Whenever a person is diagnosed with diabetes, one of the most vital ways a person can take control of his condition through his lifestyle, and that most of the time means nutrition and physical activity.
A patient with diabetes has incredibly high amounts of blood sugar also known as blood glucose levels and it is very important to bring down this level of blood glucose to an optimum level to maintain other bodily functions.
Glucose gives us the energy to carry out our day-to-day activities but too much of something is not good and likewise, too much glucose in our blood can lead to diabetes which will affect our health and lifestyle.
During this time, it is very important to focus on health, and this is a well-known fact. The main focus of creating a diabetes plan should be controlling the level of blood sugar.
A diabetes diet is a natural plan which aims to fulfil the purpose of heating naturally healthy food with the optimum amount of food meals. Quality and quantity of food and time of food intake play an important role while considering a proper and balanced diet to control blood glucose levels in your body and improve your health.
The main three causes which result in diabetic problems are fat, inflammation and stress.
If you suffer from diabetes, then your doctor will recommend you to a dietician who will create a healthy diet plan for your convenience so that you can cure your diabetes. Eating based on a proper diet plan is essential in order to deal with issues of diabetes.
A tight plan is developed in order to maintain your blood sugar level, and it can protect you from heart diseases such as high blood pressure and high blood fat. As when you eat an extra amount of calories not based on your diet, then your body creates an extra blood sugar level. It may give rise to blood glucose level, and if this isn't kept in control, then it can lead to serious problems such as heart damage.
Eating properly and exercising can be beneficial for you in the following ways:
- Keeps Blood Glucose, Blood Pressure and Cholesterol levels at the optimum necessary to carry out bodily functions properly.
- Feel more energised and active.
- Prevent or delay symptoms of lifestyle disorders such as diabetes.
- Keep control over your weight.
Tracking and maintaining your eating habits with the basis of a diet plan can lead to managing your control of blood glucose level. When you are dealing with the diabetic issue, then you are supposed to eat 3 times a day to get better use of insulin which your body produces. Your dietician would give you a suitable plan based on your condition as if you want to lose weight, or you want to gain weight depending on that.
Table of Content:
- Introduction to diabetes
- Causes of Diabetes
- Importance of Diabetes Diet Plan
- Recommended Food to Control
Introduction to diabetes-
Diabetes Type 1:
Also called Juvenile diabetes as it occurs mostly in children and young people, type 1 diabetes is a condition in which our immune system destroys the beta cells or insulin-making cells in our pancreas.
Insulin is one of the hormones secreted by the pancreas which helps in maintaining normal blood glucose levels by facilitating the uptake of glucose, regulating the metabolism of carbohydrates lipids and protein, etc.
Another condition known as secondary diabetes is quite similar to type one except for the fact that the beta cells are wiped out by any other causes which do not include the immune system, such as a disease or an injury to the pancreas.
Some of the common symptoms of Type-1 Diabetes are:
- Increased Hunger (after eating)
- Extreme Thirst
- Sudden weight loss
- Mood changes
A person is at a higher risk of Diabetes Type -1 if they are:
- Under the age of 20
- Have a close relative (parent or sibling) with Type 1
- Cardiovascular Disease: Higher Blood Cholesterol, High Blood Pressure which can lead to Heart Failure, etc.
- Gum disease
- Skin Problems: More prone to Fungal or Bacterial infections.
- Pregnancy Problems
- Kidney Damage: A condition called Nephropathy is seen.
- Nerve Damage
- Poor Blood Flow
The type of food you take in leads to an increase or decrease in blood glucose or blood sugar levels.
Food containing more sugar or starch will increase blood sugar levels faster.
Some proteins and fats also cause more increase in blood glucose levels.
It is also equally important to balance your carbohydrate intake along with your insulin shots.
So consulting a dietitian and nutritionist is the most ideal thing to sort out a proper diet.
The hormone insulin secreted from beta cells of the pancreas helps to know the glucose from your bloodstream into your cells where it is used as a form of energy thereby decreasing the amount of blood glucose.
In type 2 diabetes, our body cells fail to respond to insulin as they normally should. Sometimes your body cells fail to produce insulin and it might require supplementary administration of insulin.
- Constant Hunger
- Lack of Energy
- Weight Loss
- Frequently feeling the urge to urinate
If the blood glucose levels in your blood have been extremely high for a very long period of time, the following symptoms are observed:
- Slow Healing Cuts
- Neuropathy (damage to nerves that result in numbness or muscle weakness in that area)
- Foot Pain
- Acanthosis Nigricans (dark patches on the skin)
What Causes Diabetes Type-2?
Insulin is the hormone responsible for removing the glucose from your bloodstream and taking into different issues and utilising them properly.
In the case of diabetes, your body becomes resistant to insulin and does not use insulin as efficiently as it is supposed to. So your pancreas will have to exert more energy and effort to try and get the insulin hormone working properly and over time this will damage the cells of the pancreas, especially the ones that secrete insulin.
Eventually, there will be a lack or total absence of insulin in your body. Due to this, glucose starts accumulating in your bloodstream and the glucose, which is the prime source of energy for the tissues will not reach the tissues as it is not able to leave the bloodstream to the tissues due to the absence of insulin.
