A borderline diabetic diet is a food plan that has been specifically designed for individuals who have been diagnosed with borderline diabetes and need to achieve better control over their blood glucose levels. Borderline diabetes, also known as prediabetes, is a condition that exists when a person has blood glucose levels that are somewhat higher than normal but not yet in the range that diabetics experience. The goal of a borderline diabetic diet is to prevent full-blown diabetes from developing by eating a diet made up of foods that will not cause blood sugar levels to rise rapidly but, instead, to remain fairly constant throughout the day. A typical borderline diabetic diet consists of meals that are low in carbohydrates as well as a healthy mix of low-fat proteins, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
Diabetes is a disease in which the metabolism of carbohydrates is impaired, resulting in too much glucose circulating in the body. The main focus of a borderline diabetic diet is to manage carbohydrate consumption in a way that is both healthy and nutritious. All carbohydrates — whether they are simple, such as sugar, or complex, such as fruits — pose potential blood glucose problems to a person who has prediabetes. A borderline diabetic diet will limit the amount of simple carbohydrates, such as candy, cake, cookies or potatoes, and focus on the complex carbohydrates found in many fruits and vegetables.
The best carbohydrates for a borderline diabetic are those that rank low on the glycemic index. The glycemic index is a measure of how much different foods raise blood glucose. Green beans, broccoli, strawberries and blueberries are examples of complex carbohydrates that rank low on the index and do not cause a rapid rise in blood glucose. On the other hand, bananas and oranges rank high and should be consumed only in moderation by someone who has prediabetes.
A borderline diabetic diet usually will also incorporate a lot of fiber into the food plan. Getting enough fiber is important because it assists in the digestion of carbohydrates and fats, and it helps keep blood glucose levels stable. Beans, green leafy vegetables, whole grains, nuts and bran are often part of this specialized diet.
It also is important for one to not totally eliminate fat from the diet. Fat slows digestion and keeps blood glucose levels from rising too rapidly. For this reason, low-fat dairy products are better for this diet than non-fat products. Most diets for borderline diabetics recommend eating low-fat protein sources such as fish, chicken and lean cuts of beef.