Diabetes and food management go hand-in-hand. People with diabetes can still continue to enjoy a wide variety of food. However, the carbohydrates in the foods we eat affect our blood sugar levels, so we need to choose wisely.
People diagnosed with diabetes often worry that they won't be able to enjoy bread, pasta, or other carbohydrates anymore. However, all types of foods -- including carbohydrates -- are part of a healthy and nutritious diet. Diabetics can enjoy a tasty and varied diet. "Extras" such as sweets or alcohol, though, need to be minimized due to often high amounts of carbohydrates, fat, and sugar.challenges for people newly diagnosed with diabetes is how to manage their nutrition needs when living with people who are not diabetic. It can be hard watching someone snack on potato chips, sweets, or other treats! There will be an adjustment period for both you and your family. The good news is that a diabetic-friendly diet is generally a healthy diet for most people, so you'll also be helping your family eat better for life.
Baked goods such as breads are very difficult for many people to give up. The good news is that they can still be enjoyed, either in smaller portions or with made with healthier (higher fiber, higher protein, lower glycemic index) substitutions such as the use of spelt flour or coconut flour in place of traditional wheat flour.
When you eat is just as important as what you eat. With diabetes, your goal is to try to keep your blood sugar as stable as you can throughout the entire day. Thus you may find that you need to eat smaller, regular meals or snacks at the same time every day.diabetes food pyramid a useful tool in figuring out what foods to eat. The glycemic index is also popular. Many cookbooks of diabetic recipes are available if you need inspiration. There are even recipes for diabetic-friendly desserts!
Carbohydrates have the biggest effect on blood sugar levels. When you consume foods containing carbohydrates -- such as breads, pasta, rice, and fruits -- your blood sugar increases. Diabetics should aim to keep blood glucose levels within the target range set by their doctor. This can be made easier by balancing out the amount of carbohydrates eaten per meal. Try to eat the same amount of carbs in each meal or snack. This will help keep blood sugar levels steadier throughout the day.
Even with healthy foods, portion control is important. It's a lot harder to eat 1000 calories from fruit than it is to eat 1000 calories from chocolate, but in the end, a calorie is still a calorie, regardless of its source. If you consume more calories than you use up during the day, then you'll gain weight. Being overweight leads to increased insulin resistance. Maintaining (or losing weight to reach) a healthy weight will increase your body's sensitivity to insulin.
Initially you may find it difficult to stick with a new way of eating. Don't get discouraged - it takes time to adjust and eventually it will become a part of your lifestyle. Don't skip meals or alter your eating (or exercise) habits without talking to your doctor first. If you inadvertantly miss a meal or eat too much or too little, be sure to check your blood sugar levels to make sure your blood sugar isn't too low or too high. This is particularly important if you are on medications or insulin.
For people with diabetes, blood sugar control is critical for optimal health. Diabetes and food have to be managed. It is well worth the time and the cost to consult with an experienced dietitian and develop a sustainable eating plan for your individual needs. Ask your insurance provider whether they will pick up all or part of the cost of these consultations.