DIET AND DIABETES: MYTHS AND FACTS
Diabetes, also known as diabetes mellitus is described as metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood glucose (blood sugar), either because insulin production is inadequate, or because the body’s cells do not respond properly to insulin.
Diabetes is categorised as a metabolism disorder. The food that is ingested is broken down into glucose which is a principle form of fuel for the body. When the food is digested the glucose makes its way into the blood stream. Cells use the glucose for energy and growth. However, for the glucose to be assimilated by the cells, insulin is needed. It is the pancreas that releases the insulin hormone. With the help of insulin the glucose enters the cells and as soon as it enters, the blood-glucose level drops. Diabetes occurs when there is too much glucose build up in the blood. This happens if the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or not at all or if the cells do not respond well to the insulin produced.
Diet is related to the kind of food intake a person has over the course of any period. It could be nutritional or not. Diet, in conjunction with healthy eating for diabetics, has to be carefully planned. Your consulting doctor and dietitian should be able to provide you with the appropriate diet depending on your specific needs.
A diet plan or diabetes food chart can be planned by keeping in mind the person’s individual requirements and other medical conditions. Every individual has a different calorie requirement which is based on several factors like age, sex, medical conditions, activity levels, metabolism etc.
What one has to be aware of are the different myths about diabetes diet plans that are floating around. Here we are dispelling some of the popular myths that plague Diabetics.
- Eating too much sugar can cause Diabetes. MYTH
Though, too much sugar is generally bad for health, it is when something disrupts the body’s ability to convert the food you eat into energy that diabetes begins.
- There are too many rules in a Diabetes diet. MYTH
It is not that difficult to workout a diet plan. It is mainly about keeping your blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible. You may need to make adjustments to what you eat however, the new way of eating may not need that many changes. Just bare in mind to choose the foods that work well with your activities and any medications that you take
- Carbohydrates are bad for Diabetes. MYTH
Remember carbs are the foundation of a healthy diet whether you have diabetes or not. So it isn’t bad for you but they do affect blood sugar levels and it would be advisable to keep track of how much you eat each day. Choose carbs that also have vitamins, minerals and fiber in them like whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
- Proteins are better than Carbohydrates for Diabetes. MYTH
You may be tempted to substitute carbs with protein as carbs affect blood sugar levels quickly but be careful in choosing the right kind of proteins. Proteins with more saturated fats can be harmful for your heart health.
- You’ll need to give up your favourite foods. MYTH
There is no reason to stop eating food that you love. However, you can probably change the way it is prepared. You could try baking rather than deep frying, try having smaller servings of your favourite foods, etc. Your dietitian can help you find ways to include your favourites into your diabetes meal.
Diet and Diabetes
What one should understand is that whether a person is diabetic or not, healthy eating habits need to be followed. A healthy diet, regardless of being diabetic or not, consists of 40 to 60% calories from carbohydrates, 20% from protein and 30% or less from fats. It should generally be low in cholesterol, low in salt and low in added sugar. If diabetes is a concern always consult a doctor or dietitian to determine the right nutritious diet for you.