If you, like millions of other people around the world, suffer from diabetes, prediabetes or your family medical history suggests a predisposition for becoming diabetic, your physician has probably advised you to think about adopting a more health orientated diabetic diet.
Medical nutrition therapy is probably one among the most effective forms of treatment for diabetes, which means the diet needs to accommodate an assortment of nutritious foods, eaten at regular times throughout the day.
The trouble is, when diabetics gorge themselves on food containing too much calories and fat, their bodies react by allowing more glucose to pass into their blood. This increase in glucose levels can lead to serious problems, such as hyperglycemia and the high chance of long term damage being inflicted on the sufferer’s nervous system, kidneys and heart.
Admittedly a diabetic diet plan is probably a bit more regimented than most people are used to, but there’s still a wide range of foods to choose from (as long as you remember to enjoy them in moderation). The staple food types for a good diabetic eating plan are fruits, vegetables and whole grain.
It may not sound overly appealing, but a few small changes to your lifestyle will make your illness so much easier to bear. Managing your weight through exercise and maintaining a good eating plan will help make sure you’re the one in control of your life, not the diabetes.
If you are one of the many people who find themselves needing to adopt a diabetic orientated eating plan, then your doctor will probably want you to see a dietitian. This is a good idea, dietitian’s are trained professionals who can take the time to help you work out an individually tailored diet plan, to help ease you into things. They’ll have good ideas on how to replace foods you should avoid, as well as helping you work out an easy eating schedule to fit into your day.
So that you know what to expect, let’s take a look at what kind of foods you should be thinking about including in your new diet, as well as what kind you’re going to have to give up:
Whilst your body does get a lot of its energy from Carbohydrates, excess amounts will lead to an increase in blood glucose levels. So when eating carbohydrates try to choose healthy options like low-fat dairy products or fruits and vegetables.
Dietary fiber is mostly found in fruits and vegetables. Some good sources of fiber are rye, barley, beans, carrots, cauliflower, pears, plums, sweet potatoes, wheat and whole grain.
Some people find that fish is a really tasty alternative to other forms of meat. Omega-3 is excellent for the heart, so fish like cod, catfish, crab (ok it’s not a fish but still), tuna, salmon and scallops are all good choices. However, you need to avoid fish with high levels of mercury that includes mackerel, swordfish and shark.
Yes believe it or not some kinds of fat are actually good for you. Eating food that contains monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats is a good way to manage your cholesterol. That doesn’t mean you can overindulge though, fat is still fat after all. I’ve already mentioned some food types that contain these kinds of fats, like salmon and tuna, but you can also find them in almonds, olives, pecans and more.
This section should really be called banned foods, because whilst you can continue eating a controlled amount of these kinds of foods, the increased risk of medical problems bought on by your diabetes makes it unwise to do so.
Cholesterol intake is something that needs to be kept to an absolute minimum, preferably with no more than 200mg eaten per day (modern food makes it hard to avoid completely). This means doing your best to stop eating high fat dairy products.
Again high fat dairy products constitute for a large amount of a persons saturated fat intake, as do various forms of meat, such as beef, pork and hot dogs. You should be aiming to get below 7% in terms of your daily calorie intake from saturated fats.
High levels of sodium can lead to high levels of blood pressure, the general recommendation is that people with diabetes try to ingest under 2,000mg of sodium per day.
These are the kinds of fats found in processed food, as well as pastries and margarine. Diabetics need to avoid this type of fat completely, doing otherwise is incredibly dangerous.
All that said, most people don’t find it easy to change their diet overnight, even when they’re suffering from a life threatening illness because of it. Change is difficult for everyone, which is why getting help from a dietitian during the change over period is highly recommended, as they will be able to help you develop a strategy to ease you into your new lifestyle.
A Few Of The More Common Ways To Manage A Diabetic Diet Plan Are:
Counting carbohydrates is a good practice for anyone, but for diabetics it is particularly important. Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of glucose, so diabetics are well advised to strictly control their carbohydrate intake.
For people using insulin, counting your carbohydrate intake is even more important, as you may need to adjust your insulin dosage accordingly. It may sound like a daunting prospect, but actually counting carbohydrates is really easy and a good dietitian will be able to teach you all about it.
The Exchange System:
The Exchange Diet Plan is a traditional method for helping diabetics manage what kind of foods they can eat at meal times. It basically involves dividing different types and portions of food into groups, so that they can be selected based on the amount of good or bad foodstuffs they contain. It has fallen out of favor with modern practitioners, who prefer counting carbs, but there are many traditionalists who swear by it as an effective way to control diabetes.
The Glycemic Index:
Similarly some diabetics prefer to use the glycemic index instead of either of the other two systems. This is not really an ideal plan for diabetics, who require a more specialized form of diet than is reflected in a low glycemic index eating plan.
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