All diets should use fat in moderation as it can lead to an unhealthy body weight and heart disease. For a diabetic, controlling fat intake is important for the previous reason in addition to the negative affect it can have on blood sugars. Fats can be put into many different categories – healthy, non-healthy, saturated, non-saturated, trans-fat, and more. But the bottom line with any of kind of fat is to enjoy in moderation.
When you eat food that is high in fat (for instance a cheeseburger), your short-term blood glucose reading may come back as fine. But since fat acts much like protein and it slows down the digestion of carbohydrates you may notice a higher than normal blood sugar many hours later. It is hard to plan for such a spike because it is quite delayed compared to other foods that are eaten that raise blood sugar.
The best advice is to choose natural, healthy, unsaturated fats and oils whenever possible. You can do this by reading your food labels carefully as the different kinds of fats are listed on most food labels. Excessive fat intake will also cause you to gain weight and that is another way blood sugars can spiral out of control. Extra body weight that you carry around is taxing on your systems and will affect how your body uses and needs insulin.
Healthy fat choices include:
- Avocado – oil or the fruit itself
- Sesame, olive, or canola oil
- Black or green olives
- Peanuts and peanut butter (this doubles as a protein choice)
- Sesame seeds
Additional fat choices that should be used in moderation:
- Butter or margarine
- Salad dressings
- Pumpkin and sunflower seeds
If there are any questions about a type of fat and what a serving size should be, contact your doctor or dietician for more information.