Monday, July 16, 2007

Why Following A Diabetes Diet Is Crucial

Insulin is a very important hormone which converts starchy foods and sugar into glucose, the type of sugar which is required for energy so that your body can function normally. The body stops to produce or use the insulin in the body when you have diabetes, so if you are a diabetic, a careful and strict diet has to be followed. Diabetes is a lifelong problem which has to be dealt with. It is not curable. You have to follow a routine of proper medications and a planned diabetes diet to keep the disease under control and to maintain your health.

Know About Diabetes

It is important that you know thoroughly about the disease and also about the condition of your body. Each one of us has a unique body and although there are many other people with the same disease, it is not necessarily so that what works for them, will also work for you. So you have to consult a doctor to learn about the type of diabetes you have and the issues that may occur when treating yourself for diabetes. It is very important that you follow the correct diabetes diet for you.

Get your blood sugar level tested from time to time, irrespective of what type of diabetes you have. Purchase a pocket size apparatus to check the sugar level in your blood which you can use yourself when and where you want. Start learning how to use the device when you start to follow your diabetes diet. This will allow you to check your sugar level after every meal you eat.

All foods rich in starch or carbohydrates have to be avoided, as these foods are hard to convert into energy if you do not have the required amounts of insulin in your body. You should increase the intake of vegetables and fruits and avoid foods like potatoes, rice, pasta, etc. But there are also certain fruits which you have to avoid, as they can increase the blood sugar level.

It is not true that you have to stop eating a particular food altogether when you have diabetes. You just have to be careful to eat the right quantity.

Make Exercise a Part of Your Routine

The real cause of diabetes still remains unknown, but it is generally accepted that people who are overweight are more likely to suffer from diabetes. Hence, it is necessary that you be careful about what you eat and that you make exercise a part of your lifestyle. Those who are overweight have to be cautious and should try to lose weight. Following a proper diabetes diet is very important, not only for controlling your sugar levels, but also to keep the body fit.

Diabetes is an incurable disease, but if proper care is taken and provided you follow a diabetes diet, there is no reason why you cannot lead a normal and full life.

Article Source:


fastfastlane said...

Nice site Tina.

Famed you and your blog on BTF and also bumped a couple of your posts on Bumpzee =)

Keep up the great work!

Tara said...

I am a nutrition student and also a Type 1 diabetic. I must apologise for the long comment (I understand if it never gets past the moderation stage).

I believe that this article was directed mainly at Type 2 Diabetes - I am guessing this based on the recommendation to 'get your blood sugar tested from time to time' and also the part that states it is 'generally accepted that people who are overweight are more likely to suffer from diabetes' - although the type was never actually mentioned.

As a Type 1 diabetic you must excuse me for getting a bit annoyed at articles like this one that only serve to drive the public misconceptions of my own disease. Much like the media reports of a 'diabetes epidemic' with background images of overweight people eating fatty takeaway food.

While research has concluded that Type 2 diabetes can be caused by lifestyle factors such as physical inactivity and being overweight, the causes of Type 1 diabetes are not as clear. The most widely accepted scientific theory is that Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that has nothing to do with these lifestyle factors. Children as young as a few months old can get Type 1 diabetes.

While the article mentions that no particular food needs to be avoided altogether by diabetics, just one paragraph above it states that 'all foods rich in starch or carbohydrates have to be avoided'. This is simply not true. The body, even a diabetic body, requires carbohydrates for energy. Protein and fat are poorer sources of energy and a body deprived of carbohydrates will soon feel the consequences.

The body needs carbohydrates, this is why diabetics must take medications that help the body to use the insulin it makes more efficiently (Type 2) or insulin injections to compensate for the body not producing any insulin(Type 1 and sometimes Type 2). Therefore, especially for those on insulin injections, it is important not to remove all carbohydrates from the diet as this will result in the individual going hypoglycemic and risking coma.

The importance of carbohydrates is not in restricting them, but in the quality of the carbohydrates. Those that are digested too quickly release sugar into the blood stream all at once, causing large spikes in blood sugar readings. These carbohydrates are referred to as high glycemic index(GI) foods and include things like white (& wholemeal) bread, potatoes, jasmine rice & cornflakes. Foods that take longer to digest release sugar into the bloodstream at a slower rate and cause less of a spike to blood sugar readings. These are referred to as low GI and include things like grainy bread, baked beans, pasta, basmati rice, porridge and muesli.

I also view the term 'diabetic diet' as a redundant term. A diet consisting of low GI carbohydrates, lots of fruit and vegetables and low in saturated fat (without removing mono and polyunsaturated fats excessively), salt and overly processed foods is not just for diabetics. This is the kind of diet that is good for everyone and is protective against many health problems and diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and of course Type 2 diabetes. It is also a diet that will help people to lose weight and maintain their body within a healthy weight range. It is important for everyone (or at least anyone who cares about their own health) to follow this kind of eating plan, but it is a lifestyle change not a short term diet.

Most of the time I eat a healthy balanced diet as described above, however I do not avoid ANY food simply because I am diabetic. I believe in moderation of treat type foods not because I'm diabetic, but because that is healthy for anyone. With insulin injections it is possible for me to eat anything that takes my fancy, the only difference between me and a non-diabetic is that my insulin must be injected instead of my pancreas releasing it for me on cue.

Again, apologies for the long comment. I hope that you will allow this comment so that your readers can see the view of a Type 1 diabetic on these issues. Thank-you.