If you have diabetes, you probably already know about all the basic facts about diabetes. What you need to learn next is how to manage your diabetes properly.
Your main goal should be to keep your blood sugar (glucose) at an optimal level which means neither too low, nor too high.
Normally diabetes is at first is treated with weight loss, exercise, and proper healthy diet.
In case you are overweight you should aim to lose weight. According to studies losing 5 % of your weight can improve your control over diabetes. It is believed that you have a healthy weight when your BMI i.e. Body Mass Index is from 18.5 to 23.
The BMI can be calculated with the following formula: Body Mass Index = Weight (kilograms) ÷ [Height (meters) x Height (meters)]
An example will make things more clear for you. Let say you weigh 60 kilograms and you are 1.70 meters tall. Your BMI formula will go like this 60 ÷ (1.70 x 1.70) = 20.8.
You should know that there is no particular or some sort of a special diet when it comes to people with diabetes. You can eat healthy meals like everyone else.
However, you need to be careful about your carbs intake on a daily basis. Why? Because carbs can lead to rising in your blood glucose levels.
In addition, you need to monitor your intake on protein and fat because they can indirectly influence your blood sugar levels.
There is a healthy diet pyramid and you can use it as a guide to have balanced meals and in the same time the meals can be from different food groups. Check the pyramid below.
And the image below can serve as an example of how your plate should look. This is according the diet from the pyramid and it is actually a healthy way of eating. You can use 12 –inch plate so you can use the same proportions of food from the image.
The fiber is good because it can improve your bowel function, keep you feeling full and actually slow down the rate the sugar is released into the bloodstream. On a daily basis, you need to include 2 servings each of vegetables and fruits.
One vegetable serving should include 150 grams of raw vegetables or 10 grams of cooked vegetables that is a ¾ mug. One fruit serving should include 10 small grapes or one wedge papaya or one small apple.
Remember to include whole grain products in your usual diet, products such as whole meal biscuits, whole grain, brown rice, wholemeal bread, chapatti, and oats.
You need to eat regular, but small meals.
Match the time you eat to the frequency and timing of your medications.
Reduce or avoid sugary foods, fats, and salt. Consume less oily and fat food, especially trans fat and saturated fat.
You need to limit the consumption of saturated fat (skin/fat on meat, ghee, lard, butter) and trans fat (vegetable oil that is partially hydrogenated, fried food and baked goods).
Avoid these types of foods since they increase the chance of deposit of fat in the blood vessels i.e. atherosclerosis that can cause a higher risk of stroke and heart disease.
You can choose healthier sources of fat like monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fat, for example, olive oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil, canola oil, sesame oil etc.
Spread the carbs that you consume evenly throughout your day and in that way, you will be able to keep your levels of blood sugar within the target range.
The high intake of salt is related to high blood pressure, that can cause an increased chance of developing heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke. While you cook add less salt and avoid sauces.
Furthermore, you need to limit the intake of processed foods such as canned food, fish ball, pickles, ham, hot-dog, salted vegetables etc. Also, you need to cut down on gravies that are added to noodles or rice.
Instead, you can spice your meals using natural spices and herbs such as vinegar, ginger, lemon, onion, chili, lemon and pepper.
Remember you need to take your insulin or medications that are prescribed by your doctor. Take them just as your doctor told you to.
Bear in mind that by choosing the food you consume wisely, you can be able to take control over your diabetes and do that with fewer medications.
You should be aware that many diabetic products like the ‘diabetic’ biscuits and chocolates are usually sweetened with artificial sweeteners like sorbitol. If you consume sorbitol in large amounts it can have a laxative effect.
There are other diabetic products that are high in fat and therefore they are not good for overweight people that have diabetes.
Bear in mind, all these foods may have carbs like fruit, flour, and milk. Also in these foods as fillers, there might other forms of sugar added like lactose.
For good control over your blood sugar, you need to do 3 things.
1. Take your insulin or medications as prescribed by the doctor.
2. Maintain a healthy balanced diet with suitable carbs at each meal.
3. Maintain your healthy weight.