The Diabetes Diet
Richard K. Bernstein, MD, FACE, FACN, FACCWS
Part 4 of Chapter 5
Customizing the Diet
“Fast-acting, concentrated carbohydrate is the ultimate heart-attack food, particularly for those with a sedentary lifestyle.”
THE TIMING OF MEALS AND SNACKS
Meals need not follow a rigidly fixed time schedule, provided that, in most cases, you do not begin eating within 4 hours of the end of the prior meal. It takes 4–5 hours for the effect of a meal on blood sugar to run its course. When you have overlapping blood sugar effects, it is more difficult to control blood sugar. If you eat your breakfast meal at seven in the morning but then an hour later eat a high-carbohydrate snack, the bottom line is that you will prolong the need for high levels of insulin to “cover” the carbohydrate.
If your breakfast is a low-carbohydrate meal but then you snack on a bagel or bun an hour or two later, you will negate whatever virtue the low-carbohydrate meal had. The added insulin needed to cover the blood sugar spike from the snack will help pack away the fat you ate, when otherwise it would have been metabolized. (When a patient is a snacker, he’s obese and his blood sugars are uncontrollable.)
If you do not take insulin, you need not be restricted to only three daily meals if you prefer four or more similar meals on a regular basis. The timing, again, should ideally be at least 4 hours after the end of the prior meal or snack. For most type 2 diabetics, it may be easier to control blood sugar, with or without medication, after eating several smaller meals than after eating only one or two large meals. Those diabetics who use rapid-acting injected insulin to lower blood sugar before meals must wait at least 5 hours between insulin injections and therefore between meals.
Remember that there are no diabetes-related restrictions on coffee and tea, either plain or with cream (not milk) and/or liquid or tablet (not powdered, except for stevia) sweeteners.
Next issue we will put the guidelines to work in some practical example and show you how to create your own meal plans.
We would like to thank the publisher Little Brown and Company and Dr. Richard K. Bernstein, for allowing us to provide excerpts from The Diabetes Diet.
Copyright © 2005 by Richard K. Bernstein, M.D. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review.
This book is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. The reader should regularly consult a physician for all health-related problems and routine care.
For more information on Dr. Bernstein’s and to purchase his books, CD’s or get access to his free monthly webinars, visit his website at DiabetesBook.com.