Managing a diabetic diet

For anyone who is managing a diabetic diet - whether for themselves or someone else - it is essential to learn as much as possible about this dangerous condition and how it can be controlled and treated.

As most people know, the key part of a diabetic diet is controlling the flow of sugar into your blood, and thus the insulin that your body produces. This is true whichever type of diabetes you have.

However, with growing numbers of people being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, understanding how to manage a diabetic diet is becoming essential for more and more people. Contrary to popular belief, sugar intake does not directly cause diabetes - it is now accepted that a diet high in calories, being overweight, and an inactive lifestyle are the main risk factors for Type 2 diabetes.

Research has demonstrated that following a diabetic diet is the most effective way to control the symptoms of this illness and allow people to live a normal life. The key principals are quite straightforward, and will in fact help anyone to maintain a healthier lifestyle:

  • Eat regular meals :

    Maintaining a regular flow of sugar, without constant peaks and troughs, is essential. It is therefore recommended that you choose foods that release their nutrients slowly, such as lean forms of protein and whole grain carbs - these are the types of foods that are recommended in GI eating plans.
  • Cut down on high sugar foods :

    These, of course, do the opposite, and should be avoided. In addition, the excess calories that are contained in these foods will increase weight and are thus a risk factor for diabetes.
  • Reduce the amount of fat you eat :

    Excess weight is often associated with this disease, and reducing fat intake - especially hard fats from meat - is a proven way to manage cholesterol levels and lower your risk of heart disease.
  • Eat five portions of fruit and veg a day :

    These foods not only provide essential vitamins and minerals, they are also a vital source of fibre. The energy in fruits and vegetables are released slowly, helping to maintain constant levels of blood sugar.
  • Reduce salt intake :

    Everyone should be aiming to cut their salt intake. The first step is to stop adding it to your food. Then, look to reduce your consumption of salty foods such as processed meals and soups, crisps, salted nuts, bacon, cheese, pickles and smoked fish. As many high salt foods are also high in additives and fat, avoiding these foods will have a positive overall impact on your health.
  • Keep alcohol to moderate levels:

    Alcohol is essentially just liquid sugar, so should be taken in small quantities. Binge drinking or heavy intake of beer and spirits should be avoided - stick instead to a glass of wine with a meal.
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