And, in the end, your tissues will not receive enough energy to carry out metabolic activities.
Type-2 Diabetes also has genetic roots.
- Close Relatives having Type-2 Diabetes
- Older Age
Diet is not very different from the general diet recommendations for a diabetic person.
Foods to Avoid:
- Foods that contain Saturated or Trans Fat
- Processed Meat
- Margarine and Shortening
- Baked Products
- Sugary Beverages
Also, consider skipping foods that are too high in salt.
Foods to Eat:
- Sweet Potatoes
- Whole Fruits
- Whole Grains
Foods with Omega 3-fatty acid:
Unsaturated Fats (Mono or Polyunsaturated):
Nuts (Almonds, Pecans, Walnuts)
Opting for more low-Fat Diary Products also helps to keep Fat under control.
Obesity is also one of the main reasons why you might be diabetic as Obesity leads to Diabetes.
It is equally important to control food intake to reduce the chances of being obese. Exercise and proper diet are one of the important ways to prevent obesity and later formation of diabetes
Diabetes usually rises in epidemic proportion, and based on data, 9% of the population of the world is diabetic. Based on the data of the World Health Organization, in 2015, 8.5% of young people are suffering from diabetes and based on some other pure search, the percentage has crossed up to 11%.
Importance of Diabetic Diet Plan-
The first thing a diabetic person realises when they are told to control their diet is cutting down on their favourite dishes and cuisine. This is not entirely true.
Although a diabetic person may have to take smaller quantities of that particular food item that's affecting your diabetes, he may also have to have to reduce the frequency of eating that very food product, meaning he might have to take them less frequently than he did before.
A healthy lifestyle is a success of a healthy life and especially for those who are suffering from diabetes. Therefore, it is mandatory for the person who is suffering from diabetes to appoint a dietician who will create a diet plan for the person.
A diabetic plan is just merely a healthy eating plan which can benefit anyone also. If the person follows the diabetic plan, then it will allow the person to maintain its blood sugar level and blood glucose level up to the mark. This will result in the protection of such issues as heart damage.
Recommendation of Foods-
Fatty fish is the healthiest food on the planet, which is rich in healthy carbohydrates. During the process of digestion, sugar level breaks into the glucose level, so you are required to focus on healthy carbohydrate foods. The food list includes fruit, vegetables and low-fat dairy products. You are required to avoid food that has less carbohydrate, for example, food or drinks with added sugar or sodium.
- Starch Containing: Potatoes, Green Peas, Corn
- Non-Starch Containing: Tomatoes, Carrots, Broccoli
Fruits: Apples, Bananas, Grapes, Oranges, Melons, and Berries
- Consider eating Whole Grain the majority of your daily grain intake.
- Wheat, Rice, Barley, Quinoa, Cornmeal
- Examples: Cereal, Bread, Pasta, Tortillas
- Nuts and Peanuts
- Lean Meat
- Chicken or Turkey (Skin Removed)
- Meat Substitute, example: Tofu
- Lactose-Free Milk, for people who are Lactose Intolerant
Fat that are healthy for your heart only come from these sources of foods:
- Olive Oil or Canola (Oils that are liquid at normal room temperature)
- Fish-food such as Salmon, Mackerel, Tuna
Instead of using butter, cream, lard while cooking, try to use more unsaturated oils like Olive oil, Vegetable oil, etc.
Fibre-rich food allows your body to digest easily and maintain the blood sugar level, so it is suggested to eat fibre-rich foods. The person who is suffering from the issue of diabetes is required to eat heart-healthy fish, which is rich in omega 3 fatty acid, and it helps in the prevention of heart disease.
Foods to limit if I have diabetes:
There are certain kinds of food you might have to avoid in order to take control of your diabetes. They are:
- Foods high in Sodium (Commonly known as Salt)
- Foods containing large quantities of Saturated Fat and Trans Fat
- Beverages that contain added sugars such as Regular Sports or Energy Drinks, Juices, etc.
- Sweets in general. Example: Baked items, candy
- Using sugar substitute in your coffee or tea would be a great way to control the amount of sugar taken inside your body.
Avoid alcohol intake on a regular basis. If you are currently using insulin for diabetes or taking medications that help in increasing the amount of insulin hormone that your body makes, drinking alcohol can make your blood glucose level drop too low especially if you haven't eaten in a long time.
Drinks to Avoid if you are Diabetic:
Regular soda tops the list of the worst drinks to avoid if you are diabetic or obese or have any other lifestyle disorders.
Just one single Can of Soda can give you a whooping 40gm of Carbs and 150 calories.
This drink has been related to weight gain and Tooth Decay.
2. Energy Drinks:
Many energy drinks contain high amounts of both Caffeine and Sugars or Carbohydrates.
Researches show that energy drinks not only increase your blood sugar or blood glucose levels but can also lead to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is one of the main reasons for type-2 diabetes.
