A diet plan for diabetes is based on your age, sex, body weight and physical activity. The main objective of diabetic diet is to maintain blood sugar levels in blood by consumption balanced food. While developing a menu for diabetic diet you have to consider dietary requirement that is daily requirement of calories by the individual. The exchange lists helps plan diabetic diets. The main goal of exchange lists is to maintain proper balance of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats throughout the day.
While using exchange lists you have to follow some general rules. The foods in exchange lists are called exchanges. Each exchange list contains foods having similar number of calories, protein, fat and carbohydrate. You can exchange the foods within a list because it contains same calories and affects the glucose level in a similar manner. In your diet plan you can include a certain number of exchanges from each food list.
The exchange food lists are vegetables, fruits, starches/bread, milk, fats, and meat and meat substitutes. You cannot exchange the foods between two groups.
The vegetable list contains all non-starchy vegetables. 1/2 cup cooked vegetables or one cup raw vegetables are considered as one exchange and it contains 2 grams of proteins and 5 grams of carbohydrates equivalent to 25 calories. The non-starchy vegetables are cabbage, lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, eggplant, carrots, spinach etc.
The fruit list contains all fruits and fruit juices. One exchange of fruit group equals to 60 calories (about 15 grams carbohydrates). Examples of fruit exchanges are; 1/2 cup pineapple or apple juice, 1/3 cup grape juice, 1/2 cup orange or grapefruit juice, one small pear, peach, orange or apple, 1/2 large banana, 1/3 of small cantaloupe etc.
One exchange from starches/bread list contains 80 calories that is 3 grams of protein and 15 grams of carbohydrates. Examples are; 3/4 cup cooked cereal (unsweetened), 1/3 cup cooked pasta, one slice of wheat bread, 3 cups popcorn, one pancake etc. This list contains starchy vegetables like 1/2 cup mashed potato, 1/2 cup corn, 1/2 cup dried beans and 1/2 cup sweet potato.
In milk list one exchange equals to 8 grams of protein, 12 grams of carbohydrates and a trace of fat. Examples of milk exchanges are; one cup of 1% milk, one cup of non-fat or skim milk, 2/3 cup fat-free yogurt, one cup of 2% milk and 3/4 cup of yogurt from 2% milk.
The fat list is further divided into three categories mono-saturated fats, poly-saturated fats and saturated fats. But always avoid saturated fats as it raises the cholesterol level. Six almonds, one tablespoon peanut butter, and one teaspoon of oil (canola, peanut, and olive) are mono-saturated fats. One teaspoon of margarine and one teaspoon of any vegetable oil (except coconut oil) are examples of poly-saturated fats. Saturated fats are one teaspoon butter, two tablespoons cream and one strip of bacon.
The meat and meat substitutes are divided into lean meats, medium-fat meats and high-fat meats. Examples of meat exchanges are; one ounce fish, one ounce lean pork, one ounce cottage cheese, one egg, one ounce ground beef or lamb or chicken etc.
The exchange list also includes two more categories called as free food list and combination food list. Free foods contain very less calories and examples are diet soft drinks, soy sauce, spices and sugar-free gelatin. A combination food is mixture of two or more exchange lists like cheese pizza, chicken noodle soup, and spaghetti with meatballs.
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