Ways & How

how to manage diabetes with diet

how to manage diabetes with diet

Diabetes is a medical condition that is increasingly becoming common. Though diabetes is irreversible, a diabetic person can live a full and productive life if he knows how to manage diabetes with diet and carefully adjust his lifestyle to suit his body’s requirements. Discipline, knowledge and vigilance are of prime importance to keep the symptoms at bay. With the help of a good health care provider and a dietician, a diabetic person can find a way to eat healthily, keep his weight and blood sugar under control, and enhance his quality of life. Managing blood sugar requires a diet that is low in fat and calories, high in nutrients, with emphasis on certain fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Following such a diet plan is not only beneficial for diabetics, but is a healthy option for everyone, as well.

  1. What to eat: healthy carbohydrates, high-fiber foods, heart-friendly fish and “good fats.” Carbohydrates are broken down by the body and converted to glucose for the body’s use. Eat more of those that come from fruits, vegetables, beans and legumes, whole grains and low-fat dairy products.

    Foods with high fiber aid in controlling blood sugar, reducing risk of heart failure and aid in digestion; these include fruits; vegetables, especially green, leafy ones; legumes; and whole-wheat flour. Heart-friendly fish, on the other hand, is advisable as an alternative to meat because it has less fat and cholesterol. Some fish (such as salmon and herring) are high in omega-3 fatty acids that improve heart health. Since the body can also use a little fat, eat foods that are low in mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fats, but use sparingly, since any kind of fat is high in calories. The same goes for canola and olive oil, which are low in cholesterol but still fat.

  2. Avoid eating: fats, especially saturated and trans fats. Saturated fats are found in meat, dairy and eggs; fried versions of these are worse. Trans fats are unsaturated fats, but what makes them bad for you is that they raise the bad cholesterol levels (LDL) while lowering good cholesterol (HDL).

    Trans fat is usually found in processed snacks, such as chips and fries; baked goods like cookies, cakes, donuts; and margarine and shortening. Aside from fat, watch out for your cholesterol intake, which, together with diabetes, further increases your risk of cardiovascular disease. Lastly, minimize your intake of sodium. All these foods worsen diabetes and should be minimized, if not completely avoided altogether. Some diabetics who made drastic dietary changes developed new appreciation for the natural flavor and textural variety of vegetables and fruits, and learned to enhance the taste of food with spices and herbs instead of salt and seasoning.

  3. Put it together. Given the range of what is and what’s not acceptable for you, create a diet or meal plan with your dietitian. Watch your carbohydrates, caloric and glycemic intake. In time you will get used to it and replace unhealthy eating habits with healthy ones.

Books, the Internet, your dietician and your own preferences will enable you to create a meal plan that suits your health requirements and your palate. Keep an open mind and remember to manage your condition by controlling what you eat, instead of letting it eat at you. You will find out that being armed with the information of how to manage diabetes with diet will make it easier to manage your condition and live with it.


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