Effect of excess Caffeine on your body:
- High Blood Pressure
- Rapid Heart Rate
- Frequent Urination
3. Sweetened or Unsweetened Fruit Juices:
Consumption of 100% fruit juices in moderate quantities is considered okay but a lot of fruit juices contain insanely high amounts of carbohydrates which are mostly pure natural sugar. These sugars can spike up your blood sugar levels and increase chances for obesity and the long run, diabetes.
4. Diet Soda:
According to a study conducted in 2014 on mice, the kind of artificial sweeteners that are added to diet soda has a very negative impact on the bacteria in your gut.
This can sometimes lead to increased insulin resistance which is one of the main causes of diabetes type 2.
Gut bacteria influence how different nutrients and foods are digested in the stomach.
Gut bacteria also produce certain vitamins by communicating with the body's immune system which is necessary for certain metabolic reactions to keep your body healthy.
A 2015 animal study on mice reported that native gut bacteria responded to a sugar substitute and it is not necessary that every animal may respond in the same way. every animal has their own ways of responding.
A 2009 study reports that increased intake of diet soda increased the risk for metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome is characterized by a cluster of complications such as:
- High Blood Pressure
- High Cholesterol and Triglyceride levels
- High Blood Sugar Levels
- Increased Weight Gain
Patients who were obese or overweight and were at the risk for metabolic syndrome were reported to swap know the no-calorie soda for the full-sugar sodas. This helped them control their calorie intake.
For people living with diabetes, Sugar-free sodas are considered safe in moderate quantities.
5. Alcoholic Beverages:
Diabetes can sometimes cause high blood pressure or nerve damage, drinking alcohol will worsen these conditions.
Alcohol can bring down blood glucose levels after a couple of hours once you've consumed it. This condition is called hypoglycemia or low blood sugars. People especially those who are taking insulin or other medications are affected the most.
2012 study show that men consuming alcoholic beverages had a more chance of type 2 diabetes than women.
The results in the same study for women varied depending upon the consumption of alcohol. Higher intake increased the chances for prediabetes while low intake of alcohol especially wine was associated with lesser chances of Type 2 diabetes.
When considering selecting a drink, unsweetened tea and all sugar-free beverages are a really good alternative to drinking high sugar-containing beverages which will affect your physical health.
Natural juices are fine in moderate quantities.
Foods with a low Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load raise Blood Sugar more slowly than foods with a High Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load.
Glycemic Load takes portion sizes into consideration.
When it comes to choosing a diet for Diabetes, first thing is to consult a nutritionist.
Once that is taken care of, there are certain things to keep in mind while maintaining your diet.
- Small Portion Sizes
- Regular Schedule for meals
- High Fibre Foods
- Healthy Cooking Oils
- Fewer Calories
You can use any plan to control your diabetes with a view to maintaining sugar level in your body. The basic plan is eating healthy food and making a plate that serves your healthy body.
Health is an important factor for the person who is especially suffering from diabetes, so it is important for the person to maintain its sugar level by eating healthy food suggested by its dietitian.
A dietitian can tell you the right proportion of food you are supposed to eat when you are suffering from diabetes. Therefore, this is mandatory for you to take a diet plan from the dietician with the purpose of reducing the issue of diabetes and maintaining your sugar level. It is more beneficial to eat smaller meals throughout the day rather than a large meal once or twice a day.
Carbohydrates are the main reason because of which your blood sugar level increases or decreases, so you have to understand the calculation of the proportion of food to eat the best suitable meal.
1. What should you eat when you are suffering from diabetes?
You might be thinking that having diabetes means losing all the access to your favorite food, but no, this is not the reality. You can consume your favorite food but in lesser proportion so that it doesn't fluctuate your blood sugar level. Fruits, vegetables and grain are the basic food that one should consume during the issue of diabetes.
2. What is the use of medical nutrition therapy?
Medical therapy is the common approach created by RD to build an eating plan based on your favorite food and your dislike. This is a process of diabetes management that is creating a diet plan for a person based on the nutrition that is required to consume to maintain blood sugar level.
3. What is the need for physical activity at the time of diabetes?
Physical activity plays an important role when you are trying to become a physically active person. This allows you to maintain your blood sugar level and stay healthy while eating your right diet plan. Physical activity will prevent you from lower blood pressure and improve your mood and reduce stress in your life.
4. What are the physical activities required for diabetes?
There are various physical activities that can help you in the case of your diabetes. However, there are some activities that are not safe for you to perform, and they can result in serious damage. Therefore, it is suggested to ask the medical Counselor to suggest the right activity. Most people consider walking with their friends and family e as the right physical activity.
5. What happens if I skip a meal?
If you are a person who is taking diabetes medications or insulin as a means of diabetic treatment and if you skip a meal, your blood glucose levels can go very much lower than normal and that is not a good sign.
Your nutritionist will prescribe you the right amount and quantity of food you need to take during different mealtimes to regulate a constant glucose level balance in your blood and control diabetes
6. When should I eat?
Depending on your diabetes medication or insulin, the time of taking in carbohydrates and its quantity can change.
People that take mealtime insulin can be very flexible with their meal times. They can either choose to eat a particular amount of carbohydrate at the same time every day or can choose to change the timings.