Diabetes patients do not need a special diet. A healthy balanced diet can help to keep blood sugar level in good control and maintain overall health.
Do I need to watch my eating habits?
It is essential for diabetics to watch what they eat. Carbohydrates (e.g. bread, rice, noodles, cereals, potato, yam, pumpkin, fruits, sugar, etc) should be taken in appropriate amounts for optimal blood sugar control and adequate nutrients intake. Do not avoid them completely as they provide vitamins, minerals and fibre which are vital for good health.
Can I consume sugar?
It was once a common belief that sugar caused a sudden rise in a person’s blood sugar level. However, new research suggests that this is not the case. Table sugar is thus no longer forbidden for diabetics. Nevertheless, sugar or sugary food and drinks must be “counted” as part of your “carbohydrate allowance” and not simply added as extras. It is advisable to consult your dietitian if you want to include them as part of your diet.
Do I need a Food Plan?
What you eat, how much you eat, and when you eat will affect your blood glucose level. A Food Plan shows the amount and types of food to eat during each meal / snack. Consult a dietitian to help you in planning a suitable diet according to your body needs, daily schedule and diabetes medication. Your Food Plan can comprise the food that you normally eat (including your favourite food).
Benefits of a Food Plan
- Keeps your blood glucose level within your target range to prevent complications.
- Maintains a healthy blood cholesterol level.
- Achieves and maintains a reasonable body weight.
- Improves your health.
What should I eat?
Your recommended diet should comprise the following:
- Adequate in starch (rice, bread, noodles, cereals)
- High in fibre (vegetables, fruits, whole grains)
- Moderate in protein (meat, fish, chicken, milk, bean products)
- Low in fats, oil, sugar and salt
Healthy eating complemented with regular exercise will help you to lose excess weight which can help the insulin in your body to function effectively. Your body cells will then be able to use glucose better, resulting in a lower blood glucose level. So follow your Food Plan and test your blood glucose. By keeping accurate food and blood glucose records, you can help yourself and your doctor, nurse and dietitian to understand your condition better.