If you’re living with diabetes, then you know that maintaining a healthy diet is key to managing your blood sugar levels and keeping yourself healthy. But what exactly does that mean? And where do macronutrients fit into the picture?
In this article, we’ll discuss macros in nutrition – what they are, why they’re important, and how you can find your ideal balance for a diabetes diet.
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What are macronutrients?
A macronutrient is a nutrient that your body needs in large amounts to function properly. There are three macronutrients – protein, fat, and carbs – and each one plays an important role in your health.
If you’re living with diabetes, then you know that it’s important to eat a healthy diet. But what does that mean, exactly? And why are macronutrients so important?
In the next section, we’ll take a closer look at each one of them.
Carbohydrates are one of the three macronutrients, and they’re essential for good health. But what are they, exactly? And what do they do for the body?
Carbohydrates are organic molecules that the body uses for energy.
They come in two forms – simple and complex. Simple carbs break down in the body quickly, while complex carbs take longer to digest.
The body processes carbohydrates by breaking them down into glucose.
Glucose is then used for energy by the cells in the body. Carbs are an important part of a healthy diet, and they play a key role in managing blood sugar levels.
It’s important to understand carbs when creating a diabetes diet, because they’re the main dietary source of glucose.
When it comes to carbohydrates, fiber is also an important part of the equation. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body can’t digest. It comes in two forms – soluble and insoluble.
Soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms a gel-like substance.
It’s found in foods like oats, barley, and legumes. Insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve in water and is found in foods like wheat bran, vegetables, and fruits.
Both types of fiber are important for good health, but soluble fiber is especially beneficial for people with diabetes.
It helps to regulate blood sugar levels by slowing down the rate at which food empties from the stomach into the small intestine. This gives the body more time to absorb glucose from the food, which helps to keep blood sugar steadier.
You might know fat as a macronutrient that can clog your arteries or make you fat – but fat is actually essential for good health!
Fat is another type of organic molecule that’s essential for proper functioning. There are several types of fat, including saturated fat, unsaturated fat, omega-fatty acids, and trans fat.
Saturated fat is found in fatty cuts of meat, butter and cheese. It’s important to limit the amount of saturated fat that you eat each day because it can raise your cholesterol levels.
Saturated fats are solid at room temperature – they’re found in foods like lard, bacon fat, and butter.
Unsaturated fat is found in plant-based foods and fish.
It’s the “healthy” fat because it can lower your cholesterol levels when you eat it in place of saturated fat. Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature – they’re found in oils like olive oil, canola oil, and vegetable fat.
Omega-fatty acids are a type of unsaturated fat that’s essential for good health because the body can’t make it on its own. You need to get omega-fatty acids from your diet. They’re found in foods like fish, nuts and seeds, flaxseeds, and oils from nuts and seeds.
Trans fat is a type of fat that’s made through a process called hydrogenation. The fat is heated, causing the fat molecules to change shape and become harder at room temperature. Trans fat can raise your cholesterol levels, so it’s important to eat less of it overall.
Protein is another essential macronutrient. It’s important for good health and plays a key role in managing blood sugar levels.
Protein is made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks of the body. There are 20 different amino acids, and the body needs all of them to function properly.
Protein provides energy and helps to rebuild muscles after a workout. It also takes a longer time to digest in the body than carbohydrates, but less time than fat.
When it comes to protein, it’s important to focus on lean protein sources. Lean protein is a protein source that has a lower fat content and more unsaturated fat. Some good sources of lean protein include fish, chicken, turkey, tofu, and legumes.
The bottom line on macronutrients
It’s important to focus on all three macronutrients when creating a diabetes diet – carbs, fat, and protein. Each one plays an important role in keeping blood sugar levels under control.
It’s also important to find your own personal macros. This means finding the right balance of carbs, fat, and protein that works for you. Everyone is different, so there isn’t one perfect macro ratio that fits everyone.
The best way to figure out your own macros is to track what you eat using a food journal or app and talk to a healthcare professional like a dietitian for an eating plan that works for you.