As if managing your blood sugar wasn't hard enough, you also have to worry about how your diabetes affects other parts of your body such as your kidneys. Your kidneys are responsible for filtering waste products from your blood, including sugar, and they have to work harder when blood sugars are high, which can damage your kidneys and lead to proteinuria, or protein in the urine. Gaining control over your blood sugars is the first step in preventing protein loss in the urine, and that means a healthy, carb-controlled diet. Consult your doctor to talk about your specific diet needs.
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Diabetes Diet Basics
The diet for diabetes is similar to the diet recommended for heart health, weight management and cancer prevention, and that is a healthy diet that includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods from all the food groups. However, there are some diet guidelines people with diabetes need to follow to aid in blood sugar control. One is that it is important that people with diabetes eat regular meals and snacks at around the same time every day. It is also important that each meal and snack contain about the same amount of food from day to day. Balancing your intake of carbohydrates, protein and fat is also important for blood sugar control.
Controlling the Carbs
Carbohydrates have more of an effect on blood sugar than protein or fat, so controlling the amount you eat at each meal and snack is helpful for better blood sugar control. Carbohydrates include grains, starchy vegetables such as peas or potatoes, fruit, milk, yogurt and beans. Your doctor or dietitian determines the amount of carbs you eat at each meal and snack. Most diabetes diet plans start with 45 to 60 grams of carbs per meal, and 0 to 30 grams per snack. Reading food labels can help you count carbs. In general, one slice of bread, a small piece of fruit, 1/2 cup of peas or beans, or 1 cup of milk contains 15 grams of carbohydrates.
A healthy meal plan that aids in blood sugar control to prevent protein in the urine should contain three meals and one snack. A 45-gram breakfast might include two slices of whole-wheat toast with one slice of low-fat cheese and a small orange. A healthy lunch option might include 2 cups of mixed greens topped with 1/2 cup of chickpeas, 1/4 cup of raisins, walnuts and turkey topped with oil and vinegar and served with a 6-ounce container of sugar-free yogurt. For dinner, a 45-gram carb meal might include a lean hamburger on a whole-wheat bun with 1/2 cup of roasted red potatoes and steamed broccoli. A 15-gram snack might include a small apple with peanut butter.
May Need to Watch the Protein
In addition to counting carbs, some doctors may recommend you limit the amount of protein in your diet when you have protein in the urine. High intakes of protein increases kidney workload, and limiting your intake may preserve kidney function. Your doctor determines the amount of protein you need each day, but it may range from 40 to 60 grams. Food sources of protein include meat, poultry, seafood, milk, grains and vegetables. In general, 1 cup of milk contains 8 grams of protein; 1 ounce of meat, poultry or fish 7 grams; 1/2 cup of beans 7 grams; and 1/2 cup of cooked vegetables 2 grams.
- American Diabetes Association: Kidney Disease
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders: Proteinuria
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Diabetes and Diet
- American Diabetes Association: Carbohydrate Counting
- American Diabetes Association: Snacks
- University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture: The Exchange List System for Diabetic Meal Planning
- Jackson-Seigelbaum Gastroenterology: Low-Protein Diet