Diet Management During Diabetes
Most of the food items contain carbohydrate, protein and fat. Cereals are rich in carbohydrate, lentils, lean meat, chicken and fish are rich in protein while oils, nuts and milk creams are rich in fat. Fat foods are high in calories; 1g of it provides 9 calories, while 1g carbohydrate or 1g protein gives only 4 calories.
Carbohydrate is easily digested than fat and protein. The rise in blood glucose after a meal is due to absorption of glucose from a carbohydrate digestion and increase in production of glucose by liver. Sucrose (cane sugar), sweets and syrups cause a rapid rise in blood glucose than whole cereals like finger millet and wheat products.
In people with no diabetes, the rise in blood glucose after a meal comes down to the pre-meal level with in 2 hrs. In diabetes, the rise in blood glucose after a meal is not only higher but the fall to pre-meal level is slower (3-4 hrs). Therefore, snacks in between meals or frequent meals at short intervals tend to cause progressive increase in blood glucose in people with diabetes.
Glucose is constantly needed to provide ready energy for the proper functioning of brain, heart, kidneys, liver and blood cells. When glucose is not available from ingested food, our liver produces from its store of carbohydrate (glycocen) and body stores of fats and proteins. The liver produces about 0.1058 oz of glucose/lbs body weight in a day. For example the liver of a man or woman weighing 154 lbs produces 7.0547 oz of glucose in a day. The production of glucose by the liver is kept in a check by small amounts of insulin secreted by the pancreas.
These considerations and the modality of your treatment (tablets/insulin) are taken into account for formulating your diet management during diabetes and meal timings. The dietician would give your information on your diet.
The general guidelines on diet are:
In a typical day’s meals and snacks, you should have 1500-1800 calories with – 60% contribution from the carbohydrate, 20% from fat and 20% from proteins. You may need extra weight reduction. If you are on calorie-restricted diet, make sure to take 50-60% of calories as complex carbohydrate (whole cereals) to prevent any feeling of weakness.
- You should eat a variety of food items everyday. Do not skip meals. Avoid snacks, unless you are advised to (example during insulin treatment). Don’t over eat.
- Eat fruits and vegetables. Use less oil in cooking. Avoid fried foods, milk cream or food items cooked in coconut milk.
- Avoid ready to eat food preparations, sweets and sugary drinks (canned beverages) that provide empty calories (no vitamin or essential minerals).
- Keep a regular check on your weight – maintain it within the estimated limit.
- Check your hemoglobin and proteins in blood samples at 6 months or 1 year’s interval, Suitable correction in diet format or supplementation may become necessary.
- Despite a good control of blood glucose, if your blood lipids are high, you will need lipid lowering drugs regularly. Some times your doctor may advice you lipid-lowering drugs from the beginning of your diabetes treatment.
- Match your mealtime to the form of insulin and insulin injection schedules as explained by your doctor or the diabetes nurse.