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The Right Proteins for Diabetes Self-Management

Meat offers the highest quality, complete protein to your diet, but can also add unhealthy saturated fat that increases your risk for heart disease. Red meat, in particular, has also been associated with increased insulin resistance in large population studies. A healthy approach to meats is to rotate lean cuts of beef, pork, or lamb with skinless chicken or turkey, and fish or shellfish.

Fish and shellfish are low in saturated fat and include healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

All meats are cut today with less fat than years ago, but you can reduce fat and saturated fat even more in your diet by choosing the leanest cuts.

Lean Cuts of Red Meats
Meat Cut
Beef Eye of round
Top round
Sirloin
Flank steak
Pork Tenderloin
Top loin
Rib chop
Lamb Lamb shank

Choose USDA select cuts of meat, which are naturally lower in fat, and buy ground beef that’s at least 90 percent lean when possible. You can further reduce saturated fat at home by trimming visible fat from meats and cooking without adding fat. Trimming visible fat can cut another 30 percent from your diet, and removing the skin from poultry (or buying skinless) reduces fat by as much as 50 percent.

Consider sandwich meats such as bologna or pastrami, bacon, sausages, and the like very carefully. This may be a difficult transition, but excess fat and sodium are not compatible with diabetes management. One slice of bologna can account for 25 percent of your daily sodium recommendations.

There are reduced fat options for many items in this product line, but consider the nutrition facts labels and the ingredients list carefully, and you see that eating these foods in moderation makes sense for your health.

When buying fish or shellfish, freshness is important. Look for whole fish with bright eyes and shiny, moist skin, or filets that are translucent without brown spots. Fresh fish should not smell fishy.

For those who choose to eat meat, it can be an important source of protein and vitamin B12. But manage red meat in your diet, eat fish twice each week, and consider going meatless once or twice a week to further reduce fat in your eating plan.

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