Diabetes Shopping Tips

November 29, 2011

What shopping tips should you remember year round from American Diabetes Month? SupermarketGuru has got you covered!

Scouring supermarket aisles can be an exercise in temptation for all shoppers, especially diabetics, and as American Diabetes Month comes to a wrap, SupermarketGuru wanted to leave you with some simple grocery shopping tactics that you can use to avoid the temptations and steer your shopping cart toward healthy, nutritious, and satisfying choices. Some 79 million Americans (1 in 3 US adults) are pre-diabetic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in its 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet. Add to this the 26 million already diagnosed with both types of diabetes, the seven million who have diabetes but don’t know it, and the 16 percent of pregnant women who have gestational diabetes.

Supermarkets are filled with temptations that could veer care regimens off course. Even the most disciplined shoppers might misread package labels. So what should you look out for when grocery shopping?

First, you should always be sure to eat before you shop and bring a grocery list. Controlling blood sugar levels is critical for diabetics; and keeping track of carb intake is essential as lower intake is associated with lower blood sugar levels. Finding added sugars in ingredient lists can get tricky; sugars can also be identified by looking for -ose at the end of a word, i.e., glucose, fructose, and sucrose. Look for these on food labels to help identify foods that contain sugar.

Inside the supermarket, be leery of foods that claim to be diabetic foods – read labels carefully. Although seemingly lower in sugars, these foods often contain other substances that can raise blood sugar when digested. Look out for sugar alcohols including mannitol, sorbitol and xylitol; which can increase your blood sugar level (although not as much as sugars), so should not be considered “freebee” foods. Additionally, products targeted towards diabetics may contain more calories than the foods they are replacing. Read labels and compare products!

In the produce aisle, select fresh vegetables and fruits, as well as fresh herbs and spices to add flavor to your meals. Remember, all fruits and vegetables have carbohydrates, although they are complex carbohydrates, they still have an affect on blood sugar. Fruits should be consumed in moderation, berries are best, and fruit juices should be avoided.

When buying grains, choose whole grains like 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 sugars on the label – look out for: sugar, cane syrup, molasses, and honey.

Diabetics are advised to avoid saturated fats, so when buying meats, avoid lunch meats and processed meats like sausage and bacon, select low-fat cuts without visible fat. Choose pasture raised or grass fed and finished meat which has a healthier ratio of fats and even includes a small amount of the essential omega fats. Be sure to choose fish that are high in omega-3 fats, such as mackerel, herring, salmon, tuna, lake trout, and sardines.

Everyone's individual nutritional needs are different. Still, the focus of any diabetes-eating plan is pretty much the same as any healthful diet, a nutritious blend of whole fresh foods based on moderate serving sizes.

Don't forget exercise! Studies have shown that Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed by losing seven percent of body weight, through 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week, and healthy eating. Park further from the store to get a little more exercise rather than waiting for the closest spot in the lot.