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How do you use the diabetic food pyramid?

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Quick Answer

The diabetes food pyramid was designed by the American Diabetes Association and American Dietetic Association to assist diabetics with controlling serving sizes of various foods in meal plans, according to the BD Diabetes Learning Center. The pyramid is a visual representation of six food groups assembled by the effect they have on blood glucose.

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Full Answer

On the diabetes food pyramid, foods are divided into six groups based on their carbohydrate and protein content, explains Cobblestone Family Health. Groups are allocated space on the pyramid according to how much emphasis they should have in a daily diabetic meal plan. For example, the largest group is at the bottom of the pyramid, consisting of breads, grains, beans, pasta and other starchy carbohydrates. This indicates the largest percent of a healthy diabetic diet consists of these types of carbohydrates, while the smallest percent comes from the group at the top of the pyramid, which includes sweets, oils and alcohol.

The pyramid represents an approximation; however, the exact number of calories and servings varies based on the individual's nutrition needs, activity levels, lifestyle and specific medical goals, states Cobblestone Family Health. As of 2015, the food pyramid is no longer used, having been replaced in 2011 by the plate method, notes the American Diabetes Association.

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