Diabetes is a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood sugar levels. This may occur because the body doesn’t produce enough insulin, or because the body cells simply do not respond to normally produced insulin. Whatever is the case behind one’s diabetic symptoms, the treatment of the disease is the same, and it generally involves a lot of lifestyle and diet modifications. The main treatment goal is to achieve normal blood glucose levels by taking insulin or oral medications, and coordinating healthy and well balanced diet with the rest of the treatment program. Another important goal is to achieve reasonable body weight by eating healthy and nutritious diet.
Diabetes Dietary Guidelines
There is no single diabetes diet that suits all the patients equally. However, certain dietary guidelines certainly do exist, and they are equally important even for the rest of the healthy population.
One of the principles of healthy diet is to eat carbohydrates from whole grains, nuts, fruits, vegetables, along with the low-fat milk products. Around 70% of total calorie intake should come from carbohydrates and monounsaturated fats. Saturated fats, such as those found in animal products, and trans fats, from margarines and fast foods, should be avoided. When it comes to fats, one should eat monounsaturated fats, found in extra virgin olive oil and canola oil. Polyunsaturated oils such as sunflower or rapeseed oil are also welcome in the diet.
It is also important to limit protein intake to 15% (up to maximum 20%) of total calories. One should always choose proteins from soy, poultry or lean meat, and avoid fatty meats by any cost.
It is also important to drink alcohol in moderation and never on an empty stomach.
Dietary Approaches for Diabetes
The best way to compose a successful and healthy diet plan for patients with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes is to meet with a professional dietitian. This is very important since different patients need to have a different nutrient balance. Regulating diabetes is highly individual and the best method depends on many different factors. A simple heart-healthy diet should probably work for the most of the patients. This may be either high-carbohydrate / high-fiber diet, a low fat diet, or a weight management diet.
It is also important to monitor the blood glucose levels carefully and once or twice a day. The goal is to reach pre-meal glucose levels of between 80 and 120 mg/dL, and bedtime blood sugar levels of between 100 and 140 mg/dL.