Diet and diabetes are often mention in the same sentence. Diet is the key to managing diabetes. It sounds easy but, as they say, the devil is in the detail. Changing habits of a lifetime is not easy but with the right information and a little application it can be done. Knowledge is power and knowing what to include and exclude in your diet is a powerful base for controlling your diabetic condition. But more importantly it is HOW you include things in your diet that matters most. And you don’t have to exclude as much as most people think. Surprisingly, when you look at the evidence good diabetic diets are not harsh, bland and unsatisfying. For one of the best guides we’ve come across see – Ultimate Diabetic Cookbook
No-one can say that managing diabetes is not a challenge, however there are things you can learn to cope better with your condition.
Preparation of Food is Crucial for Diabetics
In any diabetic diet preparation of food is crucial. When cooking pasta, for instance, use less water but with a twist. Use only enough water for the pasta to swell up. It takes a bit of getting used to because the twist is that it takes less time to boil with a low water level. Once you get the hang of it you will find that the pasta is also nice and soft and as they Italians say – ‘al dente’. In other words, it will be tastier when cooked with less water.
Beware of Secondary Sugars
We all know that diabetics have to watch their sugar consumption. However, it’s the secondary sugars that are often overlooked. When we think of chocolate we think of sugar but apart from sugar as a direct ingredient, chocolate also includes fats which release sugars slowly in the body as they are digested. Be careful of the so called ‘sugar free’ chocolates. Look closely at the ingredients list.
Combine Exercise with Diet
Along with dieting to control your diabetes you should also undertake physical activities. They needn’t be too strenuous. Anything that keeps you moving regularly would be beneficial, like brisk walking, jogging, chopping wood or anything at all that elevates your heart rate and uses your muscles to pump blood around your body.
An added benefit of following a diabetic-friendly diet combined with significant exercise is that you will probably end up losing weight, as well as generally improving your health.
The first step following a diagnosis of diabetes is to learn the effects of different foods on your body. You blood sugar levels can be spiked quite rapidly by certain foods, particularly those with a high GI (Glucose Index). Ideally, these foods should be avoided or, at least, their intake should be reduced as far as practical.
Low-Carb Meals are not Suited to Diabetics
Carbohydrates are an important part of a diabetic diet. Diets that focus on low-carb meals are not usually suited to diabetics. Those diets deprive the body of necessary vitamins and fibre to maintain an adequate level of energy.
You Can Include Favourite Foods
Most diabetics find the prescriptive food choices they are given hard to adjust to. However, you should not completely eliminate favourite foods, just try to moderate your consumption of your favourites if they fall into the ‘bad for diabetes’ category.
The best approach is to alter the recipes of favourite dishes by making small changes to the ingredients so the dish becomes more diabetic-friendly. There are so many dishes that you may think you have to avoid that can be made acceptable in a diabetic diet by changing the offending ingredients for something healthier.
A diagnosis of diabetes is not the end of eating to please your taste buds – just the beginning of a slightly different journey. Diabetes sufferers should learn as much as possible about their condition in order to control it. Following a diet for diabetics is a key element in controlling the condition. Knowing which foods to include in your diet and how to include them is the foundation of a good diet regime for diabetics.
Glycaemic Index and Diabetes
You can obtain information which will give you a shortcut in categorising foods as ‘good’, ‘bad’ or ‘neutral’. The glycaemic index tells you how much individual foods increase blood sugar levels. In a diet for diabetics the focus is on foods with a low glycaemic index. However, it is not that restrictive. Depending on the severity of the condition, diabetics can get away with eating low glycaemic foods most of the time, rather than all the time.
As well as choosing types of food in a diabetic diet, portion control is also important. While the effect of different foods on blood sugar levels can vary, the larger the meal, usually the larger the insulin dose required. It’s all part of the process of managing glucose levels.
Diet for Diabetics during Pregnancy
Diets also need to vary from individual to individual. The severity of the condition can vary from diabetic to diabetic and there are also variations in how diabetes arises and how it is managed. One special case is when it is diagnosed during pregnancy. This may be a transitory condition but it’s crucial that it is controlled as it will not only harm the mother but also the baby.
If you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetics, added to all the additional considerations that apply during pregnancy, such as ensuring that medications taken are safe for the condition, is food choice. Even without diabetics being present there are certain dietary consideration to follow when pregnant. With a diagnosis of gestational diabetes, modifications to diet is a little more complex but still manageable. While you may take it a general diet for diabetics as a starting point, your physician should be able to tell you have best to modify it during pregnancy.