What foods can I eat if I have diabetes?

You may worry that having diabetes means going without foods you enjoy. The good news is that you can still eat your favorite foods, but you might need to eat smaller portions or enjoy them less often. Your health care team will help create a diabetes meal plan for you that meets your needs and likes.

The key to eating with diabetes is to eat a variety of healthy foods from all food groups, in the amounts your meal plan outlines.

The food groups are

  • vegetables
  • Nonstarchy: includes broccoli, carrots, greens, peppers, and tomatoes
  • Protein
  • Starchy: includes potatoes, corn, and green peas
  • Lean meat
  • Fruits—includes oranges, melon, berries, apples, bananas, and grapes
  • Fish
  • Chicken or turkey without the skin
  • Eggs
  • Dried beans and certain peas, such as chickpeas and split peas
  • Yogurt
  • Meat substitutes, such as tofu
  • Cheese
  • Dairy—nonfat or low fat
  • Nuts and peanuts
  • Milk or lactose-free milk if you have lactose intolerance
  • Grains—at least half of your grains for the day should be whole grains includes wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley, and quinoa
    Examples: bread, pasta, cereal, and tortillas

Physical Activity

Fight Diabetes with Physical Activity
Exercise may delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes and improve diabetes control. Whether you are at risk for diabetes or are looking for ways to help keep your blood sugar levels in check, get moving!

Physical Activity:
Raises your heart rate. Whether by walking briskly, jogging, bicycling or swimming, being active gets your heart pumping, which helps your body use insulin more effectively.

Improves blood circulation. Exercise also gets the blood to all organs, especially the kidneys, brain, heart and eyes, which can be injured by poor diabetes management.

Decreases risk of heart disease. Regular activity can help reduce your risk of heart disease by playing a role in lowering blood pressure and may improve high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels.

Reduces stress. Stress can increase your risk for developing diabetes. And, for people with diabetes, stress can make it harder to manage the condition.

Lowers blood sugar and A1c. Exercising when you have diabetes can lower blood sugar, even hours later, and help reduce A1c levels over time. It also may improve protein and fat metabolism, slowing organ damage

Myths and Facts

Myth: I will likely develop diabetes because I am overweight.

Fact: It is true that excess weight increases your chance of having diabetes. However, many people who are overweight or obese never develop diabetes. And people who are normal weight or only a little overweight do develop diabetes. Your best bet is to take steps to lower your risk by using nutritional changes and physical activity to lose excess weight.

Myth: I eat a lot of sugar, so I am worried I’ll get diabetes.

Fact: Eating sugar does not cause diabetes. But you should still cut back on sweets and sugary beverages.

It’s not surprising that people get confused about whether sugar causes diabetes. This confusion may come from the fact that when you eat food, it is converted into a sugar called glucose. Glucose, also called blood sugar, is a source of energy for the body. Insulin moves glucose from the blood into the cells so it can be used for energy. With diabetes, the body does not make enough insulin, or the body does not use insulin well. As a result the extra sugar stays in the blood, so the blood glucose (blood sugar) level increases.

For people who do not have diabetes, the main problem with eating a lot of sugar and drinking sugar-sweetened beverages is that it can make you overweight. And being overweight does increase your risk for diabetes.

Myth: I was told I have diabetes, so now I’ll have to eat a special diet.

Fact: People with diabetes eat the same foods that everyone eats. In fact, Doctors no longer recommends specific amounts of carbohydrate, fat, or protein to eat. But they do suggest that people with diabetes get their carbohydrates from vegetables, whole grains, fruits, and legumes. Avoid foods that are high in fat, sodium, and sugar. These recommendations are similar to what everyone should be eating.

If you have diabetes, work with your health care provider to develop a meal plan that works best for you and that you will be able to follow consistently over time. A healthy and balanced meal plan with a healthy lifestyle will help you manage diabetes

Myth: Patients on Insulin Have More Serious Diabetes Than Those on Oral Medications

Fact: Patients with type 1 diabetes are not able to produce insulin due to an immune disorder affecting the pancreas. Therefore, oral medications that stimulate the production of insulin by the pancreas are not suitable. Such patients require insulin injections to control their blood glucose level.

For patients with type 2 diabetes, initial treatment may involve only oral medications or insulin injections. Some patients may require a combination of both treatments to achieve optimal control of their blood glucose levels.

Myth: I have borderline diabetes, so I don’t need to worry.

Fact: Prediabetes is the term used for those whose blood sugar levels are not in the diabetes range but are too high to be called normal. Prediabetes means that you are at high risk for developing diabetes within 10 years. You may be able to lower your blood sugar to normal levels by lowering your body weight and exercising 150 minutes a week.

