Friday, August 24, 2012


diet for diabetics - what can you eat, if you are a diabetic patient?

Diabetic patients don't need a special diet, as you think. At least those who are not seriously affected by the disease don't have to. Usually diabetics can consume food that other people eat. What is important is that the food should be balanced and within the admissible caloric limits. The caloric limits should be equally distributed over breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The diabetic nutrition plan is a balanced diet that helps maintain normal weight appropriate to a person's age, sex and height, maintain blood sugar levels to a normal level and provides healthy feeling The nutrition plan can permit a patient to eat any food of his/her choice other than those containing glucose and sugar like honey and jaggery. These foods can be consumed once in a while but only after making necessary adjustments. One must also remember that over indulgence can create problem.

Diet for Insulin Patients : Even if a patient is on oral drugs or insulin, he/she should adhere to the recommended diet plan. Diet control is an important part of the disease management. In the absence of diet control, no amount of oral drug or insulin can be adequate. If the diet is controlled tightly, the insulin requirements could be brought down. Food control is very important especially if the patient has a history of cardiovascular disease.

Long-term Diet Control: Persistent high blood sugar levels can cause long term complications. Controlling diet reduces inflated blood sugar levels and it reduces the chances of complications. These patients are easily prone to high blood pressure and heart attacks. The only way out for such patients is to meticulously stick to their diet. These diets are low in sugar and fat content and help achieve ideal body weight and reduce obesity.

Flexibility of Diet Food:A diabetic can vary the type of food he/she eats, but the caloric content should strictly remain constant. The patient can do this by adopting food exchange system and intelligently using it to suit his/her unique needs.

Understanding Food Exchanges: It is food equivalents that are designed to facilitate variation in diet. Using these food exchanges a patient can make the diet flexible to match his/her taste. Food can be classified into groups. The groups are:

1. Fruits
2. Vegetables
3. Milk and Milk Products
4. Oils, Fats and Nuts
5. Cereals
6.Meat, Fish and Pulses

The same caloric value is contained in an unit of exchange within the group and thus it can be interchanged. For example, a single Chappati is equivalent to a small bowl of cooked rice in a cereal exchange. So if a person is permitted to eat two Chapaties for lunch, he / she can exchange it with 6 table spoon of cooked rice. In the same way foods can substituted in the other exchange groups. Exchanges can be done only within the same group.

The Frequency of Eating: A diabetic's eating frequency depends upon a number of factors - the type of diabetics, the treatment type, the physical activity and the age of the patient. The size and the timing of the meals depends on the regimen of treatment and on his/her life style. The doctor or a dietitian can give advice on these things. The patient should stick to these timings and size of meal strictly. It is very important for an insulin-dependent patient to adhere to the timing as the physician would have matched his/her food intake with the effect of insulin.

A Diabetic's Hunger: The question asked by many. If a diabetic feels hungry in spite of eating his/her permissible quota, the patient may consume low caloric foods called FREE FOODS. These foods provide a feeling of fullness. The free foods are :

1. Salads made of cabbage, onion, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, radish and capsicum
2. Sugarless coffee or tea without milk
3. Lemon juice without sugar
4. Soups

Diabetics and Alcohol: Again the most frequently asking question. Alcohol should be avoided if diabetes is not under control and if there are other complications. If it cannot be avoided then it is safer to consume hard liquors like rum, brandy, whiskey or gin avoiding beer or sweet wines. Alcohol should not be consumed on empty stomach and should be limited to two ounces a day.

When drinking a diabetic should eat salads and not the usual snacks. The caloric content of the salad, snack or drink should be adjusted with the day's diet.

Fasting For a Diabetic: The metabolism of the body is altered when a person fasts and this adversely affects the diabetic state. Patients should avoid total fasts. It would better if a patient fasts partially. It is important that a patient follows his/her doctor's advice on the amount and type of foods to be eaten during partial fasts.

Necessity of Diet Control: Eating a balanced diet is very important for any individual leave alone a diabetic. And it does not mean restricting food intake. The quantity of food and insulin should help a diabetic attains normal growth and development. Diet Control is important for all diabetic types:

1. Adhere to Doctor's advice
2. Control Diet
3. Diet rich in fiber is advisable
4. Take free foods if hungry after taking permissible food
5. Avoid fried and oily foods
6. The diet need not be same, follow food exchanges to bring variety
7. Alcohol should be avoided
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