I'm on a low cholesterol for gallstones, low carb diet. Keep in mind I haven't yet met with a dietician, this is all my own choices based on lab results. My BG has dropped dramatically to regular safe flux and I'm regularly losing a pound a week with exercise.
As far as I'm concerned, this is the worst place to be in for an enjoyable diet. Carbs and fat are what makes food tasty and filling, and when you have to limit both, or eliminate carbs for certain feedings, it's a terrible decision. We walk the ultimate tightrope between health and flavour. I envy people here who can pile on meat and fish at the sacrifice of starches and sweets. When you reduce fat, starch, carb, and sugar, there's very little for your brain and stomach to enjoy besides roughage and fruit, herbs and spices, food that takes higher quantities than others to fill you up. Grilled chicken, trimmed steak, and tuna get old. I had a tremendous sweet tooth before D-day, and now my biggest willpower is refraining from eating more than 4 servings of fruit a day.
But, I find, all isn't lost. What diet books don't emphasize to you is that you need to EXERCISE to maintain the effects of any diet. A sedentary North American lifestyle and weight gain is likely what led most people to develop diabetes in the first place. Combined with a good diet, exercising helps to burn off fat and carbs, aids digestion, and lowers BS faster than just a good diet. Hell, it's what doctors have been preaching to the masses for decades, diabetic and non.
WATER is also key, especially with low-fat where you might risk consuming extra sugar. Lots of water and peeing regularly flushes out your system and helps rid of excess glucose. My Achilles heel right now is overconsumption of diet soft drinks where before it was regular soft drinks and fruit juice. Lemon water is reducing my desire for soda. Best of all it's free! None of that crap vitaminwater or enhaced flavoured waters that contain cane syrup as if to pass the word "cane" off as something better than refined.
Exercise, water, exercise, water, exercise, water. If you eat 5 times a day and have a glass with each, you only need a couple more to round out most suggested intakes. More so when exercising, of course.
If you also eat out a lot like I do, here are tips I've found to work in my favour:
Have your higher-fat/cholesterol higher-carb meal at breakfast. Whole wheat toast, eggs, bacon, turkey, whatever. Your most "unsafe" diabetic meal is your first meal of the day, gives you the most energy to burn, and will be burned off through more hours of work and exercise than any other meal because it's at the start.
Lunch is your other chance to have starches if you didn't have them at breakfast. This is my vegetable feast where I pile on colourful veggies in a salad with some nuts, grilled chicken or fish, etc. Whole wheat pasta or whole wheat sandwich if I want starches.
At fast food places, order a different side than fries, onion rings, or mashed potatoes. Salad, corn on the cob, coleslaw, etc., are lower fat/chol than the others.
McDonalds: side salad, apple slices
Wendys: salad, yogurt (beware sugar/eat less)
Popeyes: corn, beans n rice, coleslaw
Burger King: salad
If you can't resist a baked potato, order it naked and add a small bit of ketchup and some pepper, avoiding butter and sour cream, and eat half. This is my "french fries" when eating out. You may also be standing in line longer when a place like KFC is heaped with fried chicken pieces ready for customers and don't expect a grilled wrap order.
If eating out for dinner, try avoiding all carbs for that one meal. The reason is if you exercised during the day you'll put on less carb that will sit in you overnight and potentially raise BG. If you work out after dinner, you'll have less immediate heavier food to burn.
Carbs and fat are only ever problems if you don't burn them off regularly. It's only been a month since D-day and I've shown great improvement to my doctor just by exercising and water, taking diabetic diet thirdly into account.
Oh and my advice that doesn't work for everyone: Control your indulgence. If you can't resist a bagel, a doughnut, sugar in your coffee, or a small slice of cheesecake when eating out, don't. You'll be less inclined to crave it again later if you have it now. Just be sure to:
-expect a higher BG that day
-exercise that day to start getting it off sooner and BG down
-split it with a friend or only have half.
-have water with it
-remember when you had it so you can track your levels between treats and act accordingly
-save your treats for when you go out, don't buy them at the grocery. Home should be your diabetic health haven.
In summary, I suggest a compromise diet, with the occasional treat. I'll assume you're on meds, which will help lower BG too.
But above else: EXERCISE and WATER. They lower your hunger levels and keep you healthy. It's near summer so get out and enjoy the sun!