This past week, an article entitled “The Ultimate List of 25 Foods that Help Control Your Blood Sugar Levels” appeared in my Facebook Newsfeed. This type of article is written for the general gullible public for the sole purpose of generating revenue from the ads that accompany such articles. The authors are not going to bother with solid documentation from peer-reviewed studies or even from anecdotal information such as, “In my experience…” Normally, I would just say, “Meh,” and move right along.
However, since this article was shared in a diabetes support group, I responded, “This is an opinion piece, at best, and not based on any documentation of scientific studies. It is undoubtedly useful for those who are still struggling to transition from the SAD (Standard American Diet) to a more whole-foods diet, and for high-carb low-fat vegans (except for the fish) who are not tracking their carbohydrate intake. For low-carb high-fat moderate-protein diabetics and those following ADA dietary recommendations, you need to know the macronutrient composition of these foods and the portion or serving size. I’ll be blogging soon about this. Meanwhile, keep ‘eating to your meter’!” And I promised this blog post.
For those who are following ADA dietary guidelines, 15-20 grams net carbs is considered one (1) serving. (Net carbs is calculated by subtracting fiber grams from total carbohydrate grams.) For those eating low-carb high-fat moderate-protein, a serving should be under 10 grams of total carbs. With that in mind, take a look at what I researched from CalorieKing (http://www.calorieking.com/) for the 25 foods mentioned in the above article. Spoiler: Here are the best foods for diabetics (mentioned in the list below) that are recommended by Adventist Vegetarian Diabetics: asparagus, avocados, blueberries, broccoli, extra virgin olive oil, flaxseed, garlic, raspberries, salmon (if pescatarian), spinach, turmeric, and walnuts. Some other diabetic-friendly foods not mentioned in the list below are almond flour, bok choy, cauliflower, coconut oil, cucumbers, lettuce of all varieties, macadamia nuts, olives (black and green), dill pickles, summer squash, and zucchini; and for lacto-ovo vegetarians, butter, whole eggs, heavy cream, and cheeses of all varieties.
1. Apples (medium, 3″ dia. – 24.7g total carbs, 4.3g dietary fiber)
2. Asparagus (12 spears – 7.4g total carbs, 3.6g dietary fiber)
3. Avocados (1 whole fruit, 7.1 oz. without skin and pit – 17.1g total carbs, 13.5g dietary fiber). In spite of the seemingly high-carb content, avocados have a corresponding high-fiber content and high-healthy-fat content, and are considered one of the best foods for diabetics, regardless of their dietary lifestyle.
4. Legumes, specifically Pinto Beans (1/2 cup, cooked – 22.4g total carbs, 7.7g dietary fiber). For other legumes, you can search CalorieKing (at the link above) for a specific variety.
5. Blueberries, fresh, unsweetened (1/4 cup – 5.4g total carbs, 0.9g dietary fiber)
6. Broccoli, cooked (1/2 cup – 5.6g total carbs, 2.6g dietary fiber)
7. Carrots, raw (1 large, 3 oz., 7″ long – 7.3g total carbs, 2.1g dietary fiber)
8. Cranberries, raw, unsweetened (1/2 cup whole, not dried – 6.1g total carbs, 2.3g dietary fiber)
9. Fish, specifically Salmon, grilled (4 oz. – 0g total carbs, 0g dietary fiber)
10. Flaxseed (1 T. – 3.5g total carbs, 3.0g dietary fiber)
11. Garlic (1 clove, 0.1 oz. – 1.0g total carbs, < 0.1g dietary fiber)
12. Turmeric, ground, spick-rack variety (1 tsp. – 1.4g total carbs, 0.5 dietary fiber)
13. Melons, specifically Cantaloupe (5.9 oz. with rind, 1/8 of 6.5″ dia. – 8.9g total carbs, 0.9g dietary fiber). For other melons, please search CalorieKing (link above).
14. Walnuts, English (1 oz., 14 halves – 3.9g total carbs, 1.9g dietary fiber)
15. Oatmeal, cooked (1/2 cup – 14.0g total carbs, 2.0g dietary fiber)
16. Quinoa, cooked (1/2 cup – 19.7g total carbs, 2.6g dietary fiber)
17. Raspberries, fresh, unsweetened (1/4 cup – 3.7g total carbs, 2.0g dietary fiber)
18. Red Grapefruit (1/2 med., 4″ dia. – 10.3g total carbs, 1.4g dietary fiber)
19. Red Onions (1/4 cup, chopped – 4.0g total carbs, 0.6g dietary fiber)
20. Red Bell Peppers, raw (1/2 cup, chopped, 5.3 oz. – 4.7g total carbs, 1.6g dietary fiber)
21. Soy, specifically Green Soy Beans (Edamame) (1/2 cup – 9.9g total carbs, 3.8g dietary fiber). For other soy products, such as tofu or tempeh, please search CalorieKing (link above).
22. Spinach, cooked (1 cup – 6.8g total carbs, 4.3g dietary fiber)
23. Sweet Potatoes, without skin (1 med., 5.3 oz. – 26.8g total carbs, 3.8g dietary fiber)
24. Cinnamon, ground, common spice-rack variety (1 tsp. – 1.8g total carbs, 1.2g dietary fiber)
25. Olive Oil, specifically Extra Virgin Olive Oil (2 T. – 0g total carbs, 0g dietary fiber)
Whenever you are experimenting with any given food, please “eat to your meter” then “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”