From an uncommon condition to a next-generation epidemic, diabetes has evolved in the past few decades to affect more than 400 million people around the world. Diabetes is not just a disease by itself, but it is also a major cause of a number of other conditions, including blindness, heart stroke, kidney failure and amputation.
A majority of diabetics believe that they need to rely on medicines for entire their life to manage the condition. However, such patients must know that this is not entirely true. Diet plays an important role in the management of diabetes and so does a change in lifestyle.
For example, food and drinks rich in carbohydrates, fats, sugar and sodium are considered evil for diabetes patients as they can directly contribute to hypertension, weight gain and excessive cholesterol, which may lead to a heart disease.
MANAGING DIABETES THROUGH DIETARY CHANGES
Eating and avoiding the right kind of food can help control diabetes. The following section talks about the worst and the best food choices that a diabetic can make according to different categories of food items:
There are a lot of options available for people when it comes to beverages, however, most of them are loaded with salt, sugar and a lot of calories. These kinds of drinks are highly unsuitable for diabetics. Some of these beverages include energy drinks, sodas, fruit juices, chocolate drinks, ice teas and sweetened coffee.
Diabetics should instead rely on plain or flavoured water, unsweetened lemon tea, unsweetened black coffee or a little wine.
An excess of fats makes people gain weight, which makes it harder to control diabetes. Therefore, diabetics should stay away from products that contain artificial fats, saturated fats and trans fats such as butter, fried foods, cheese and packaged meals.
Some amount of monounsaturated fat is actually important for protection against heart diseases. This fat can be derived from food items that contain natural fats and oils such as nuts (almonds and walnuts), avocados, olive oil, salmon and seeds.
Diabetics should avoid consuming whole milk as it contains a huge amount of fat, which may lead to weight gain over a period of time. In addition, diabetes patients should avoid consuming ice cream, yogurt and cottage cheese lavishly.
It is understandable that people cannot eliminate dairy completely from their lives. Diabetics can keep their dairy consumptions low in fat by switching to low-fat yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese and skimmed milk.
GRAINS AND CEREALS
Processed or refined grains such as white flour and white rice are typically considered bad for diabetics. In addition, such people should avoid white bread, fried tortillas and sugary cereals.
Diabetics should incorporate whole grains such as brown rice and quinoa in their daily diet. Replacing white bread with whole grain bread or fibre rich cereals for breakfast not only helps improve digestive health, but also helps control blood sugar levels.
FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
Diabetics should completely avoid dried fruits, fruit juices and canned fruit dipped in syrup as these have very high sugar content. The nutritional value of such products is quite low when compared to the nutritional value of the actual fruit. In addition, diabetics should refrain from consuming a large portion of vegetables that are rich in carbohydrates such as corn and potatoes.
Diabetics should instead have fruits in its raw form to satisfy their sweet tooth. Raspberries, strawberries and blueberries are a great option, since these are enriched with antioxidants and helps keep the person full for a longer duration of time. When it comes to vegetables, diabetics can have broccoli, green leafy vegetables, carrots and cauliflower since these are low in starch.
Processed food items such as hot dogs, fried meats, tofu and fish, pork, bacon and cheese are great sources of protein, however, they contain a huge amount of salts. This is the reason why these are considered as one of the worst diets for diabetics.
Diabetics should restrict themselves to plant-based sources of proteins such as nuts and beans, in addition to lean protein sources that contain considerably less amount of saturated fats such as salmon, fish and turkey.