When choosing proteins for diabetics, it is critical to make informed choices. Not surprisingly, some options are healthier than others. Keep an eye on the saturated fat content of meat as well, because heart disease is a typical comorbidity of diabetes.
You can do this by looking for visible white fat in the meat as well as skin on the meat to identify saturated fat.
In this post, we will look at whether diabetics can eat steak and other meat alternatives that are suitable for diabetics.
Can diabetics eat steak?
Not all types of steak can be eaten by people living with diabetes. Even with that, the type of steak that diabetics can eat has to be taken in moderation. Too much of it can cause serious problems. In moderation, steak can fit into a diabetes-friendly diet if you choose cuts of meat with reduced marbling.
A diet high in red meat has been linked to a variety of chronic diseases, including diabetes. Certain cuts of red meat, however, may be more harmful to diabetics than others.
Marbling is the white fat that can be observed throughout a piece of beef and is mostly made up of saturated fat. Saturated fat has been linked to inflammation and possibly insulin resistance.
Meat alternatives that are good for diabetics
Diabetics should eat lean meats to decrease their intake of unhealthy fats. Here are some nutritious meat substitutes for diabetics.
Skinless chicken breast
When the skin is removed, chicken is a fantastic protein source for diabetics! The first cut to choose is breast meat because it has the least amount of fat throughout the flesh.
Pork tenderloin is an acceptable protein option. It’s an extremely lean cut of meat that’s low in saturated fat and can be used in a variety of delectable recipes using some of the best diabetic foods.
While eating too much red meat can make diabetes more difficult to manage, eating it occasionally shouldn’t be harmful. It’s critical to choose a lean cut of red meat when eating it. A wonderful example is a filet mignon with no visible fat.
White Meat Turkey, Skinless
While deli turkey is not ideal, unprocessed turkey breast without the skin is excellent. Turkey breast contains nearly no fat and no saturated fat. It’s a low-calorie protein source high in niacin and selenium.
Healthy alternatives to meat
Diabetics can use the following substitutes for meat in their diet:
The American Diabetes Association recommends that people consume fish at least twice a week. Fish to include are:
Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, Albacore tuna, mackerel, herring, rainbow trout, and sardines. Other fish such as crab, lobster, shrimp, scallops, clams, and oysters are also good alternatives.
Plant based foods
Plant-based alternatives to meat might be a healthy choice for diabetics. Plants based foods like beans, legumes, lentils, nuts and seeds, etc. are some examples that are good for diabetics.
According to a 2018 systematic analysis published in the BMJ, patients with diabetes who ate plant-based diets had the following health benefits:
- improved cholesterol profile
- reduced depression
- reduced perceived pain and neuropathy symptoms
- more weight loss
- decreased HbA1c levels
Salmon and other fatty fish, such as anchovies and sardines, are excellent alternatives for diabetics. These fish are high in omega-3 saturated fatty acids, which have been shown to protect against type 2 diabetes. For a great, balanced supper, pair salmon with one of these diabetic “free items.”
Eggs (both white and yolk) are an excellent source of protein for diabetics. There’s no need to be concerned about the cholesterol they contain because it won’t affect your blood cholesterol. Eggs are also high in vitamin D, which has been shown to boost insulin sensitivity, allowing you to better control your blood sugar.
Foods to avoid for diabetics
Below are some foods diabetics should avoid or eat less of.
Alcohol indirectly affects blood glucose levels in diabetics. Most alcoholic beverages have an exceptionally high glycemic index (GI). As a result, these beverages have the potential to rapidly increase and spike blood sugar levels. Artificial sugar in alcoholic beverages causes it.
Heavy alcohol use, defined as 16 standard drinks or more per day, might increase the risk of ketoacidosis in diabetics, posing serious health risks for heavy drinkers who also have diabetes.
Some fish can be excellent protein sources for diabetics. Fried fish, on the other hand, is not advised. It can be heavy in calories, which can lead to weight gain and make diabetes more difficult to manage. The carbs in the batter can also be difficult to calculate, throwing off your daily carb total.
Deli Meat Deli meats are commonly high in sodium and chemicals such as nitrates. Nitrates have been shown to disrupt normal insulin synthesis and increase insulin resistance in the body.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified processed meat, such as bacon, as a Group 1 carcinogenic food. When consumed, it causes an inflammatory response in the body, which contributes to diabetes.
Skin-On Grilled Poultry
The skin of fowl, such as chicken, is high in saturated fat. High-heat cooking methods, such as grilling, have also been demonstrated to increase diabetes risk and make diabetes treatment more difficult for people who already have the disease. This is most likely due to byproducts produced during high-temperature cooking.
Nuts, seeds, legumes, and beans
Protein sources such as nuts, seeds, beans, and legumes, while not animal products, are necessary for diabetics. This protein is rich in vitamins and minerals, but it also has a lot of fiber, which helps to dull the blood sugar reaction, giving the insulin in your body more time to work.
The takeaway from this article
Diabetics can eat lean meat, fish, and plant-based substitutes. They should avoid meats high in saturated or trans fats to lower their risk of high cholesterol and heart disease.
People with diabetes should consult a nutritionist whenever possible to help them plan their meals, especially if they use insulin.
WRITTEN AND EDITED RESPECTIVELY BY:
Dr. Ehoneah Obed is a registered pharmacist and a member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana. He has a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and has experience working in a Tertiary hospital as well as various community pharmacies. He is also a software engineer interested in healthcare technologies.
His love for helping others motivates him to create content on an array of topics mostly relating to the health of people and also software engineering content.
He is knowledgeable in digital marketing, content marketing, and a host of other skills that make him versatile enough to uplift any team he joins.