New American Diabetes Association (ADA) nutrition guidelines

In light of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recently releasing new nutrition guidelines, I want to highlight some of the important changes, as well as some of my favorites.

The best news is that there is no specific recommended eating pattern for people with diabetes!! Therefore, each eating plan needs to be specialized. There is no “best” diet for a person with diabetes. However, it is strongly encouraged that you (and everyone else in the world, if you ask me) stick to a diet that contains a variety of minimally processed foods. These foods should be healthy and eaten in appropriate portions.

Now let’s break things down into categories, to help keep them organized:

  • Carbs:
    • No ideal amount of carb is recognized (it used to be 130 g/day).
    • It is recommended that the carbs that are consumed come from vegetables, whole grains, fruits, legumes, and dairy. These foods should have little to no added sugar, fat, or sodium.
    • Fiber: No longer 50 grams per day. However, the general recommendation of 25-30 grams per day is adequate. This should be easily attainable through the consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.
    • A person with diabetes should limit or avoid all sugar-sweetened beverages.
    • The use of non-nutritive sweeteners (such as Splenda, Equal, and Truvia) is recommended, if you are substituting for caloric sweeteners.
  • Fat:
    • The ideal amount of total fat for a person with diabetes needs to be individualized.
    • Fat quality remains important. High quality saturated fat sources like coconut, coconut oil, and grass-fed animal products are acceptable in a diabetic’s diet. High saturated fat sources (and what I would consider low quality) like animal skin (I’m talking to the wings people here!), sausage, hot dogs, bacon, fast food burgers, you get the picture, should still remain limited.
    • Saturated fat should be less than 10% of the total daily calories (it used to be 7%).
    • Cholesterol should be less than 300 mg/dL per day (it used to be 200 mg/dL).
    • Trans fat should still be limited. This hasn’t changed, and it shouldn’t. Try to avoid trans fats whenever possible. Trans fat has been shown to increase your LDL (bad cholesterol) and decrease your HDL (good) cholesterol.
    • The Mediterranean-style eating plan, with regards to monounsaturated fats, may be beneficial. (my personal favorite eating plan!!!). For more information on the Mediterranean-style diet, as well as others, see “Is there a best diet?
  • Sodium:
    • Fewer than 2300 mg/day recommended (it used to 1500 mg). However, if you have high blood pressure, further reductions will be beneficial.
  • Vitamins and herbs:
    • These are individualized to a person’s specific nutrient imbalances.
    • There is no support for cinnamon and other herbals to improve blood glucose control, due to lack of evidence. Also, there are potential medication interactions with these supplements. Please make sure that you consult your doctor about all supplements before you start using them.

Recommendations involving nutrition are forever changing. I will always do my best to keep you up to date!

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