Eileen Molloy is a registered dietitian nutritionist and certified diabetes educator at the Diabetes and Nutrition Care Center at Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport, Maine. She says the recipe for Corn and Black Bean Burritos (which you’ll find below) is good for people whether they have diabetes or not.”
A diet that’s good for people with diabetes is the same diet that everyone else should be eating. It’s good for everyone. It’s not a specialized diet. It’s really just a focus on a healthy diet in the appropriate portions.
When she made that statement, Eileen was talking about type 2 diabetes. Ninety percent of people with diabetes have type 2.
The difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes
- Type 1 The body does not produce any insulin. Usually diagnosed in children and young adults.
- Type 2 The body does not produce enough insulin or uses what it produces inefficiently. Usually occurs in adults, especially as they age, but more and more children and teenagers are being diagnosed.
You may have heard that you shouldn’t eat a lot of refined carbohydrates if you have diabetes. It’s true, but Eileen says we should all be watching our carb intake.
When I counsel someone with diabetes I tell them to eat healthy whole grains instead of refined carbs and sugary foods because they affect blood sugar. There’s a lot of research that says if you eat a lot of refined carbohydrates it’s also bad for the heart and bad for the brain. A diet that is good for people with diabetes is also good for preventing cancer and heart disease and also diverticulosis and arthritis and many other things. I find that an interesting point that I think some folks miss.
With or without diabetes, the most important thing is to eat a balanced diet. “It should include a lot of natural food, fruits, and vegetables,” says Eileen. “I start with vegetables and then say fruit, lean protein sources and whole grains. Watch portions and make sure to include the healthy foods and minimize the unhealthy foods.”
The key is to eat moderate portions of nutrition-rich foods — good advice for all of us.