The success of diabetes treatment totally depends on diet. In diabetes the level of blood glucose is either too high or too low. The glucose level in blood depends on the food content in your meal. Controlling diabetes means controlling blood glucose level. With only medication you cannot control diabetes; you have to take a balanced and controlled diet to compliment your diabetes medications. In diabetic diet you have to plan your meal according to the nature of diabetes, your physical status and physical activity.
Exchange meal plan is type of diet planning. Carbohydrate, protein and fat are basic contents of food. Each food contains different amount of these. In exchange meal plan all foods are divided into six different groups such that each food group contains similar calories, carbohydrates, protein and fat. These six groups are starch/bread, vegetables, fruits, milk, meat and fat. Each group contains number of foods. The basic rule of exchange plan is you can substitute or exchange the food only within the group not between the groups. In the exchange lists some foods are also called free foods. These foods contain less than 20 calories per serving. If you are planning a diet for specific calories such as 1200, 1500, 1800, 2500 then you need not count the calories of free foods.
The first exchange group starch/bread contains 80 calories means about 15 grams of carbohydrates and three grams of protein. This group contains list of foods like ½ pita bread, one slice of bread, ¼ bagel, ¾ unsweetened cereal, three cups popcorn, one pancake and 15 fat-free or baked potato chips or corn chips. White potato, corn, peas, sweet potato and dried beans these vegetables are also included in starch exchange group. In vegetable exchange group ½ cup of cooked or raw vegetable contains five grams of carbohydrates and two grams of protein, total calories are 25. Some vegetables which contain higher carbohydrates and proteins are counted as one starch exchange.
In fruit exchange group one fruit exchange equals to 60 calories. The fruit list is: one small apple, orange, pear, peach, ¼ cup of watermelon, ½ banana etc. ½ cup juice of apple, orange, pineapple or grapefruit. One cup of fat-free milk, 2/3 cup of fat-free yogurt, and one cup of 1% or 2% milk these food items are included in milk exchange group. One milk exchange equals to eight grams of protein and 12 grams of carbohydrates that is approximately 90 calories.
Meat exchange group is divided into four subgroups which are very lean meats (35 calories), lean meats (55 calories), medium fat (75 calories), and high fat (100 calories). Fat exchange group is divided into three lists: mono-saturated, poly-saturated and saturated fats.
The mono-saturated fats are peanut butter, almonds and olive or peanut oil. The poly-saturated fats are margarine and vegetable oil. Examples of saturated fat are; butter, cream, bacon, and fatback.
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