What is Diabetes Food Pyramid?
The diabetes food pyramid categorizes food based on what they contain based on the diabetic diet. Basically, there are six groups of food: starches, vegetables, fruits, milk, meat & meat substitutes, as well as fats & sweets.
At the very bottom of the pyramid are the starches and above it is the vegetables and fruits. Going higher is the milk and meat & meat substitutes. At the very top of the pyramid are fats & sweets. Diabetics should take more food from the bottom and less from the top.
6 Diabetic Food Groups in Diabetes Food Pyramid
Diabetic Food Group 1: Starches
Starches are great sources of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, and fiber. When selecting starchy food, complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, potatoes, etc. should be given priority as they are absorbed slower than simple carbohydrates.
Diabetic Food Group 2: Vegetables
Vegetables contain lots of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. They can be served fresh as a salad with healthy salad dressing (e.g. lemon olive oil vinaigrette or fat-free salad dressings). If served cooked, prepare them in healthy ways (e.g. blanched and grilled) and season with spices and herbs. Avoid adding too much salt or soy sauce. Try to avoid canned vegetables too as these products always have a lot of sodium added to them.
Diabetic Food Group 3: Fruits
Fruits are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Always choose fresh fruits as they will have more vitamins. If drinking fruit juice, opt for 100% fruit juice without added sugar. For canned or dried fruits, all should also be sugar-free, this applies to fruit jams and sauces as well. Canned fruits with heavy syrup, sweetened juices, and other fruit products with added sugar should always be on the diabetic food list.
Diabetic Food Group 4: Milk & Milk Products
Milk and milk products are the main sources of calcium, protein, carbohydrate, and vitamins. Always go for low-fat (1%) or fat-free and unsweetened options, instead of whole or full cream and sweetened regular milk products.
Diabetic Food Group 5: Meat & Meat Substitutes
Meat & meat substitutes are high protein foods. Among the foods included in the food group are poultry, beef, lamb, seafood, eggs, cheeses, nuts, and soy products. Always select lean meat or skinless poultry which are lower in fat. Cook these foods in healthy ways, such as steaming, baking, grilling, or broiling. For cheese, go for low-fat options instead of regular cheeses.
Diabetic Food Group 6: Fats & Sweets
Fats and sweets are at the very top of the diabetes food pyramid, which means that diabetics should eat less of these foods. Diabetics should make their choices wisely when it comes to fats and sweet treats. Only go for healthy unsaturated fats and non-hydrogenated oils or spreads. Avoid unhealthy animal fats and hydrogenated oils. For snacks, choose healthy unsalted baked chips, puffed rice, or air-popped popcorn, and avoid highly salted or butter-flavored choices.