It is a certifiable medical fact that type 2 Diabetes can be avoided or at least delayed through diet, exercise, proper medical treatment. Yet the United States is nonetheless facing a diabetes epidemic of staggering proportions; 26 million Americans have the disease, and that number has doubled since 1980.
And therein lies the profound challenge facing the medical and diabetic community: how, despite all the education and diabetes management strategies available, is the condition only worsening.
Industry experts have some theories as to why this is. Some argue that despite breakthroughs in diabetes management care, these strategies have not been practically translated into everyday activities that patients can partake in.
Then there’s the theory that the level of diabetes education is not, after all, as pervasive and useful as previously thought. Advocates need to do a better job at promoting the importance of diet and education, and that starts at the grade school level.
When you are diagnosed with diabetes one of the first things you should do is consult a nutritionist. They will be able to tell you exactly what’s good for you to include in your diet, and what food types you should be avoiding.
A healthy food plan is essential for managing your condition, but with so much information currently available knowing what’s right and wrong can be a confusing business. Whatever choices you make there are a few simple rules which are universally recognized to be beneficial.
Try and reduce portion sizes. Cut the amount of fried foods you include in meals, whether at home or in a restaurant.
Make fresh fruit and vegetables a major part of your diet. Try and eat non-starchy vegetables, such as green beans, spinach and broccoli with every meal.
Drink diet soda whenever you have the chance – better still have a glass of water.
Switch to brown rice, whole-wheat pasta and other whole grain carbohydrates.
Include dried beans and lentils in your cooking.
Try and eat fish at least twice a week.
When buying meat, whether at the store or in a restaurant, opt for leaner cuts, such as loin of pork or beef. Always remove the skin from chicken.
Reduce your dairy food consumption and opt for fat-free milk, cheese and yogurt. Try replacing cow’s milk in drinks with Soya or rice alternatives.
When you’re frying avoid solid fats and choose liquid oils which contain less saturated fat.
Avoid calorie-packed snack foods such as cookies, chips and cakes; alternatively look for low-calorie versions.
Most importantly, develop and stick to a meal plan. Your doctor will be able to help you with this. Make sure it fits your lifestyle and is achievable; sticking to it will not only control weight but help balance blood glucose, blood pressure and your cholesterol levels.
Like any other woman, Diabetics have to take certain precautions during pregnancy, but with the right diet and a little extra attention, there is no reason why you should not have a perfectly healthy child. All the usual advice applies, such as eating a healthy, well balanced diet, avoiding drinking and smoking and making sure you take the correct vitamins.
Once you are pregnant it is important to maintain your blood glucose at near normal levels, especially in the early stages, when your baby is growing most rapidly. You run the highest chance of miscarriage during this phase and high glucose levels can increase the risk of complications. Your doctor will be able to advise you on a suitable meal plan.
Sufferers taking hypoglycaemic medication or controlling their condition through diet and exercise will be moved to insulin injections and you will need to adjust to this by monitoring your body’s glucose levels carefully. Gradually, over the course of your pregnancy your need for insulin will increase. You can help regulate it by sticking to an agreed meal plan and learning to adjust your jabs as required.
Food intake is especially important during pregnancy; after all, you are controlling both the nutrition and glucose levels of two people now and you will have to accommodate your food intake accordingly, increasing your daily intake by around 300 calories.
Over the course of your pregnancy you will become an expert in controlling your blood sugar levels and it is important throughout never to miss meals and snack breaks. If you suffer from morning sickness contact your doctor immediately, and if sticking to three large meals a day becomes uncomfortable, split them into six or even eight smaller servings.
Your doctor will know exactly how you need to manage your condition over the course of your pregnancy and be able to advise you throughout.
Whether it’s grabbing something on your lunch break or treating the kids on the weekend, fast food is an integral part of modern day life. Having diabetes doesn’t mean you have to stop visiting your favorite fast food chains, if you arm yourself with a little knowledge.
