Poke, in Hawaiian means “to slice” or “cut crosswise into pieces,” but to us foodies, it just means delicious. Poke in its basic form is raw fish, sometimes served over rice, with various other seasonings and ingredients. Soy Sauce, sesame oil, chili peppers, seaweed, wasabi, veggies, and more can and are added to poke dishes. In most cases, poke is a very healthy and delicious meal that can be enjoyed by almost everyone without seafood allergies. This brings to question, however, is poke good for diabetics?
Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects millions of people worldwide. If you have diabetes, then you know that there is a strict diet that you must follow in order to keep the disease in check. This is because diabetes affects how your body turns your food into energy. Typically, when you eat food, your body turns that food into glucose (sugar) and releases it into your bloodstream. When the sugar levels in your blood increase, your body sends a signal to your pancreas which in turn creates and releases insulin.
Normally, insulin controls the amount of glucose that is let into your body’s cells to use for energy. However, if you have diabetes, your body malfunctions somehow during the creation of insulin or it can’t use the insulin that is created effectively. Therefore, most diabetics have to follow a strict diet, eating healthy food as much as possible. Otherwise, the consequences can be serious or even fatal. That’s why it’s so important to know which foods are safe or beneficial for diabetics to consume and to know if poke is good for diabetics.
Diets for Diabetics
If you are diagnosed with diabetes, then most doctors will advise you to make an appointment with a dietician. The first thing seafood lovers will likely ask is if is poke good for diabetics, but that answer isn’t as simple as a yes or no, unfortunately. The dietician will help set you up on a healthy eating plan that will help you control your blood sugar levels (glucose). And manage your weight and high blood fat. When you eat extra calories in fat that is not used by your body for energy, your body will create a spike in your blood sugar. If this blood sugar isn’t kept in check, it can cause serious health problems like hyperglycemia and could lead to long-term complications like nerve, kidney, and heart damage.
One of the most important factors in a diabetic diet is to make sure that you’re eating a regular three meals per day at regular set times. This allows your body to better use the insulin it is creating or is getting through medication to regulate your cells’ use of blood sugar. Portion sizes are also important to regulate as a diabetic so that your body can properly digest the three regular meals each day. You might also snack occasionally or keep snacks readily available for emergencies.
We all know by now that there are both healthy and unhealthy carbohydrates or carbs. During digestion simple carbs like sugar, and complex carbs like starches break down into blood glucose. Some good carbs that diabetics need in their diet are things like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products like milk and cheese. Diabetics need to avoid less healthy carbs like food and drinks that have added fats, sugar, and sodium.
Is Poke Good for Diabetics Who Love Heart-Healthy Fish?
One of the best things for diabetics to eat on a regular basis is heart-healthy fish. So, if you’re wondering is poke good for diabetics like yourself, then it’s very likely the answer is yes! Great news right?
Omega-3 fatty acids are unsaturated fatty acid that is found in a great number of fish. Most dieticians will advise diabetics to try to eat “heart-healthy fish” as often as possible as the Omega-3 fatty acids prevent heart disease as well as lowering blood pressure slightly. Additionally, fish like that found in poke and poke bowls reduce blood clotting, the risk of strokes, and the risk of heart failure. On top of all that research has shown that “heart-healthy fish” decreases triglycerides in your body. (Chauhan, 2017).
Having a high triglyceride level in your body can increase the risk of heart disease. Triglycerides are what your body converts calories into that are not used for energy. If you regularly eat more carbohydrates than you burn, particularly from high-carb foods, you may have a high triglyceride level. This is where that whole “Good Cholesterol / Bad Cholesterol” thing comes in.
Good omega-3 fish options include salmon, sardines, Atlantic mackerel, cod, herring, lake trout, and light tuna. This makes these food options great for individuals who are diabetic. Many of these fish are the main ingredients in poke and poke bowls like those served at Pola Poke Bowls in Reno. We also serve shrimp and chicken among other healthy fish options. So, if your selection includes any of these options, then that IS poke good for diabetics, and a healthy choice to make.
Other Poke Ingredients for Diabetes
A poke bowl is not just fish, so if we’re talking poke bowls and diabetes, things get a bit more complicated. You may then wonder are poke bowls good for diabetics. Well, that depends on a lot of factors. Ultimately, what other poke ingredients should the healthy diabetic select?
The second main ingredient in a poke bowl is rice. Most places will give you the option to select white or brown rice, but which option is the best if you suffer from diabetes? White rice is a highly processed grain that is low in fiber. This means if you eat large amounts of white rice, then it may increase the chances of Type 2 Diabetes. If poke is one of your favorite dishes, you can negate this by ordering your bowls with brown rice instead of white. You can also choose to skip the rice altogether and opt for kale or mixed greens (which is what I typically do).
Keep an Eye on the Sauce!
