It’s a sweet world
November 15 is World Diabetes Day. It's not easy being a diabetic, particularly type 1. I feel very sorry, especially for the type 1 diabetic kids, who come to the clinic. Most of them do not even have a family history of diabetes. Very often, it’s high fever or a viral infection that has led to diabetes. These are cases of the pancreas producing insufficient or no insulin.
No chocolates..no mangoes
There is no other option but to put them on insulin. I feel bad to restrict their diet and ask them to avoid rice, chocolates, mangoes, bananas, chickoo, sweets, pizza, burger, biscuits, pastries and cookies; the stuff most kids thrive on.
Then comes the type 2 diabetic, a victim of his own misdoings. Basically, he's someone who has a bad lifestyle. He could be obese, fat or overweight, lazy, a couch potato, a workaholic, compulsive eater, loves sweets and fried stuff, French fries, colas, biryani, fried rice and enjoys alcohol and cigarettes and does not want to give them up, not even at the cost of high sugar levels. Though this is not a very nice situation to be in, it's definitely better than the type 1 diabetic.
Can be reversed
Type 2 diabetes can be controlled and even reversed in the early stages with the proper combination of diet and exercise. Yes, medication hasn't come into the picture, yet. If type 2 is neglected in the early stages, it progresses to a stage where medication is unavoidable. If the sugar level is high, fluctuating and uncontrollable, then insulin shots could be the only option.
So, how does one avoid or delay type 2 diabetes?
- Lead a very active life
- Adopt a healthy lifestyle
- Make sure you get proper rest and sleep
- It would be great if you could take up some form of exercise
- Avoid excess refined and processed foods like rava and maida
- Avoid excess bakery products like bread, toast, biscuits which contain Trans fats. Excess trans fats in the diet leads to insulin resistance, which could progress to diabetes
- Avoid fast food and junk foods which contain excess trans fats and saturated fats
- Avoid excess sweets
And what if someone turns a deaf ear to all this and reaches the pre-diabetic or diabetic stage?
I would hand out the same advice except that now the 'Avoid Excess' becomes 'Avoid'. So where do you want to see yourself? The choice is yours!
Some diet tips for diabetics
Diabetics are at risk of developing high blood pressure, a leading cause of heart disease. So decreasing salt intake can help to prevent or control blood pressure. The daily recommended value of salt intake is 1,500 mg.
Cooking tips to cut down on sodium
- Use homemade or unsalted butter
- Use less cheese in your recipes
- Use herbs, garlic, seasonings and spices instead of salt
- Avoid adding too much of sauces
- Drain out the brine solution if you are using tinned fish
- Avoid eating dried fish, pickles, chutneys
- Use recipes that call for fresh ingredients
- Avoid processed, packaged foods. The more processing a food undergoes the more fibre it loses and more sodium it gains.
Diabetics are also at risk of increased cholesterol leading to heart diseases like arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis, thus increasing the risk of heart attack or stroke. So fat in the diet should be restricted. Diets high in fats can also impair insulin sensitivity.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
- Diabetes raises your risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
- in this, excess fat builds up in your liver even if you drink little or no alcohol
- this occurs in at least half of those with type 2 diabetes and close to half of those with type 1
- other conditions related to diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol and high BP, also raise your risk
- it often causes no symptoms but raises your risk of developing liver inflammation or cirrhosis
- it's also linked to an increased risk of liver cancer and heart disease
- so diabetics should keep their LDL or bad cholesterol and triglycerides in control
- avoid alcohol
- do your liver examination and regular follow-up blood tests to monitor its function
Some more diet tips for Diabetics
Blood Glucose Control reduces the risk of Diabetic complications
- Control portion size
- Don’t go Low-carb... go smart-carb
- Have adequate Protein
- Consume only half litre oil per person per month
- Change cooking oil every 3 months
- Eliminate saturated fats eat good fats like flaxseed and walnuts
- Reduce amount of salt in your food
- Have alcohol only if your sugar levels are controlled
- Avoid alcohol completely if you have Triglycerides with Diabetes
- Eat when you have alcohol
- Drink enough water
- It would be good to take care of vitamins and mineral intake for diabetics.
And the next important thing to do - exercise
- Exercise acts like insulin
- Even 30 minutes of exercise three or four times a week helps
- Building muscle helps. Muscles use up more glucose
- Blood sugar level drops during exercise and for some time afterwards
- Eat before workout, test blood sugar or lower the insulin dose during workouts under doctor supervision
- Wear comfortable and clean footwear. Change your socks every day
- Time of workout should preferably remain the same
- Have pre and post workout meals
For some more, go to my talk on youtube, Sweet Talk: Diet for diabetics