Many now offer healthy alternatives and, with a little awareness, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy the experience, without fear of breaking your own dietary guidelines. Remember it’s easy to eat a day’s worth of calories in one sitting, sending your blood sugar levels spiralling out of control. So keep your own personal diet rules in mind, and watch out for fat and salt loaded foods when ordering.
Be aware of the nutritional value of the food you are eating and compensate with your other meals that day, loading them with fresh fruit and vegetables. When placing your order avoid sugar packed sodas and choose a fresh juice or water.
Consider how your meal is prepared. While fish or chicken may seem healthy enough, if it has been deep fried it will contain high amounts of fat.
Avoid items labeled with words like King Size, Jumbo or Deluxe and don’t be lured by two-for-one deals. Go for regular or even child portions and look out for words like Lean, Grilled and Broiled, [and] avoiding toppings like mayo and other dressings by asking for them on the side. A typical slice of cheese will add 100 calories to your meal, as well as excess fat and salt – leave it out.
If there’s a salad bar or build your own option avoid items such as bacon bits, croutons and fatty dressings, choosing crunchy lettuce, fresh vegetables and peppers. When you eat Mexican try a burrito without refried beans and load up on the salsa instead. If pizza’s your thing choose thin crust and go light on the cheese.
Finally, watch out for easy to fall into traps. Fat-free muffins often contain high amounts of sugar and sodium, while even skinless chicken will be high in fat if it’s been fried.
Everybody else seems to be doing it, and now a new report has indicated the benefits of a greener diet for diabetes sufferers, according to one expert.
Amy Campbell, an Education Program Manager specializing in diabetes control claims that going green can have a real positive effect on controlling blood glucose levels. Of course, every diabetic knows the importance of fresh fruit and vegetables in reducing glucose absorption and the value of foods containing fiber in controlling blood sugar levels, but the positive effects of a vegetarian diet are less well known.
As well as ditching meat, sufferers are being encouraged to shop local and buy produce which is allowed to ripen naturally in the field, meaning less artificial additives and sweeteners have been added.
Living life as a vegetarian, or even cutting down on your meat consumption is by no means restrictive and the American Diabetes Association has recently revised its meal exchange list thanks to a growing interest in the subject.
If you’re considering going green, or cutting out meat, it’s important to make the change gradually, allowing your body to slowly realign itself to your new diet and allowing you to closely monitor how the changes affect your body and your condition. You may find eliminating some foods has a positive effect while other changes may not suit you. Give yourself time to adjust.
Every newly diagnosed diabetes sufferer should seek the opinion of a professional dietician and develop a meal plan suitable for their own lifestyle, in order to minimize complications without taking the fun out of food. Remember, nutrition plays a major part in diabetes control, and while you have the same nutritional requirements as anybody else, special attention to what’s in your food is advisable.
Eating out is part of our culture. We visit restaurants for business, for convenience and for fun, but when you have diabetes dining out can become a dangerously unhealthy minefield. However, it doesn’t have to be, and as more restaurants and diners try to meet the health concerns of their customers, eating out is becoming less hazardous.
Remember, you are not the only person with diabetes, there are millions just like you, and many more actively concerned about their diets. Restaurants don’t want to lose their customers, and many are now actively involved in offering dishes low in cholesterol, fat, salts or meat free. So don’t be afraid to ask for calorie and fat information if it is not already included on the menu.
When ordering, choose fish dishes, salads and fresh vegetables. Ask for your meat to be broiled instead of fried, skin to be removed from chicken and heavy sauces to be served on the side. Chefs are a friendly bunch and many will actually enjoy the chance to make something a little different, so feel free to ask for certain ingredients to be removed from a dish, or for a smaller than usual portion.
Ingredients like salt and butter are frequently added during the cooking process; ask that none are included when preparing your order. If a meat dish is served breaded or battered, remove the outer coating and leave it.
If you don’t get what you want from a restaurant and you eat out often, vote with your feet and choose another establishment, picking one that has a wide variety of healthy options for you to choose from. Finally, if you have an enjoyable experience and are satisfied with the service you receive tell the manager; that way they know they’ve done well and will continue the good practice.
