Diet and diabetes
Diet is extremely important for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes and the chances are that you will have to make changes to your diet if you have been diagnosed with diabetes. Diabetes is related to the levels of glucose in your blood so it is imperative that you eat the right foods at the right times to stop your levels getting too high or too low. Healthy eating is beneficial for all aspects of your health and will help to decrease the risk of you developing serious health conditions, as well as helping to control your diabetes.
Diet and diabetes
Steps to follow for eating well include:
- Eat 3 meals a day (do not skip meals)
- Cut down on fats
- Include starchy carbohydrates
- Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables - aim for at least 5 portions per day; this can include soups, sauces, juices and smoothies, as well as individual portions
- Include pulses in your diet
- Reduce salt in your diet
- Eat plenty of oily fish
- Control your sugar intake
- Don’t use diabetic foods - they are not necessary and often expensive
- Drink only in moderation
If you follow these simple guidelines and take your medication as advised, you should be able to control your blood sugar levels. Your care team will provide you with information about diet, including recipes and fact sheets and you can always ask for help if you are not sure about the kinds of foods you should be eating. It is beneficial to prepare home-cooked food, as you can control the amount of salt and sugar you add.
Many shops stock diabetic foods but Diabetes UK advises against using these foods, as they have no real benefits to diabetics and are expensive. Eating a healthy and balanced diet is sufficient.
If you have been advised to lose weight because you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you will be told to keep a healthy diet and do more exercise. Your diet should include plenty of fruit and vegetables, as well as complex carbohydrates, protein and fish. You should also cut down on salt, processed foods and fare that has high levels of saturated fat. You may be advised to cut your calories slightly for a period of time, which may sound like hard work but if you eat the right foods you will find that you can actually eat a lot more than you thought.
If you are travelling or planning to go out for the day, it is a good idea to take snacks or a packed lunch with you, as this will ensure that you do not go too long without eating. It is also a good idea to take an insulin shot with you wherever you go, just in case.