Diabetic And Hungry For A Snack? Here's What To Eat And When
Stuck in a pinch, wondering what to eat, and have access to nothing more than a vending machine? Not only are dried fruits and nuts high in protein, they are also exceptional sources of carbohydrates and well-suited to help balance blood sugar.
Differentiating between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes
Both chronic, type 1 and type 2 diabetes affect the ways in which the body produces insulin. The latter is largely diet-related and develops over time whereas the former is a genetic disorder. For those suffering from type 1 diabetes, it is imperative that they monitor their blood sugar, take insulin and adopt a balanced diet. Without this, type 1 diabetics can enter hypoglycemia, a condition in which the blood sugar falls below the norm. Unlike type 1 diabetics, type 2 can produce insulin - but have difficulty producing it at sufficient levels. While they are not obligated to take the hormone, they are often prescribed medication to lower their blood sugar and are told to avoid high-fat, high-sugar foods.
Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes
Hypoglycemia quite literally translates to low presence of glucose in blood, and is defined as a blood sugar level below that of 70mg/dL, or 3.9 mmol/L. While signs and symptoms vary greatly they typically commence with dizziness, hunger, arrhythmia and/or perspiration. In the worst of cases, hypoglycemia can cause blurry or double vision, confusion, and/or result in unconsciousness. In an effort to mitigate such an incidence from arising, many recommend indulging in high-protein, low-fat foods prior to bed.
While this does not guarantee stable blood sugar levels, it greatly decreases the likelihood of experiencing both the Somogyi effect and the dawn phenomenon. Between the hours of 2 and 3am, the body releases hormones that raise blood sugar levels, and does so again at dawn, between 3 to 8am, in an effort to wake for the day. Studies have shown that late-night snacking can actually be beneficial as it can slow the Somogyi effect and guard blood glucose levels from dropping to suboptimal levels.
What to Eat and When
This likely goes without saying but bodies differ, as do their ability to digest and react to sugar overnight. As such, consult with a dietician, physician or local healthcare practitioner to determine which of the following suggestions best suit you, and your needs.
That having been said, research has pointed towards high protein, low-fat foods. Accordingly, nuts are often a go-to. Not only do they raise levels of HDL, otherwise known as good cholesterol, they also clear your arteries and effectively regulate blood sugar. That’s not to say all nuts are good nuts. Researchers recommend steering clear of those decked in chocolate, instead, they recommend going for either dry-roasted or raw nuts. For those concerned with weight gain, experts suggest keeping snacks to 1-ounce this amounts to approximately: 13 shelled halves of walnuts, 23 almonds, 45 pistachios or 28 peanuts.