Cholesterol is a substance present in every cell of our bodies and is needed to make and manage hormones, vitamins and aid digestion. Although it is found in certain foods the body creates its own supply, which is found in two different forms, known as high-density and low-density lipoproteins, and carries it in the bloodstream. A high amount of low-density lipoproteins can increase the risk of heart disease and is commonly found in sufferers of diabetes.
The most effective group of drugs for regulating cholesterol are known as Statins and these can help diabetics reduce their chances of future coronary complications, especially when coupled with a healthy, active lifestyle and a diet low in saturated fats. Usually taken once daily, Statins slow down the body’s natural production of cholesterol and increase the liver’s capacity to clean up excess supply.
High cholesterol is common among diabetes sufferers, especially in later life and can lead to heart attacks and strokes, accounting for more than 60% of diabetes related deaths, so the use of Statins has become widespread among those affected by the disease.
A recent report on the use of Statins also indicated an unexpected benefit for people with diabetes taking the drug, with research indicating that it can also help prevent the leg and foot infections known to afflict many sufferers. Staff at the George Washington University Medical Center reported that patients taking Statins had a near 20% lower incidence of serious leg and foot infection, prompting a new study into the drugs effects.
By far the most successful way for diabetics to prevent the risk of heart disease is through a healthy diet and regular exercise program. Staying active and eating the right foods, such as fresh fruit and fiber, helps to naturally lower cholesterol levels in the body and reduce the chance of a heart attack or stroke.
Once a person is diagnosed with diabetes, he/she should contact a dietician, to get an idea on how to consume different types of food varieties along with keeping an eye on the blood sugar. To make it simple diabetic diet is not different from regular food pyramid quantities and components except they should watch over their carbohydrate intake. Best is low fat diet with complex carbohydrates.
Most important component of the diet. It should consists of starchy foods like wheat, rice, pasta, potatoes, peas, corn etc. Should be 6 – 8 servings.Try to eat complex carbohydrates. 45 – 65% of calories should come from your carbohydrates.
Examples like carrots, green leaves, green string beans etc. Vegetables have little carbohydrate (except few like potatoes, peas, beans, corn etc which fall under carbohydrate group). They will provide vitamins and minerals. You should remember vegetables are high in fiber Fiber is good for lowering cholesterol in blood. 3 – 5 servings per day. It can be half quantity cooked and half of it as raw vegetables. Eat colored vegetables like carrots, broccoli, green leaves.
Examples are apples, berries, citrus etc. Fruits have significant quantities of carbohydrates. So watch out before consuming them. 2 – 4 servings per day. You will get vitamins, minerals and fibre from fruits.
Examples are chicken, fish, eggs, cheese, tofu etc. High in protein content and very less in carbohydrates. Protein is necessary for the body building, repair and main component of cells as cell proteins. 2 – 3 servings per day. 15 – 20% of total calories should be from your protein.
Examples are milk, condensed milk, yogurt etc. Excellent source for protein and calcium. Most of the milk products are fortified with Vitamin A, D. So milk is also good source for these two fat soluble vitamins. 2 – 3 servings per day.
Fats and oils:
Less consumed part of the diet. They should contain 5% of total diet. Examples are butter, snacks, candy, sweets etc. Avoid them as much as possible. No more than 20 – 30% of total calories should be from fats.
You don’t have to give up your favorite foods. Instead follow these tips:
* Change the ingredients. Example instead of high fat butter, use zero fat butter or margarine.
* Limit the quantity of your favorite diet.
* Use artifical sweeteners instead of simple sugar.
* Use complex carbohydrates instead of simple carbohydrates.
Another question diabetics frequently ask:
"I can eat what I want and how much I want and take an extra tablet or insulin?"
Simply no. Don’t make your blood sugar levels become erratic. Always best to maintain a certain levels constantly. If you eat more and take an extra tablet (which is not monitored and medicine not standardized by your doctor), you will miss the fine balance of blood sugar control).
Plan well before, what to eat next day. You should be responsible for your health. Be prepared for next day’s events and stress induced work etc. For example if you have to travel to different place for few days, carry your splenda, medicines, doctor’s prescription etc.