Helpful info for a healthier lifestyle
Snacks For People With Diabetes

Are Snacks Still a Must to Manage Diabetes?

December 10, 2014

I have been compensated for my time by McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, the maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog With Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.

For people with diabetes a key food-related question over time has been “to snack or not to snack?” First, a little history – the advice to people with diabetes about snacking used to be eat every few hours to make sure blood glucose didn’t drop too low – into a hypoglycemic range (below 70 mg/dL). This guideline was due to the medications that were available prior to 1995. We only had two types: oral pills in the category of sulfonylureas, and insulins. They both had the potential to cause hypoglycemia (low blood glucose levels).

Times have changed dramatically! Reason one – today we have a host of glucose lowering medications that, by virtue of the way they work, don’t generally cause hypoglycemia. More and more of these are the initial medications, like metformin, that people with type 2 diabetes are prescribed. Also, it is important to note that the insulins used most frequently today, either rapid-acting or long acting, are less likely to cause hypoglycemia due to the way they work.

Reason two – diets for diabetes and diabetes meal planning are less focused on rules and more focused on encouraging you to find an eating and lifestyle plan that works for you. Some people find they want or need snacks as part of their day-to-day eating plan, to control hunger between meals and to help with weight control. Other people don’t want to be bothered with preparing and toting or foraging for snacks during the day. They’re happy to be three-meals-a-day eaters.

Bottom line: snacks in a daily meal plan for diabetes are no longer a must. Read through this checklist to determine if you want to include snacks as part of your diabetes management plan:

  • snacks help you eat the correct amounts of foods at your meals and decrease between-meal hunger
  • snacks prevent low blood glucose levels between meals even after you and your healthcare provider have adjusted your blood glucose–lowering medications to prevent hypoglycemia
  • snacks help you meet your calorie needs (pertinent for young children, women who are pregnant, or people who are underweight or recovering from a medical problem or procedure)
  • snacks help you eat enough of certain nutrients because of the types of foods you eat as snacks, such as yogurt, fruit, vegetables, or nuts

Zero in on the types of snacks you really like – are you a salty-crunchy type, or do you feel the desire to satisfy that sweet tooth? Be sure to portion control snacks, by putting them in small containers, and by only buying small amounts to begin with. Also, if satisfying your sweet tooth is your goal, choose lower calorie options, and be sure to consider SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener as a sugar substitute in sweet snacks.

Hope Warshaw, MMSc, RD, CDE, BC-ADM, is a nationally recognized dietitian and diabetes educator who applies nearly 35 years of expertise as an author, freelance writer, media spokesperson, consultant and diabetes educator. Hope notes: “Healthy eating today is one tough job! The good news is simple tweaks in your food choices and how you prepare foods can often set you on a path to healthier eating. A step in the right direction for a long and healthy life.”

December 10, 2014  |  POSTED BY: Hope Warshaw, MMSc, RD, CDE, BC-ADM  |  IN: Diabetes Management


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