Diet is a very important aspect of type 2 diabetes management and it is advised to regularly meet with a dietitian or a healthcare professional specializing in diabetes nutrition to make sure you are eating the right amount and type of macronutrients (i.e. carbohydrates, proteins and fats).
Planning your diet is very important in the prevention and management of diabetes. A useful tip to keep in mind about healthy eating is eating three meals a day at regular times; this will help your body to control the blood sugar levels. In between the three main meals you are advised to have one or two healthy snacks; do not skip breakfast under any circumstances. Eat slowly and stop eating when you feel that you are full. Limit sweets and sugars such as pop, candies, sweetened desserts and the use of supplementary sugars with artificial sweeteners. Limit food items that contain high amounts of fat and completely eliminate trans fat and saturated fat, eg: fast foods like fries, chips, pastries. Also consider limiting your salt intake.
The Glycemic Index (GI) is a scale that ranks carbohydrate rich foods by how much they can increase blood sugar levels compared to standard foods (white bread). Be aware of what you are eating. Consume food with a lower glycemic index. Food products with low GI will help you control your blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels, and also your appetite. This will result in the prevention of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Carbohydrate-rich foods such as vegetables (yams, sweet potatoes), many kinds of fruit and low-fat dairy products have a low GI (GI< 55).Barley, pasta, noodles, and legumes also have a low GI. Cereals with low GI include all bran and oat bran; among bakery products, pumpernickel and 100% stone ground whole wheat contain carbohydrates of a low glycemic index. Include a healthy protein in each meal, eg. fish, lean meat, skinless chicken and beans.
Plan your menu in advance; try your best to include more food items with a low glycemic index. Try to buy seasonal produce and pick the brightest, such as red pepper and green leafy vegetables that are high in nutrients. Consider healthy food when eating outside the home. Fulfill your tastes with choices high in fibre, containing vitamins and minerals, low in fat and salt, and with a moderate calorie content.
Reduce fat intake by adding foods containing “good” fat; monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats such as avocado, olives, walnut, pecans and almonds, and olive, peanut or canola oil that can help lower your cholesterol.
Alcohol affects your blood sugar level!
Alcohol can affect your blood sugar by preventing the liver from producing glucose; this can lead to hypoglycaemia after a bout of drinking. Regular beer can vary in its carbohydrate content from 10-15g per pint. Light beer has less than 10g of carbs per pint. Dry wines and champagnes have a lower carb levels than sweet and fortified wines. Usually, dry wine can have as low as 1-2g of carbohydrates. Spirits such as whiskey, gin, vodka, and rum are highly distilled and do not usually contain sugar.
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