A Diabetic Diet is Key to Managing Diabetes
A diabetic diet is a balanced healthy diet with appropriate mixture of carbohydrates, proteins and fats at each meal so as to both provide essential nutrients as well as create an even release of glucose into the blood from meal to meal on a daily basis. A diet for diabetes, however, needs to be adjusted to suit each diabetic’s requirement as there are tend to be differences in everyone’s level of physical activities, injections of insulin (if taking) and intake of oral diabetic drugs, and the action and timing of the medications taken.
The exchange lists, which are dietary guidelines from the American Diabetes Association, are the basis of a meal planning system designed by a committee of the American Diabetes Association and the American Dietetic Association. There are differing philosophies on what is the best diet but below is a guideline with some general principles. Patients with Type 1 diabetes should have a diet that has approximately 35 calories per kg of body weight per day (or 16 calories per pound of body weight per day). Patients with Type 2 diabetes generally are put on a 1500-1800 calorie diet per day to promote weight loss and then the maintenance of ideal body weight.
Most people with diabetes find that it is quite helpful to sit down with a dietician or nutritionist for a consult about what is the best diet for them and how many daily calories they need. It is quite important for diabetics to understand the principles of carbohydrate counting and how to help control blood sugar levels through proper diet.
To keep blood sugar levels under control, a diabetic diet strikes a balance among the carbohydrates, fats, and protein you take in.
Carbohydrates are the source of energy that starts with glucose, the sugar in your bloodstream, and includes substances containing many sugar molecules called complex carbohydrates, starches, cellulose, and gums. Carbohydrates comprise the highest source of blood sugar and are the primary fuel for your body and brain. Carbohydrates are any food that can be broken down into sugar and the more of these you eat the higher your blood sugar will rise.
Fats should contain no more than the 30% of the daily basis calorie count. Fats are the most important concern for diabetics because the management of cholesterol is done according to the amount of fat taken into the body. The dietary key to managing cholesterol, then, lies in understanding fats and oils.
Reducing the consumption of saturated fats and trans-fatty acids is the number one step in managing weight and cholesterol. To manage these fats it is important to understand both saturated fats and trans fatty acids. Saturated fats are found in animal products and dairy products. Trans-fatty acids are created through a process called hydrogenation. These fats can be found in stick margarine and in fast foods, baked goods and white breads.
Protein is another element that is important to take account of in the diabetic diet. Protein foods do not raise your blood sugar, so you can add more fish, eggs, meat, etc with your meals. Protein is limited to 15-20% of the total calorie requirement of the body. Whenever you eat a meal or snack, it should always include a small amount of protein that has its own natural fat. The protein food with its own natural fat tends to hold onto the food longer so that your blood sugar doesn’t spike and then drop immediately.
A diabetic diet can be customized to suit each patient’s preferences, and a nutritionist can help with this. This type of diet should also take into consideration the medical condition, lifestyle and eating habits of the diabetic patient.
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