Diabetes and hypercholesterolemia are on the rise. The bad news, it’s quite common to find the two conditions together. What you eat can affect the overall health of your blood sugar and cholesterol in long term. If you’re diagnosed with pre-diabetes (a condition of when your blood sugar is higher than normal, but not high enough to be categorized into diabetes) and your cholesterol level is borderline high, the following are important checklists to remember for your pre diabetic high cholesterol diet!
Pre-diabetes means that the long-term damage of diabetes may already be starting. But it can be prevented from becoming type-2 diabetes. The good news, pre-diabetic diet is also good for your blood cholesterol levels.
The body breaks down carbohydrate into glucose, which is the main source of your energy. It is the main actor to raise your blood sugar level. But you don’t have to skip it at all. You just need to be smart to choose the best, safe types of carbohydrates!
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Complex vs. simple carbs!
Focus on slow-release, high fiber complex carbohydrates. They cause less impact on blood sugar and make your body use insulin more efficiently, because your digestive system digests them more slowly.
On the other hand restrict simple, refined carbohydrates! They are digested quickly, causing a sudden spike in blood sugar and your body produces too much insulin. As a result, this can increase your risk of insulin resistance and diabetes in long term.
For examples; try these types of carbohydrates (brown /wild rice, whole-wheat pasta, sweet potatoes, whole-wheat bread, high-fiber cereal, leafy greens) – instead of (white rice, regular pasta, white potatoes, regular white bread, instant sugary cereal, corn).
Glycemic index (GI)
GI refers to how fast a food affects your blood sugar. Foods with low GI (typically high in fiber and slowly digested) mean they cause the least effect on your blood sugar level. And high GI foods mean they can spike the level rapidly.
But the GI doesn’t describe a food’s healthfulness. The benefit of using GI in diet is also still debatable, because diet that refers to GI tables can cause eating unnecessarily complicated.
Instead of obsessing over individual foods, watch on your overall eating pattern! For example, simply following heart-healthy diet (such as Mediterranean diet) will not only reduce your overall glycemic load, but also will help boost the quality of your diet.
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Pre diabetic diet doesn’t mean eliminating sugar at all costs. Even if you have diabetes, a small serving of dessert is still OK. As long as you limit hidden sugar and plan properly, you can enjoy it. Moderation is the key.
There are plenty of ways to reduce and consume sugar moderately. For examples:
- If you get used with diet high in sugar, reduce it gradually. This can make it easier to cope with your cravings for sweets.
- If you want dessert, hold the bread or any carbohydrate-heavy foods – otherwise you will have extra carbohydrate that causes more increase in your blood sugar.
- Eat more healthy fats, because they can help slow down your digestive process!
- Chew the food slowly and truly savor each bite! Pay more attention to the textures and flavors what you eat, so you’re less likely to overeat and can enjoy it more.
- Cut back on soda and soft drinks! Too much consumption of these sugar-sweetened beverages can increase your risk of diabetes and other numerous health conditions (read more health risks associated with soda in here).
Watch on hidden sugar (check labels carefully)! Aside from the obvious-popular ones (such as sugar, molasses, honey) – it can also appear as cane crystals, dextrose, fructose, crystalline fructose, fructose corn syrup, lactose, corn sweetener, agave nectar, malt syrup, maltose, invert sugar, etc. Limit also packaged /processed foods such as instant cereals, frozen dinners and canned soups.
Diet high in fats can lead to a range of health risks. But fats are not always bad, even some can help provide a number of health benefits. So the key is what type of fat you eat.
Also called good ‘healthy’ fats, are essential for your cardiovascular system. They are not only good for your blood cholesterol, but also necessary to help keep your blood sugar in balance. They can help boost your HDL (good cholesterol), digest what you eat more slowly so your blood sugar will not easy to raise, and make you full longer (good for your weight control).
In general, unsaturated fats are classified into two main groups;
- Monounsaturated fats, such as; cashews, pecans, almonds, olive oil, and peanuts. Butters (clarified butter) made from these nuts are also good source of ‘good’ fat.
- Polyunsaturated fats. These include salmon, sardine, herring, or other fatty fish – also olive oil, walnuts, spinach, kale and flaxseeds.
Cut down on saturated fats!
When it comes to what you eat, saturated fats are the main reason to blame for your high blood cholesterol. Diet high in saturated fats can increase your LDL (bad cholesterol) and decrease your HDL. Therefore they are also called as ‘bad fats’. These include dairy products, tropical oils, and animal products (like chicken skin and red meat).
Some experts believe that the source of saturated fat matters, too. For example, grilled chicken or a glass of whole milk is better than a fried chicken or a hot dog.
To be smart about your dietary saturated fats, see the following tricks: