Food & diabetes

Your food choices have a direct impact on the amount of glucose in your blood.

Understand the effects of food choices to help you better manage your diabetes.

An understanding of food is essential to understanding and managing your diabetes. Food is one of the biggest factors that affects your blood glucose levels. As someone living with diabetes, it's possible that you spend more time planning your meals and snacks than almost any other aspect of your day-to-day care.

Why is food important?

Your food choices have a direct impact on the amount of glucose in your blood, and management of blood glucose is the primary goal of all diabetes care. There's a lot that you can do in your day-to-day meal plans that can have a positive impact on your diabetes, and your health overall.

Glucose is a type of sugar produced when food is digested. Once it enters the blood, glucose becomes the body's main source of energy. A hormone called insulin allows the body to absorb and use glucose. If you have diabetes, your body isn't making or can't use insulin efficiently. Your body can't get the energy it needs, and the unused glucose builds up, causing damage to the body.

Carbohydrates are the type of food most quickly converted to glucose. For this reason, a key part of managing diabetes is managing the amount and timing of the carbohydrates that you include in your diet.

Meal planning

It can be a bit overwhelming trying to make the right choices when it comes to eating. The answer is to build a basic set of meal planning skills. This process takes work, but fortunately you're not alone in this effort. Some standard systems and recommendations have been devised to help people living with diabetes better understand foods, as well as get the input they need to make informed decisions.

A wide variety of meal planning guides and "diabetes-friendly" cookbooks have been published. These can be great resources, especially if you enjoy reading about food. But keep in mind that each person with diabetes is different. It's ideal if you can tailor your own meal plan to your specific needs. Healthcare professionals, such as diabetes educators and registered dietitians, can help you put together a truly personalized program.

Food basics

Food provides us with three major nutrients from which we get calories: protein, fat and carbohydrate. We also get vitamins and minerals from food, but these micronutrients do not supply calories.

Carbohydrate is the nutrient that raises blood glucose the most and the fastest. In fact, almost all of the carbs we eat—no matter what type of carb—will end up as glucose in our bloodstream within approximately 1 to 1 ½ hours.

Balancing your carb intake with the appropriate amount of bolus insulin will help keep your BG on track after eating. To accomplish this, you need to know what foods contain carbohydrate and be able to estimate how many grams of carbohydrate you're eating at each meal and snack.

The information made available on the Animas website is not intended to be used or viewed as a substitute for consultation with a healthcare professional. The information provided on this site cannot be the basis for diagnosis or therapy. You are advised to obtain professional advice and should always discuss your treatment plan with your healthcare team.