If you have diabetes, you may know that the goal of treatment is to bring blood sugar (glucose) as close to normal as possible. But what is “normal?” Knowing those numbers, and how to achieve them, is key to managing diabetes and living a healthy, active life.
Sugar vs. glucose
There are different kinds of sugars, but the type the body uses most is glucose. Other sugars, like fructose from fruit or lactose from milk, are converted into glucose and used for energy. Our bodies also break down starches, which are sugars that bond to form glucose.
But when medical professionals use the terms, “blood sugar” and “blood glucose” in relation to assessing levels, they are simply using different phrases to describe the same thing.
What are normal blood sugar levels?
For people with diabetes, the American Diabetes Association suggests keeping blood sugar levels before meals from 80–130 mg/dl. One to two hours after meals, levels should be under 180.
In people without diabetes, healthy insulin function keeps sugars in a normal range. But in diabetics, insulin function is damaged, so it’s essential to support the body by eating right, exercising, taking medications or herbs and reducing stress.
Achieving normal blood sugar/blood glucose levels
For most people with diabetes, keeping blood sugar levels in check is all about being mindful of what and how much they eat and drink. Making healthy choices and watching portion sizes can help you control your weight and your blood sugar levels.
But don’t worry, you don’t have to navigate this road alone. When you have nutritionists who specialize in managing diabetes by your side, you can learn to choose the right foods, such as:
- Smart carbohydrates – Instead of white or flour-based bread, rice or pasta, choose whole grains, barley, brown rice, non-starchy vegetables and fresh fruit. These foods can be efficiently converted to energy.
- Lean proteins – Limit or avoid red meats and go for chicken, turkey, low-fat dairy, fish and shellfish.
- Healthy fats – Skip the cream sauces, butter, lard and processed foods, and start cooking with canola or olive oil. Like to snack? Munch on nuts like almonds, cashews, pecans and peanuts.
Nutritional expertise and individual care to help you manage diabetes
At Charles River Medical Associates, we take pride in supporting you and your family’s health from head to toe. When it comes to managing diabetes, whether for you or your children, know that you have comprehensive and caring diabetes nutrition in Framingham, Marlborough, and Natick, Massachusetts. Our specialists are here to help you learn proven ways to eat well and to give you the tools to keep you on track.
To learn more or schedule an appointment, call 508-848-2190 or click here to use our online form.