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Diabetes Diet - Need for Healthy Eating

Diabetes is like your best friend that will never say it quits and keep you on your tenterhooks all the time. Like it or dislike it, but you cannot ignore it.

diabetes foods
There is a lot of hype about the perfect diabetes diet. But a handful of people understand that diabetes cannot be treated, but yes, you can manage its symptoms to improve your quality of life.  So is there a perfect diet to manage diabetes?

Well, there is no such fixed diet for diabetics.

Diabetes seems to have become a dreaded word these days. What exactly is it? How does it affect an individual? The researchers at University of Cambridge have come up with some disturbing statistics, relating type 2 diabetes with the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages. Statistics reveal  "184,000 people die each year from health problems related to sugary drink consumption."

The better you understand diabetes, the better you can manage it.Diabetes, they say, is a lifestyle disease, worsened by bad diet. It is a disorder in which the body cannot either produce or use adequate amount of insulin to control blood glucose levels. So what is the appropriate type 2 diabetes treatment?

Well, first you need to understand your body's functioning:

  • is the most common type of sugar in your body
  • provides you with energy.
  • is derived from the food you eat
  • made in muscles and liver.
  • is carried to different organs by the blood. 

Pancreas release insulin hormone into the blood.  Insulin helps blood distribute glucose to different cells of the body.

However, sometimes there is not enough insulin production in the body or insulin is not able to work as it should. As a result, the blood is not able to carry glucose to different cells. This results in glucose retention in the blood. So now you know what happens when glucose is not distributed to the body cells.

Yes, you are correct - your blood glucose spikes. Such condition for a longer period can cause prediabetes or even diabetes. 

In order to learn about the perfect ways to manage diabetes with a holistic dietary and exercise regimen, you ought to dig deeper into it

Prediabetes, what is that? 

It is a condition in which blood glucose is high yet just below normal. Any prediabetic person has a higher chance of getting type 2 diabetes. Such persons are also at a high risk of stroke or heart disease. 

However, it is possible to keep a check on prediabetes with physical activity and weight management. You can return to normal glucose levels.

Metabolism is the process in which your body converts food into fuel required for the proper functioning of the body.
When you eat something, your digestive system breaks it into fat, protein, carbs, and simple sugar - all of which are absorbed into your blood stream and used whenever required by the body.

The simple sugar or glucose builds up into your blood after every meal. Insulin is one such hormone controlled by pancreas that uses sugar and prevents its buildup in the bloodstream by unlocking it from the blood so it can circulate throughout the body and fuel cells.
Since your body isn't able to use energy from the food, diabetes can cause your blood sugar spike, resulting in serious health conditions, which can involve major organs, causing diabetic coma and even death.

Diabetes Symptoms

  • feeling hungry
  • being very thirsty
  • urinating often
  • extreme fatigue
  • unexpected weight loss
  • slow healing sores
  • loss of sensation in feet
  • dry, itchy skin
  • blurry eyesight
Diabetes Management Tips: Dietary Guidelines for Type 2

  • Eat a balanced diet -which includes a mix of everything, from carbs to proteins, fats, fiber, and sugar. Never start your day with a glass full of milk or caffeinated drinks.
  • Increase your intake of water to at least 8 glasses a day.
  • Eat smaller meals at frequent intervals - change your big size 3 meal a day to small size 6 meal plan.

Recent Research Stats on Diabetes: Diet & Food
Additionally, artificially sweetened beverages are linked to many other health conditions, such as disrupted gut bacteria, increased belly fat, and cardiovascular problems, among others.

A person who consumes one sugary drink on an average per day is at an 18% greater risk of developing diabetes in a decade, compared to those who do not. 
So what is the best diabetes recipe?

The simple reason to quit consumption of sugary drinks is that they offer no nutritional value, but do certainly cause a sudden spike and drop in your blood sugar levels Your body, especially pancreas, will surely thank you if you stop consuming carbonated and sweetened drinks. Of course, this will reduce your risk of diabetes.

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you must take care of a few key elements, such as your diet, weight, and blood sugar levels. It is always better to consult a dietitian when it comes to choosing diabetic diet for type 2 diabetes, depending on your symptoms.

Importance of Diabetic Diet Plan for Type 2 Diabetes
So you have been diagnosed with diabetes and are looking for a diet for type 2 diabetes.  The first immediate step for you should be to contact your doctor, who would suggest making dietary changes, and weight management, as part of your diabetes treatment program. 

Besides, to devise your diabetic diet plan, consult a dietitian, who is the best person to advise you on nutritional therapy, depending on your lifestyle, weight, medication, sugar levels, and any other medical conditions, besides diabetes.  

The dietitian will create a diabetes diet plan for you that will leave some room for your favorite foods. But remember, no diabetes diet plan is the same for two persons, for it depends on individual medical condition and requirements. You cannot simply start taking the diabetes diet of a friend when your symptoms may be different!

My mother-in-law and father-in-law are diabetics for over 15 years. They are surviving on insulin therapy, wherein they have to take insulin shots three times a day before meals. However, the dietary plan of my mother-in-law varies slightly from that of my father-in-law, as the former is also a heart patient. She suffered a heart attack seven years back and had to undergo angioplasty for the same reason.

One thing that I  really admire my in-laws for is their holistic following of their diabetic dietary charts. This is the best thing to do when you are a diabetic, because there is no other way out!! 

