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Diet and Diabetes

About Miss Noreen Aslam

Diet is a vital component in overall diabetes control program. Your diabetes educator, nutritionist and doctor will develop a personal meal plan to help you attain appropriate blood sugar (glucose) and blood fat (cholesterol & triglyceride) levels.

If you have
non-insulin dependent diabetes, sticking to your meal plan helps you to achieve and maintain your correct weight and balances the foods you eat with the insulin your body produces.

If you have insulin dependent diabetes, you must stick to your meal plan to ensure a balance between injected insulin and the
foods you eat.

The Diabetic diet
Diabetic diet in a well-balanced meal plan tailored to individuals needs, tastes, activity level and life style. Patient may need to learn more about foods and they have to make some changes in their eating habits. The better one understands the diet, the more flexibility could be enjoyed.
Your Nutritionist is there to get you started on your way to good nutrition and better health. He/She can help you tailor favourite recipes to fit your prescribed meal plan. Diabetics dietary needs are not like anyone else's. Thats why your Nutritionist's help is so important.

Basic Nutrition for people with Diabetes
Although food contains many nutrients, it is easy to categorize them in three groups:



Used as


breads, cereals, vegetables, fruits.

fuel for energy


poultry, meat, fish.

growth, maintenance


oils, margarines, butter.

fuel for energy

Your meal plan will include carbohydrates, proteins and fats in amounts that will promote good diabetes control while providing
adequate food for energy and building and repairing your body.

A calorie is a unit used to express the energy-producing content of foods. Your Nutritionist will determine how many calories you need every day and how they should be divided among types of food by considering your height, weight, age, activity level, growth needs, metabolism and general life style. e.g. an active young person of normal weight needs more calories than an inactive older person or an overweight person.
Remember, if you eat more calories than you need to produce energy, the excess calories are stored as body fat.

If you are overweight, losing weight is your primary goal. You can lose weight by eating fewer calories than your body needs for your usual activity level and by increasing your exercise.
To achieve your ideal weight, you have to develop good eating habits, and to maintain that weight you must continue those habits.
Be realistic. Making a big change in your life takes time. It might help to keep a record of your weight each week, so you know when you are making progress and when you are not.

Guidelines for healthier eating
There are some very simple things you can do every day to make sticking to your diet easier:

* Plan your meals so that you eat healthy food not just whatever is easiest.
* Think before you eat instead of raiding the refrigerator every time you feel hungry.
* Use a smaller plate, so that you can't heap on much more than you really want or need.
* Chew slowly and completely, savoring every mouthful, instead of packing in as much as you can and as quickly as you can.

The following guidelines are a little more complicated but well worth the effort:

Eat less fat
* Cut down on meats. Eat more fish and poultry. When you do eat meat, choose the leanest cuts.
* Roast, bake or broil instead of frying. Trim the fat off meat and skin off poultry and avoid adding fat in cooking.
* Eliminate or cut down high fat foods like butter, margarines and salad dressings.
* Eat less ice cream & cheese and drink skimmed or low-fat milk instead of whole milk.

Increase fiber
* Switch to whole grain breads & cereals.
* Eat more vegetables -- raw & cooked. Instead of fruit juice, eat fresh, whole fruit.
* Sample high-fiber foods that maybe new to you like bran, brown rice and dried beans, peas and lentils.
Fiber (roughage) relieves constipation, lowers blood cholesterol levels and apparently reduces carbohydrate induced elevations of blood sugar.

Reduce Sodium
* Don't add salt in cooking and try not to put salt on your food at the table.
* Cut down on high-salt foods like canned soups and pickles.
* Eat fewer convenient foods and try to avoid fast-food restaurants. Even when they don't taste salty, these foods are often
loaded with sodium.

Reduce Sugar
* Don't eat table sugar.
* Avoid honey, syrup, jam, jelly, candy, sweet rolls, regular gelatin, cake with icing and pie. Instead of food canned in syrup, choose fresh fruits or fruits canned in natural juice or water.
* Know your sweeteners. There are two types of sweeteners in the market: those than contain calories and those that don't. Sweetener with calories, such as fructose, sorbitol and mannitol can cause cramping and diarrhea when used in large amounts. And these sweeteners have calories which do add up. Sweeteners without calories include saccharin and aspartame and may be used in moderation.

Pakistan Dietetic & Nutrition Association
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DIET and,




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