Do You Know Sugar? And Four More Things to Know About Shopping for Diabetes

November 02, 2015

Steer your shopping cart toward healthy, nutritious and satisfying choices.

November is American Diabetes Month and the beginning of the indulgent holiday season! Here are some ways to help you avoid the temptations and steer your shopping cart toward healthy, nutritious and satisfying choices. Read on for SupermarketGuru’s must know tips for healthy blood sugar year round:

Make a list and read labels. So what should you buy when grocery shopping? First, you should always be sure to eat before you shop and shop from a list; and you should always read labels for dietary information and ingredients. One important thing to look at on a food label is the total carbohydrates in grams. This includes the sugar grams listed on the label as well as the other carbohydrates in the food.

Understand carbs and sugars. Controlling blood sugar is critical for diabetics; understanding the principles of carbohydrate counting, since lower carbohydrate intake is associated with 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). Look for these on food labels to help identify foods that contain sugar. Don’t be fooled by diabetic foods. Although they might seem to be lower in sugars, these foods often contain other substances that will raise blood sugar when they break down. Sugar alcohols — including mannitol, sorbitol and xylitol. Sugar alcohols can increase your blood sugar level (although not as much as sugars), so should not be considered a “freebee” food. Additionally, these foods MAY contain more calories (and a less than ideal ingredient profile) than the foods they are replacing. Read labels and compare!

Head to produce! 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. Diabetic friendly vegetable selections include: celery, zucchini, peppers, and broccoli, as well as leafy greens. In the fruit family, choose grapefruit, berries, watermelon, and cantaloupe. Fruits such as bananas, dates, mangos and pineapples should be consumed in moderation, as well as fruit juices and dried fruits.

Eat the bran and germ. When buying grains, choose whole grains (which naturally contain the bran and germ) 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 sweeteners or other sugars including sugar, cane syrup or honey, on their ingredient labels.

Squash inflammation with protein. When buying meats, avoid lunchmeats and processed meats with additives. Choose meat with seven percent fat or 99 percent fat-free ground meats such as turkey. Buy skinless poultry, fish or shellfish. Be sure to choose fish that are high in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats, such as mackerel, herring, salmon, tuna, lake trout, and sardines. Grass fed beef is also a source of omega-3s.

Keep in mind that everyone's individual nutritional needs are different. Still, the focus of any diabetes or blood sugar balancing 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 dietitian, ask them for shopping tips based on your individual needs.