According to the American Diabetes Association, 25.8 million Americans or more than eight percents of the population has diabetes. Most have type II diabetes, and they got that way because of their unhealthy lifestyle, particularly poor diet. It makes sense, then, to look for the right diet to make things manageable. Being diagnosed with diabetes is not the end of the world, it is just the end of your reckless eating habits.
What happens when you have diabetes ?
The food that we eat gets converted into energy via glucose, thanks to insulin, a hormone produced by our body. If people do not produce insulin, or their body has problem using insulin, they have diabetes. With type II diabetes, which is by far more common, glucose from food does not get converted into energy well enough, and instead starts accumulating in blood. Too much glucose in blood causes a range of serious problems: heart disease, stroke, damage to the eyes, nerves, kidneys and can even cost people limbs.
Diabetes diet basics
The trick about managing diabetes II is to keep your glucose at the normal level. Since you get your glucose through food, getting the right food is the secret. There are a few basic rules that all people with diabetes II need to follow:
Avoiding food high in sugar (read the labels!)
Eating five or six smaller portions, instead of few large ones
Counting your carbohydrates (45 grams max per meal)
Consuming fresh fruits and vegetables and whole-grain foods every day
Cutting on fat (eat instead foods rich in monounsaturated fats, such as peanuts and other nuts)
Eating less salt
Are there any no-nos?
With intelligent meal planning, you can eat practically anything when you have diabetes, as long as you keep in mind that sugar and carbohydrates in your nutrition should be limited. If you have a slice of chocolate cake, you should cut on pasta and breads in your other meals. The more you exercise, the more you are allowed to eat without disturbing your glucose balance.
There are many sources of great recipes for people with diabetes online, and most of your favorite recipes can be adapted as long as you keep the basic rules in mind. Ideally, after your doctor confirmed that you have diabetes II, talk to a dietitian and get some basic meal plans to get you started.
Be very careful with supplements. They contain active ingredients just like medicines. Consult your doctor before starting any new supplement. Your doctor will know if it might clash with some of your medicines, or it has bad reputation. You cannot believe everything you read. Good research will help you to find out if a supplement is harmless and effective, but consult your physician just in case.