How Many Times a Day Should a Diabetic Eat?

Controlling blood sugar levels is the most important task in managing diabetes effectively. Uncontrolled blood sugar levels can cause serious complications, including heart disease, organ failure or stroke. Eating the proper foods with the correct frequency is important in improving blood sugar levels.

Diabetic testing her blood sugar level (Image: Purestock/Purestock/Getty Images)

Diabetes and Blood Sugar

Diabetes is a condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than they should be. This occurs because either your pancreas does not secrete enough insulin to allow blood sugar to enter into cells and tissues or the cells and tissues are resistant to the effects of insulin. To manage this biochemical process, you can control the amount of sugar in your blood, which puts less strain on your pancreas and body to regulate blood sugar levels.

How Food Affects Blood Sugar

Many variables in your diet affect how high your blood sugar will be after a meal. You must choose foods with a low glycemic index, which is a measurement of how fast your blood sugar will rise after a meal. Furthermore, eating small portions of high-fiber, low-calorie and low-fat foods will help avoid serious complications. Strive to eat a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, lean meats and low-fat dairy products to improve your blood sugar control.

Frequency of Eating

Eat smaller portions up to six times per day to control your blood sugars, states To begin, you can try using a smaller, saucer-sized plate to learn how to reduce your portion sizes. Although the foods you may eat per meal may have a different calorie content, you will take in fewer calories per meal than if you are eating on a full plate. For example, a smaller plate of pasta will have fewer calories than a larger plate. Medline Plus further recommends eating your meals at the same times each day to make your blood sugar recording more accurate and easier to trend. Eating small, well-balanced meals throughout the day is the best plan for preventing elevated blood sugars.

Beverage Cautions

Not only should you watch what you eat, you must also consider the glycemic index of beverages you are drinking. Drinks, such as juices, sodas and sweetened teas, can raise your blood sugar levels, states Therefore, when choosing your drinks, you should avoid high-glycemic-index beverages, states the Harvard School of Public Health. Choose water, unsweetened teas or coffee with no more than 1 teaspoon of sugar. Only choose high-glycemic-index drinks if your blood sugar levels are too low and need a quick boost.

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