If someone has diabetes, he/she probably already knows all the basic facts about diabetes. What to learn next is how to manage diabetes properly.
The main goal should be to keep blood sugar (glucose) at an optimal level which means neither too low nor too high.
Normally diabetes is first treated with weight loss, exercise, and a proper healthy diet.
According to studies losing 5 % of weight can improve control over diabetes. It is believed that a healthy weight is when our 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 everyone. Let’s say I weigh 60 kilograms (132 pounds) and I am 1.70 meters (67 Inches) tall. My BMI formula will go like this 60 ÷ (1.70 x 1.70) = 20.8.
We should know that there is no particular or some sort of special diet when it comes to people with diabetes. They can eat healthy meals like everyone else.
However, they need to be careful about their carbs intake on a daily basis. Why? Because carbs can lead to rising in their blood glucose levels.
In addition, they need to monitor their intake of protein and fat because they can indirectly influence their blood sugar levels.
There is a healthy diet pyramid and everyone can use it as a guide to having balanced meals at 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 our plate should look. This is according to the diet from the pyramid and it is actually a healthy way of eating. We can use a 12 –inch plate so you can use the same proportions of food from the image.
The fiber is good because it can improve our bowel function, keep us feeling full and actually slow down the rate the sugar is released into the bloodstream. On a daily basis, we 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 of papaya or one small apple.
Remember to include whole grain products in your usual diet, products such as wholemeal biscuits, whole grain, brown rice, wholemeal bread, chapatti, and oats.
We 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 fatty food, especially trans fat and saturated fat.
We need to limit the consumption of saturated fat (skin/fat on meat, ghee, lard, and 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 which can cause a higher risk of stroke and heart disease.
We 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 the day and in that way, you will be able to keep the levels of blood sugar within the target range.
The high intake of salt is related to high blood pressure, which can cause an increased chance of developing heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke. While you cook add less salt and avoid sauces.
Furthermore, we need to limit the intake of processed foods such as canned food, fish ball, pickles, ham, hot dogs, salted vegetables, etc. Also, we need to cut down on gravies that are added to noodles or rice.
Instead, we can spice our 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.
By choosing the food we consume wisely, we can be able to take control of diabetes and do that with fewer medications.
Many diabetic products like the ‘diabetic’ biscuits and chocolates are usually sweetened with artificial sweeteners like sorbitol. If we 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, that all these foods may have carbs like fruit, flour, and milk. Also in these foods as fillers, there might be other forms of sugar added like lactose.
For good control over our blood sugar, we need to do 3 things.
1. Taking insulin or medications as prescribed by the doctor.
2. Maintain a healthy balanced diet with suitable carbs at each meal.
3. Maintain a healthy weight.