered a "freebee" food. Additionally, products such as diabetic ice cream, cookies, and candy may contain more calories than the foods they are replacing. 

When buying grains, choose whole grains such as whole-grain breads, brown rice, quinoa, and buckwheat, and always make sure that the word "whole" precedes the word "grain" on things like breads and pastas. Look for breads and cereals that do not list high fructose corn sweetener or other sugars including sugar, cane syrup, or honey, on their ingredient labels.

People with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular complications. So, it is also advised to avoid foods that are high in saturated and trans-fats. Fats that are solid at room temperature are saturated fats. Try almond milk or hemp milk and if you are going to eat hard cheeses, make it an occasional treat.

When buying meats, avoid lunchmeats and processed meats like sausage and bacon. Be sure to choose fish that are high in omega-3 fats, such as mackerel, herring, salmon, tuna, lake trout, and sardines.

When dealing with diabetes, each person's nutritional needs are different. Still, the focus of any diabetes-eating plan is pretty much the same as any healthful diet — a nutrient-rich blend of foods that are low in fat and calories and based on moderate serving sizes. If your local supermarket has an in-store dietician, ask them for shopping tips based on your individual needs.

For more information visit the American Diabetes Association.

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