A low-fat eating pattern includes vegetables, fruits, starches, lean protein, such as chicken and turkey without the skin, fish, and low-fat dairy products. This eating pattern has been shown to improve heart health when overall calorie intake is reduced and weight loss occurs. However, according to some studies, following a low fat diet did not always improve blood glucose or heart disease risk factors.
A low carbohydrate eating pattern focuses on non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli, green beans, kale, salad greens and protein foods like meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, eggs, cheese, nuts and seeds, fats (oils, butter, olives and avocado). Highly processed carbohydrate foods and grains are limited or avoided in this eating pattern. There is no standard at this time for the grams of carbohydrate in a low-carb eating pattern and research continues to look at the effects of this eating pattern on diabetes. Work with a registered dietitian who can talk with you about your current eating habits and help you figure out the plan that will work best for you.
Type 2 diabetes in children is a growing problem. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), around 193,000 Americans under age 20 have type 1 or type 2 diabetes. One study found that the incidence of type 2 diabetes in youth has increased to about 5,000 new cases per year. Another study showed a significant increase, particularly in minority races and ethnic groups.
A simple blood test, the A1c (your doctor may call it "glycosylated hemoglobin") is done on a sample of blood taken from a finger-stick or from a small vial of it drawn from your arm. Not to be confused with the daily at-home monitoring that allows some people with diabetes to measure their blood sugars in the moment, the A1c test paints a picture of your average blood sugar level for the past 3 months.
Choose a plan that you are likely to follow long-term that fits your diabetes goals and personal needs. Think about your likes and dislikes and how a change to your eating will affect your day to day life with family and friends as well as your personal weight loss goals. Budget also plays a part in choosing the right healthy eating plan that will meet your needs.
"Diabetes damages every blood vessel in your body, including the ones in your eyes," says Robert Rizza, MD, professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic. "Similar damage can also occur in your heart, your head, and your kidneys. But if you take care of yourself -- if you control your blood sugar, blood cholesterol, and blood pressure -- the chances of bad things happening to you are very low."