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Your Diabetic Meal Plan and the Carbohydrate Connection

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Diabetic meal plans need to include carbohydrates, because it's the food group that includes vegetables and fruits that are on superfoods lists. But carbohydrates are also the group that can destroy a good diabetic meal plan.

How is that possible? It has taken me a long time, 13 years with type 2 diabetes, to come to terms with this "good cop/bad cop" character called carbs.

What I call "bad cop" carbohydrates raise insulin levels because they turn to sugar fast. The higher glycemic the carbs, the faster they do it. Eating causes your body to signal the release of insulin. The heavier your diet is loaded with high glycemic carbs, the harder your pancreas must work.

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But "good cop" carbohydrates are full of antioxidants, and a lot of them are low glycemic as well, so we need them. Everyone does, but we who live with chronic disease need to get all the help we can from the things we choose to eat.

If you look on the internet you will find many excellent diabetic diet plans that eliminate most of the carbohydrate group. They never appealed to me, but learning about insulin pumps showed me why those diets work so well.

The Carbohydrate and Insulin Connection

There is a simple and direct connection between carbohydrates and diabetes. How does an insulin pump make it so clear? The pump has to be calibrated for each person, and the questions the pump experts ask are all about carbohydrates.

How many you do you eat at each meal? How much insulin does it take to bring your blood sugar down after eating those carbohydrates? How much carb snacking do you do? Then they use their formulas to decide how much insulin should be added to the pump for each meal and snack. It's all based on carbs.

If that is so, then control of carbohydrates must be the key to lowering blood sugar. So why doesn't the doctor tell you that when you are diagnosed with diabetes? If he did, and you began doing that, your blood sugar would respond right away.

Maybe doctors know that the hardest thing to get patients to do is change habits. It might be easier to hand out a prescription for metformin. They know it will work. And maybe its because doctors aren't taught nutrition. They send you to a dietitian for that.

But there is something else that is affecting choices when you are making diabetic meal plans if you are on insulin, and I found out about it by making the mistake myself.

Insulin, the Carbohydrate Crutch

First I want to say that I know insulin is a life saver. Since it was discovered and released to the world it has saved countless diabetic lives. But I've noticed something, and it disturbs me.

Here's an example that just happened. The checkout girl at the pharmacy offered me candy. She laughed at me when I said I couldn't eat it because I'm diabetic. Then she said that she is a type 1 diabetic but she can eat whatever she wants.

She didn't explain but I understood what she meant. If she wants to gorge on candy or pizza or ice cream or whatever, all she has to do is "cover" it with enough insulin, and her blood sugar will stay under control. I know it's true; I've been guilty of it.

What's wrong with that?

The biggest problem for me is that I need to lose weight, so I have to watch what I eat. And every medication given for diabetes, including pills and insulin, makes that more difficult. So using insulin to cover a binge is a horrible idea.

The second problem is that high glycemic carbohydrates include all the sweet, starchy, gooey, fattening things that Americans love to eat. Processed foods like white bread and breakfast cereal are also high glycemic.

And a diet full of high glycemic carbohydrates has been linked to heart disease, clogged arteries from bad cholesterol, insulin resistance and obesity. It's all bad, and it all points back to carbs.

So eating what you want and covering it with insulin is not an answer, particularly if you are a type 2 diabetic looking for good diabetic meal plans. And you need to understand carbohydrates, what they do and how they affect blood sugar and insulin if you are interested in the diabetic cure.

The glycemic index was made for diabetics, and it will help you decide which carbohydrates will make your diabetic meal plans better, and which ones you may want to phase out of your life. You might decide to use red potatoes instead of Idaho, whole wheat instead of white bread, slow-cooked oatmeal instead of corn flakes. And as you slowly change what you put on your diabetic meal plans, you will begin to see results in your blood sugar and your weight.

That's the power of the glycemic index. It helps educate you about the carb connection to diabetes. You can also learn what diabetic superfoods are, and that will help even more. And you will be moving toward the diabetes cure of weight loss and exercise that has made half the new type 2 diabetics able to get off medications and stop the complications.

Insulin won't do it. Doctors won't do it. Only we can change what we eat and how much exercise we do. But if we really want the diabetes cure others have gotten from exercise and good diets, we'll reach for it. And if it keeps diabetes from taking us away from the things that really matter, changing is exactly what we will do.

Martha Zimmer invites you to visit her website and learn more about type 2 diabetes, its complications and how you can deal with them, as well as great tips for eating healthy that will make living with diabetes less painful.

Go to [] and find out what you can do to avoid many of the pitfalls of this life-changing condition, like paying for cures that don't work and spending money for things you could have gotten free. Martha has made the mistakes and done the research so you don't have to.

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