The diet plan for a diabetic will depend on various factors including height, weight, age, sex, physical activities and the nature of diabetes one is suffering from. In addition, the dietician will assess the calories to be given and balances the amount of carbohydrates, proteins and fats in the diet. Since body cholesterol is directly associated with heart attack and diabetes, therefore, it is important to control cholesterol levels. A healthy diabetes diet should include foods low in cholesterol, specifically LDL levels, which is considered as the most cholesterol inducing risk factor. Besides lowering down LDL levels, raising HDL cholesterol helps lower down the risk of heart related problems.
In order to control the disease, a patient needs to understand what to eat, how much to eat and when to eat. A balanced diet will help one feel good; help lose weight and lowers the risk of heart diseases. Balanced diet helps keep the blood glucose level in the target range.
It is always better to talk to the dietician or a doctor about how many meals and snacks to eat each day. However, how you eat and how much you eat depends on how much you exercise each day. Daily physical activity is one of the most important factors that help control your blood glucose level. Talk to the doctor about the kind of exercise you can follow. In addition, people who practice meditation feel more relaxed and cope with the disease effectively.
The diabetes Food Pyramid:
The diabetes food pyramid helps make wise food choices. The pyramid consists of starches at the bottom, fruits and vegetables just above the starch. The next level consists of milk, meat and meat substitutes. And at the top of the pyramid fats and sweets are there. The level has been divided on the basis of what they contain. Eat more at the bottom and less from the groups at the top.
Starches include bread, grains, starchy vegetables such as corn and potatoes. They are rich sources of carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and fibers. The best way to eat starches is to eat few high-fat starches such as potato chips, French fries or biscuits. Eat more fat free popcorn and low fat muffins.
Vegetable diet is very effective in controlling diabetes. Though all vegetables are healthy but there are some vegetables that are specifically recommended for people suffering from diabetes. Groundnut, bitter gourd, combination of Soya, lettuce and tomato are very effective in controlling diabetes. Eat raw or cooked vegetables with little or no fat. Eat more green salads; low flame cooked vegetables, and seasonal vegetables. Green vegetables include lettuce, broccoli, spinach, carrots, tomatoes, and cabbage, etc
It is absolutely a false notion that diabetics should not eat fruits. Well, diabetics can eat fiber-rich fruits. On addition, fruits are the best source of carbohydrate, vitamins, minerals and fibers. Some fruit sources include apples, grapefruit, bananas, mango, guava, papaya, and oranges, etc. For good results, eat raw or juice with no sugar added. Eat more raw and fiber rich fruits than fruit juices.
For pregnant women – four to five servings of milk each day could be beneficial. However, drink fat free or low fat milk. Eat low fat or fat free milk products. Yogurt is the best substitute for sour cream. Many people today eat milk products rich in sweets and fats, which is not a healthy habit.
Meat and Meat substitutes:
Women especially in their middle age and older who include lots of red meat in their daily diet are at higher risk of diabetes. According to a research done by Dr. Simin Liu of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston found a close association between red meat and the risk of type 2 diabetes, the insulin independent diabetes. The research result concluded that women who had consumed red meat were 28 percent more susceptible to diabetes.
These include meat, poultry, eggs, and fish, etc. It is always better for diabetics to avoid these products and eat very less amount on an occasional basis. Buy cuts of meat – trim off the extra fat. To add more flavors to the dish, add vinegars, lemon juice, herbs and spices. Use less oil while cooking meat.
Fats and Sweets:
Since fats and sweets have been kept at the top of the pyramid, less consumption of these products are always desirable. Diabetics are always advised to limit the fat intake. There are two basic reasons hidden: the first one is that it increases body fat especially abdominal fat that prevents insulin from working normally and as a result, the blood glucose level increases. The second reason is that people with diabetes are more susceptible to heart attack. Reducing fat intake together with physical activity helps reduce body weight and also decreases the risk of heart diseases. Saturated fats increase the risk of heart disease and should be avoided. However, polyunsaturated and mono unsaturated fats do not pose any such risk. Sources of fats include oils, cream cheese, butter, and avocado, etc
It was believed that sweets would raise the blood sugar level faster as compared to fruits, vegetables and starchy foods such as potatoes or whole grain bread. But this is not true. If a diabetic person is taking sweets with his or her daily meal in a moderate amount, it will not harm. But excess intake of sweets can definitely raise blood glucose level and harm. Sources of sweets may include cake, ice cream, cookies and syrup, etc.
Alcohol is consumed inside the body in a similar fashion as fat is consumed and processed. Therefore, alcohol in people with diabetes can raise blood sugar inside the body. People who are alcoholic should limit alcohol consumption however, if you want to drink alcohol then talk to the doctor about how much you should consume. While moderate alcohol consumption raise blood sugar level, excess alcohol decreases the blood sugar level and sometimes the situation become worse.
Glycemic Index Diet:
According to the Glycemic Index Diet (GI Diet) foods are ranked as per their ability to break down in the body to form glucose. In other words, it is a method of rating foods based on their ability to raise blood glucose. The glycemic index uses a scale that ranges from 1 to 100. The higher glycemic number indicates the food that raise blood sugar higher than foods with low glycemic numbers. Food products such as sugar, candy and other sweet foods possess a high glycemic index. On the other hand, foods such as whole grains, vegetables, and fruits have a lower glycemic index. The glycemic index range helps diabetic patients food choice. For example, a low glycemic index range is 55 or less, an intermediate range is 55 to 75 and high glycemic index rate varies from 70 or higher.
Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are considered as a disorder and it is important to follow the rule, “prevention is better than cure.” But it is sad that millions of people remain undiagnosed till the disease becomes lethal. Almost 80 % of diabetes deaths occur in low and middle-income countries. Awareness is therefore very important in order to cope up with the disease. Scientists and researchers are also doing their best in finding the best solution for the same. In addition, diet is one of the most important factors that need to be considered. Since people today are not taking care about the diet, fast food trend is the new buzzword. Youngsters are also following the same trend and as a result, more juvenile diabetes problems are seen. The other reason why people are suffering from diabetes is the high smoking habit. The only thing that can help fight with the disease is awareness and awareness only.