Diabetes refers to a condition characterized by abnormally high blood glucose levels.
Glucose is obtained from carbohydrate containing foods such as breads, cereals and fruits. The hormone insulin allows the glucose from food to enter the body cells so that it can be used for energy. In the case of patients with Type 2 diabetes, the glucose tends to remain in the blood because the body is resisting the insulin and the pancreas is unable to secrete more insulin in response. It is important to control diabetes as it can lead to long term complications such as heart and kidney problems.
Being a diabetic does not mean that one has to avoid all carbohydrate containing foods.
Carbohydrates are important as they are our main source of energy. However, one should choose the right kind of carbohydrates. These are the low GI carbohydrates. GI referring to the glycaemic index is a way of ranking carbohydrate-containing foods (from 0-100) based on whether they raise blood sugar levels a lot, moderately or a little. Low GI carbohydrate foods get digested slowly in the blood and hence prevent ‘spikes’ in blood sugar levels.
In addition, because they get absorbed slowly, they keep you full for longer and therefore control your appetite. Examples of low GI carbohydrates include wholegrain breads and cereals, oats and fruits.
On the other hand, foods with a high GI value get absorbed very quickly and cause an instant rise in the blood sugar levels. Examples of high GI carbohydrates refer to refined foods such as white bread, cakes, pastries and fruit juice.
In addition to consuming low GI carbohydrates, it is important to eat regular meals and spread out the carbohydrate containing foods across the meals. It is a good idea to have about 5-6 small meals, with 3 servings of carbohydrates with the main meals and one serving with snacks. This will help prevent the spikes and dips in the blood sugar levels as well as influence weight management. One serving of a carbohydrate is 15g. An example is a serving of a carbohydrate includes 1 slice of bread or ½ cup of cooked pasta or rice.
Regardless of the health condition, a healthy diet is one which comprises of wholegrain breads and cereals, vegetables, adequate protein, low fat dairy, lean meat and healthy fats such avocado and nuts.
Also, physical exercise is essential as evidence suggests that it improves insulin sensitivity and reduces body fat which can reduce insulin resistance.
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This article was written by our dietitian and nutritionist Juhi Bhambhaney. If you have any questions regarding health and nutrition, make an appointment with one of our dietitians. We‘ll provide you with a simple and effective routine targeted to your concerns. Contact us today.