11 Everyday Habits That Are Absolutely Ruining Your Diabetes Control

We eat more than we should—even when we’re focusing on healthy foods. (Yeah, you already knew that one.) For people controlling diabetes, portion sizes of carbohydrate foods determine how much medication they need or how their blood glucose responds. Try this rule of thumb for the carb portion of your plate—it should take up about a quarter of the typical, nine-inch dinner plate.

Carbs

Beverages

Why drink your calories? Drinks high in sugar and calories add up quicker than anything else. That giant fountain soda easily boasts over 500 calories, all from sugar, skyrocketing your glucose out of control. Sports drinks, fruit juices, smoothies, energy-boost drinks, sweet teas, and fancy coffee drinks contain significant amounts of simple carbohydrate (re: sugar).

Skipping meals

Timing your meals throughout the day is key for controlling diabetes. Skipping a meal puts you at risk for hypoglycemia because your medications won’t have carbohydrates to work with. Worse, we commonly overeat at the next meal when we miss one. Eating breakfast within 90 minutes of waking is ideal. Optimally, three meals per day, spaced 4-5 hours apart, will keep your blood glucose steady and constant. If your sleep pattern includes more than 10 hours of shut-eye, eat a snack with 15 to 30 grams of carbohydrate before retiring.

Highly processed carbs

While all carbohydrates affect blood glucose, some carbs (the complex kind) are the best choices. Why? Complex carbs such as whole grains, vegetables, and beans contain fiber—long molecular chains of carbohydrate that take longer to digest (or, in some cases are indigestible). Slowing down digestion will help prevent sharp spikes in blood glucose—something all of us should try to avoid, but especially people with diabetes. Simple carbs like those in refined flours and sugars are small, easily digested molecules.

Not enough veggies