Sauces become tricky. Sesame oil is a common addition to the poke bowl. However, it is very calorie-dense, which makes it not a great option for the diabetic. Trying to switch the sesame oil with soy sauce is just trading calories for sodium, which can raise your blood pressure and increase the risk of heart disease. On the other hand, take it easy, as you don’t want to go crazy on sodium, and soy sauce is extremely high in sodium. For this reason, you may want to forgo the sauce or oil, or just ask for the bowl to be prepared with light sesame oil or soy sauce.
Most vegetable options you will find for Poke bowls are great for diabetes. Just try to avoid potatoes, corn, peas, butternut squash, and vegetable juice. Seaweed on the other hand contains a unique bioactive component that improves glucose tolerance and reduces circulating lipid levels. Consequently, ordering your poke bowl with seaweed may reduce the risk of complications of type 2 diabetes. However, if the seaweed is a typical seaweed salad, then you should ask about the sugar content, as many seaweed salads come with teriyaki sauce.
The Pola Poke Menu for Diabetes
We hope we have answered your question “is poke good for diabetics” sufficiently. Just like everything else in life you must moderate for it to be healthy. Overall, though poke is generally healthy, and as long as you follow the advice written here, Poke could really be a tool to keep your diabetes in check and keep yourself healthy.
Poke Bowl Protein for Diabetics
Here at Pola Poke, we offer the Build Your Own Bowl (BYOB) menu, so you can mix and match the most diabetes-friendly ingredients so you can be sure our poke IS poke good for diabetics. Choosing the build your own bowl option is a great way to choose any of our healthy protein options like chicken, shrimp, salmon, tuna, and more. When you get further down the line, you may want to avoid the normal and spicy imitation crab if you think the additional fats or composition of the meat might not benefit your diabetes.
Poke Bowl Sauces for Diabetics
Next, you select from one of our many sauces and we’re always happy to accommodate anyone on special diets or eating plans. Just ask us and we can let you know the nutritional information about any sauce we serve. That way you’ll be able to make an informed decision about what you put into your body.
Poke Bowl Bases & Toppings for Diabetics
Again, for a diabetic, it could be best to choose a base of either brown rice and greens or just mixed greens and/or kale. Also, stack up on cucumbers and onions to mix in if you’re into that sort of thing. When it comes to our veggies, a diabetic should avoid corn as an option. You may not want to go too crazy on pineapple or mangos but if you feel they’ll help you out and won’t harm you, feel free! You may want to have some ginger, but eat it in moderation at about 4g per day.
Nearly everything else is a free-for-all for diabetics. At least at Pola Poke. Stacking up on beets, while not the most conventional poke bowl ingredient is highly recommended due to their densely-packed antioxidant and nutrient content. Tofu is another great protein option, and we also offer edamame to power-pack that plant-based protein into your meal. Nearly all veggies are great options so red & peppers, carrots, onions, and cucumber are all on the table. Also, opt for avocado. It’s fatty but packed with all the best kinds. In fact, avocado may actually help Type 2 diabetics lose weight, lower cholesterol, and increase insulin sensitivity.
End of the Line, Buddy
Finally, nearly all our end-of-the-line toppings are perfectly fine for diabetics. Get those macadamia nuts and nori flakes. You can also get sesame seeds. However, since coconut flakes are often covered in sugar, we say diabetics should put those on their “skip” list. And while we’re at it, pass on adding wonton strips as well. Those are the exact type of carbs that diabetics should be avoiding.
So if you’ve been wondering is poke good for diabetics, we’re going to go with an overwhelming YES! Just remember to opt for healthy carbs, low-fat additions, and stick to natural fats and sugars in the fruits and veggies. Then you’ll be sitting pretty and you can use poke and poke bowls as a helpful, delicious tool to manage your diabetes and increase your overall health!
Get Your Fresh Food Fix!
Pola Poke is proud to bring fresh poke, acai bowls, smoothies, and craft coffees to Reno, Nevada! We’re a locally-owned business created and operated by a Reno native. Furthermore, our palate-pleasing sustainably sourced bowls offer the perfect combo of healthy and tasty.
Customize your bowl to kick start your wellness and nutrition for the day. Choose from our menu or make it your own poke bowl with a variety of fresh, delicious ingredients. Our menu offers the perfect selection of healthy lean meats, veggies, and toppings to satisfy every fish-lover. Additionally, we’re the perfect choice for keto and protein-rich diets.
So what are you waiting for? An invitation? Well, here it is! Come join us and see why everyone in Reno is raving about Pola Poke Bowls! And if you’re too busy to come say hi, we also offer online ordering for your convenience. What more could you ask for?
Enjoy Fresh Poke in Reno
Pola Poke Bowls
3594 W. Plumb Lane Ste A
Reno, NV 89509
- Chauhan, S. (2017). Role of Omega-3 Fatty Acids on Lipid Profile in Diabetic Dyslipidaemia: Single Blind, Randomised Clinical Trial. National Library of Medicine.