How does snacking help people with diabetes?

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Jessica Crandall
Nutrition & Dietetics
Snacking can help to stabilize blood sugar by providing a set amount of carbohydrates (fuel) to your body. Snacks that are nutrient rich can be a great way to curb your hunger and control your blood sugar -- make sure they are preplanned and try to take into consideration the carbohydrates, fiber and protein. I suggest looking for a snack around 15 grams of carbohydrates and then making sure it is a good source of fiber and protein such as wheat crackers and string cheese, cottage cheese and berries, nuts and a piece of fruit just to name a few examples.
Toby Smithson
Nutrition & Dietetics

Snacking for people who have diabetes can help with balancing blood sugar levels. It is best to work with your dietitian and certified diabetes educator on a meal plan that is right for your daily routine and your diabetes medications. If you tend to be on a schedule that leaves more than 6 hours between meals, your dietitian may incorporate a snack into your meal plan. Snacking time may also depend on your blood sugar readings, for instance, if you tend to have lower blood sugar levels at a certain part of the day, a snack or alteration with your medication regimen may occur.

Janis Jibrin, MS, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics
Despite the improved medicines, hypoglycemia is still a very common problem in people with diabetes. Snacking can help reduce occurrences of this condition by ensuring controlled intake of carbohydrates throughout the day. For some people, snacks are particularly useful at helping prevent exercise-induced hypoglycemia or low blood sugar that strikes in the middle of the night.

The right snacks can also help keep your blood sugar level from going too high. If you move 10 grams of carbohydrate from your usual breakfast into a midmorning snack, you might solve that high postbreakfast blood sugar problem. That could mean that you'll need less medication to cover meals.

Smart snacking can also help you lose weight. For instance, if you're cutting calories, you may feel hungry in between meals. A 100- to 200-calorie snack may be just the thing to ward off hunger so that you don't overeat when mealtime does come around. Just make sure that you don't get into the dangerous grazing-all-day pattern, which makes it hard to control calorie intake.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.