- by Manipal Hospitals
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- Mar 21 2017
What Should Be A Type 1 Diabetes Diet?
Diabetes is a medical condition in which sugar or glucose, levels build up in your bloodstream. There’s not enough insulin to move the sugar into your cells, which are where the sugar is used for energy. This causes your body to rely on alternative energy sources in your tissues, muscles, and organs.
Type 1 diabetes is a chronic disease. In type 1 diabetes, the cells in the pancreas that make insulin are destroyed, and the body is unable to make insulin. While the exact cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown, it is thought to be an autoimmune response; something, such as a virus, triggers the body’s immune system to create an antibody that kills the cells in the pancreas responsible for making insulin.
Diet is an important tool to keep your heart healthy and blood sugar levels within a safe and healthy range. It doesn’t have to be complicated or unpleasant. The diet recommended for people with type 2 diabetes is the same diet just about everyone should follow.
Given below are few examples of foods, a type 1 diabetic patient should consume:
Choose fresh fruits; especially opt for citrus fruits such as oranges and grape fruits when possible. Fruits are the natural sources of carbohydrates.
Starch is the form of sugar which is found in the commonly consumed vegetables such as potatoes, corn, peas, etc. It is not bad to consume starchy vegetables but due to their high carbohydrate content, one must limit their intake.
Go for vegetables rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber but low in carbohydrate such as green leafy vegetables, asparagus, beetroots, carrots, tomatoes, cucumber, onions. It is good to choose fresh vegetables without adding salt or sauce.
Whole grains are converted to sugar, but they are packed with nutrition and extra fiber. Consume brown rice, whole grain bread, cereals which are the great sources of whole grains.
Consume adequate amounts of protein-rich foods which include beans, meat, eggs, etc. They don’t raise your blood sugar levels significantly which a boon for diabetic patients.
What is Carbohydrate Counting?
Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for our bodies. They increase the blood sugar levels much faster than any other food. Therefore, counting the carbohydrates in your food plays a significant role in balancing the insulin dose you should administer along with the food. You can work together with your dietician or your physician to know the amount of carbohydrates you should consume. Either get the number from the food labels, or through specific mobile applications, etc. to count the carbs in your food.
How much High-fat meal can a diabetic patient consume?
Foods high in fats may be taken only occasionally while monitoring the blood glucose levels closely. High-fat meals break down slowly so it can lead to a rise in the blood glucose levels after several hours of consuming such foods.
What should I Avoid?
Refined carbohydrates are not good for diabetic patients. White rice, white bread, etc. contain refined carbohydrates and should be avoided.
Avoid foods containing trans fat and saturated fats such as red meats, cheese, butter, margarine, etc. This helps to manage the cholesterol levels in the blood thereby reducing the risk of heart diseases, stroke, etc.
Take away point: Focus on nutritious foods containing adequate amounts of vitamins, minerals, and cut down food high in fats, carbohydrates and sugars.
When to eat?
It is equally important to know when to eat along with what to eat. Eat smaller portions of food, multiple times in a day, to prevent your glucose levels from spiking. If you have to do an intense exercise, measure your glucose levels before and after exercising. This gives you an idea about how much you should eat to maintain the glucose levels normal.
What if I cannot follow the diet as recommended?
If you are not sincerely following the diet as recommended by your physician, it may lead to uncontrolled diabetes. This is higher in those patients who do not exercise or take a proper therapy. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to the below complications:
- High BP and the associated risk of heart diseases,
- Vision problems,
- Skin infections,
- Kidney and nerve damage.
A right diet has both immediate and long-term effects in type I diabetes patients. Be careful while making healthy food choices and be consistent in having them. Doing this, you can control your sugar levels to not only manage type I diabetes but also to reduce your chances of getting the related problems. Follow the dietary guidelines to improve your overall health.
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