Type 1 Diabetes

Initially known as juvenile diabetes, type 1 diabetes often develops in young people. But this does not mean that type 1 does not affect adults. 

A person suffering from type 1 diabetes experiences a condition in which their body does not make insulin or the amount of insulin produced in the body is not enough. The reason being that the immune system attacks and destroys the cells that make insulin.

A person suffering from type 1 diabetes may need:

  • to take insulin shots
  • to take medications
  • to be physically active
  • to make healthy food choices
  • to keep a check on blood pressure levels
  • to control cholesterol levels

Type 2 Diabetes

Also known as adult-onset diabetes, type 2 can affect any age group, including kids, though it primarily affects middle-aged and older people. 

It is no surprise that overweight, obese, and inactive people are at a high risk of type 2 diabetes.

The body starts to show insulin resistance signs with the onset of type 2. It is a condition in which different cells in the body, such as liver, muscles, and fat, do not use insulin for carrying glucose into the cells. As a result, more insulin is required to distribute glucose to  the fat, liver, and muscle cells. 

Initially pancreas increases production of insulin. However, gradually, pancreas is not able to produce sufficient insulin when blood glucose spikes, such as after meals. When pancreas cannot produce enough insulin, treatment for type 2 diabetes becomes crucial.

How to Treat type 2 diabetes

  • make healthy food choices - yes, you need a diabetic diet plan
  • stay physically active
  • keep a check on blood pressure and cholesterol levels

Diabetic Diet Plan
diet for diabetics to avoid
For a type 2 diabetic patient, it is critical to follow a healthy balanced meal plan and routine. Doing so will help keep their blood glucose levels in check.

Besides helping control your blood glucose levels, a diabetic diet plan keeps your weight on track

No one diabetic diet plan is the same for all type 2 diabetic patients. 

It differs from person to person depending on their nutritional needs, weight, routine activities, and type of diabetes. 

Remember, a diabetic diet is one that is a balanced healthy diet, comprising a moderate amount of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. A diabetic has to be cautious when it comes to choosing what to eat and what not to eat.

A diabetic meal provides essential nutrients required by a diabetic like other non-diabetic patients, though the major difference is the quantity and portion of intake. The American Diabetic Association suggests the following important points for you to plan your meal in order to maintain your blood sugar levels.

Nutritional Supplementation
After every meal, blood sugar levels go up because food is broken down into glucose. If blood glucose isn't controlled, serious complications can ensue, such as hyperglycemia and kidney, nerve, and heart damage. Adequate nutritional supplementation will keep a check on your blood sugar levels and thus help control diabetes.

Moderating Carbohydrates, Sugar, Fat
Complex carbohydrates are the starches found in vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, which are considered healthier than simple carbohydrates because they are digested slowly, thus not raising the blood glucose levels instantly. These contain valuable amounts of fiber and provide a steady energy source.  However, if compared with fats and proteins, carbohydrates break down directly into sugar; therefore, eating carbohydrates in moderate amounts is recommended for diabetics, who cannot take the risk of eating large quantities of foods that raise their sugar levels instantly.

diabetes diet plan
A type 2 diabetes patient should eat more starches and fibers, such as cereals, bread, and vegetables and fruits. Starchy and fibrous foods are good in case of Type 2 diabetes, as these help slow down intestinal absorption of glucose and thus control blood sugar levels. Insoluble fibers, such as whole grains, purge the lower gastrointestinal tract.

If you think you will have to completely forget your favorite desserts and sweets, then reducing your intake of sugars and sweets will certainly help to a great extent. But you don’t have to forego your favorite sweets, you can still enjoy them once or twice a week.

diabetes symptoms
High levels of salt can increase the risk of high blood pressure for a diabetic, which is certainly dangerous and can directly affect the heart. Limiting the quantity of salt will certainly help a diabetic.

Weight Management
Diabetics are advised to keep a healthy weigh because extra fat makes it difficult for diabetics’ body to make and use its own insulin. Limiting calories from fat restricts weight gain, besides an exercise regimen. Cheese, cream milk, grocery items, beef are major contributors of fat, thus restricting their quantity will keep a check on fat levels in the body. Go for lean meats, such as poultry, fish, and instead of frying them, boil, broil, grill, or roast them. Select low-fat dairy products, such as skim milk, nonfat yogurt, low-fat cheese, and buttermilk.

diabetes diet
A plan for diabetic diet for Type 2 diabetes holds key importance for diabetic patients because it is the food you eat that determines your blood sugar levels, which go up after every meal and then return to the normal levels after one or two hours. Therefore, it is essential that you know which nutritious foods to eat, how much to eat, and when to eat to keep your blood glucose levels within a targeted range. Remember to eat a range of nutritious foods in moderate quantity at appropriate time.  Sticking to regular mealtimes is another important facet of a diabetic diet plan.

Understanding the plan for diabetic diet for type 2 diabetes is essential for those afflicted with the disease to manage their diabetes and blood glucose levels. Diabetes poses a risk to the heart, eyes, kidneys, and nerves; therefore, it is important that patients follow a diabetic diet plan for diabetes and weight management.

Are Raisins good for diabetics?
Here's what I got from webmd.

MOre on Diabetes on this blog:
Blood sugar levels above 500: What is the safe way out?
Diabetes milletus: What are diabetes symptoms in kids?
Understanding Ketosis vs Ketoacidosis: What is Diabetes?
Diabetes diet: What are diabetes friendly foods?

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