Myth :Diabetes Can be Cured

Fact : Diabetes is a chronic disease with no cure. However, the condition can be managed to prevent complications from arising.

Myth: Insulin causes weight gain.

Fact: It is true that many patients who begin insulin gain weight. Insulin helps your body use food more efficiently. If this is a concern, ask for a referral to a dietitian before you start insulin.

Myth: Insulin causes hypoglycemia.
Fact: It is true that insulin can cause a low blood glucose reaction. However, with the newer or long-acting insulins, hypoglycemia is less likely to occur. And it is rare for people with type 2 diabetes to pass out from low blood glucose. You can learn how to prevent, recognize, and treat hypoglycemia and thus avoid severe insulin reactions.

Myth: Insulin is addictive.
Fact: You cannot get addicted to insulin. Insulin is a natural substance your body needs. If you are concerned that people who may see you give your insulin shot in a public place will think you are using illegal drugs, ask your provider if an insulin pen would work for you.

Myth: Insulin injections are painful.
Fact: Although no one likes shots, most people are surprised by how little an insulin injection hurts. Insulin does not “sting” going in, and the needles are very small and thin. Most people find that it is less painful than a finger stick to monitor their blood glucose level.

Insulin for Diabetes

Insulin is a hormone our body makes to keep our blood glucose levels within the normal range. It is made by beta cells in the pancreas. Insulin’s main job is to move glucose from our bloodstream into the body’s cells to make energy. If you don’t have enough insulin, glucose builds up in your bloodstream rather than getting into your cells to provide energy.

With type 1 diabetes, the body does not make any insulin and therefore insulin has to be injected regularly every day to stay alive. With type 2 diabetes, the body does not make enough insulin, or the insulin that is made does not work well. Insulin injections are sometimes needed to manage blood glucose levels.

Starting on Insulin

People with type 1 diabetes must inject insulin every day, often up to 4 or 5 times per day. They may use a pump to deliver insulin which means they insert a new cannula (very fine plastic tube) under the skin every 2 to 3 days. Sometimes, people with type 2 diabetes also need to begin using insulin when diet, physical activity and tablets no longer effectively control their blood glucose levels.

Having to start injecting insulin can be frightening. However, injecting insulin is much easier than most people imagine. There are different devices that can be used to make insulin delivery easy. Pen needles are very fine and so are cannulas. Often people needing insulin feel much better once they start having insulin.

If you need to start using insulin, your doctor or diabetes nurse educator can help with education and support. They will teach you about:

  • The type and action of your insulin
  • How, where and when to inject insulin
  • How to rotate injection sites
  • Where to get your insulin and how to store it safely
  • How to manage low blood glucose
  • How to keep a record of your blood glucose levels and insulin doses
  • Who will help you to adjust insulin doses.

The 5 types of insulin are:

  • Rapid-acting insulin
  • Short-acting insulin
  • Intermediate-acting insulin
  • Mixed insulin
  • Long-acting insulin

Insulin injection sites

Insulin is injected through the skin into the fatty tissue known as the subcutaneous layer. It shouldn’t go into muscle or directly into the blood, as this changes how quickly the insulin is absorbed and works.

Absorption of insulin varies depending on where in the body it is injected. The abdomen absorbs insulin the fastest and is used by most people. The upper arms, buttocks and thighs have a slower absorption rate and can also be used.

What is SMBG and Importance in Glycemic control

Self monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) is very crucial for those diabetics who are on insulin or on certain oral anti-diabetic drugs which can cause hypoglycemia. To achieve best glycemic control it is essential to know how your daily blood glucose levels are fluctuating in entire day.

Normally we check fasting and post prandial (1.5 hr ) blood sugar levels in lab for routine follow up. There is bright chance of sugar excursions in the other post meal readings which gets unnoticed. Even in case of HbA1c or Glycated hemoglobin test we get an average result of blood glucose of last 3 months.To achieve best blood glycemic control it is important to control blood sugar levels within normal limits during entire day and not just fasting or post breakfast levels.

Tests

  • Routine Blood investigation
  • FBS
  • PPBS
  • HBA1C
  • LIPIDPROFILE
  • BLOOY UREA
  • SERUM CREATININE
  • EGFR
  • MICROALBUMINURIA
  • LIVER FUNCTION TESTS
  • THYROID PROFILE
  • SERUM URIACID
  • SERUM CALCIUM
  • COMPLETE BLOOD PICTURE
  • COMPLETE URINE EXAMINATION

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