Diabetes mellitus (DM), is commonly referred to as diabetes. It is a group of metabolic diseases in which there are high blood sugar levels over a prolonged period. Diabetes is caused due to two reasons:
- The pancreas was not producing enough insulin
- The cells of the body not responding properly to the insulin produced
The most common symptoms of untreated diabetes are weight loss and increased urination. It also make you feel increased thirst and increased hunger.
Symptoms may develop rapidly (in weeks or months) in type 1 diabetes, whereas they usually develop much more slowly and may be subtle or absent in type 2 diabetes.
Additionally, one can also experience blurry vision and headache. Fatigue, giddiness, palpitation, slow healing of cuts, and itchy skin are also its symptoms. Prolonged high blood glucose can cause glucose absorption in the lens of the eye. This leads to changes in its shape, resulting in vision changes or one can say impaired vision A number of skin rashes that can occur in diabetes are collectively known as diabetic dermadromes. In such cases, diabetologist refers the patient to a Dermatologist only.
Types of Diabetes
There are three main types of diabetes mellitus:
Type 1: This results from the pancreas‘ failure to produce enough insulin. This form was previously referred to as “insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus” (IDDM) or “juvenile diabetes”. It is apparently unknown in an exact manner what causes this type of diabetes. In general saying it is told to have been caused by genetic factors and damaged digestive system over a number of years from childhood which was unnoticed. Administration of insulin is essential for survival. Insulin therapy must be continued indefinitely and does not usually impair normal daily activities. People are usually trained to manage their diabetes independently. However, for some this can be challenging. Untreated, diabetes can cause many complications.
Type 2: This diabetes begins with insulin resistance, a condition in which cells fail to respond to insulin properly. As the disease progresses, a lack of insulin may also develop. This form was previously referred to as “noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus” (NIDDM) or “adult-onset diabetes”. Excessive body weight and ‘not enough exercise’ resulting in an accumulation of blood sugar are the primary causes of this diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is initially managed by increasing exercise and dietary changes. If blood sugar levels are not adequately lowered by these measures, medications such as metformin or insulin may be needed. In those on insulin, there is typically the requirement to routinely check blood sugar levels.
Gestational diabetes: This is the third main form and occurs when pregnant women without a previous history of diabetes. It develops a high blood sugar level.
Diet for Diabetes
It is very important to keep a close tab on the diet of a Diabetic, as even the smallest amount of glucose produced by the body can cause harmful effects. Below are a few tips that one should follow while selecting their everyday diet. These small steps can help alleviate the dangers that may lie ahead:
Choose high-fiber, slow-release carbs
It is important to learn to consume the Carbohydrates in a smart and moderate amount. The reason being that Carbohydrates have a bigger impact on the blood sugar levels—more so than fats and proteins.
In general, it’s best to limit highly refined carbohydrates like white bread, pasta, and rice, as well as soda, candy, and snack foods. One should rather focus on high-fiber complex carbohydrates—also known as slow-release carbs.
Slow-release carbs help keep blood sugar levels even. This is because they are digested more slowly, thus preventing your body from producing too much insulin in a duration shorter than it can be used. They also provide lasting energy and help you stay full longer.
Choose those sweets wisely
It is a common myth that eliminating sugar altogether is the solution for diabetes. But like most adults in the west, chances are you consume more sugar than is healthy. The key to having a successful diet is consuming sugars in moderate amounts. If you have diabetes, you can still enjoy a small serving of your favorite dessert now and then.
For those who have a sweet tooth, the thought of cutting back on sweets may sound almost as bad as cutting them out altogether.
It may not surprise you to learn that cravings do go away and preferences change while making conscious efforts to slowly reduce the sugar in the diet a little at a time. By doing this, you’ll give your taste buds time to adjust and you’ll be able to wean yourself off the craving for sweets.
You have developed a psyche for limiting the sugar content of the sweet foods that you used to love may seem too rich or too sweet. Now you’ll find yourself craving healthier options instead.
Choose fats wisely
Fats can be either helpful or harmful in your diet. It is medically proven that diabetic patients are at higher risk for heart disease, so it is, even more, important to be smart about fats. Unless higher calories took inside are burnt by workouts, fat from food is stored and pose a danger to the cardiac system. This is fit more for diabetics.
Some fats are unhealthy and others have enormous health benefits. Irrespective of this, all fats are high in calories, which makes it necessary to keep a tab on the portions of the fats included in the diet.
Eat regularly and keep a food diary
If you’re overweight, you may be encouraged to note that you only have to lose 7% of your body weight to cut your risk of diabetes in half.
It does not necessarily have to be a ritual to count your calories or starve yourself to achieve a loss of weight. According to medical research shows that the two most helpful strategies involve. They are following a regular and timely eating schedule and recording what you eat.
The Food to Include and Exclude
Beans are higher in fiber that helps you feel full, steady blood sugar, and even lower cholesterol.
They’re a not-too-shabby source of calcium, a mineral that research shows can help burn body fat. In ½ cup of white beans, you’ll get almost 100 mg of calcium—about 10% of your daily intake.
Beans also make an excellent protein source. Unlike other proteins Americans commonly eat (such as red meat), beans are low in saturated fat.
Dairy foods like milk, cottage cheese, and yogurt are a better source of calcium and vitamin D. a potent diabetes-quelling combination.
One study found that women who consumed more than 1,200 mg of calcium and more than 800 IU of vitamin D a day were 33% less likely to develop diabetes. The risk is more than those taking in less of both nutrients.
Salmon is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. 3 ounces provides as much as 1,800 mg. These are healthy fats that reduce the risk of heart disease. They sculpt your waistline, reduce irritation, and recover insulin resistance.
Tuna is another healthy fish, a 3-ounce piece of tuna contains 1,300 mg of omega-3s and a respectable amount of vitamin D to boot.
However, tuna is high in mercury, a compound that may cause neurological problems in huge doses.
It is advisable to buy canned light tuna instead of albacore and limit your tuna intake to 12 ounces a week.
Barley is one of the healthiest grains and is rich in a specific kind of soluble fiber called beta-glucan.
It has been medically proven that beta-glucan can lower total and LDL cholesterol by preventing your body’s ability to absorb it.
According to a review consuming just 3 grams of Barley a day can lower cholesterol by 8%. Thanks to its fiber abundance, barley can also help steady your blood sugar while filling you up—a weight loss bonus. The grain even boasts a modest amount of calcium.
You might also want to consider this quick list of foods to avoid for the diabetic patients. This is not the most exhaustive list, but it will give you a heads up on some everyday food that you should avoid keeping a healthy diet:
- White flour
- Processed grains, such as white rice
- Cereals with little whole grain and lots of sugar
- White bread
- French fries
- Fried white-flour tortillas
- Canned vegetables with lots of added sodium
- Vegetables cooked with lots of added butter, cheese, or sauce
- Pickles (if you need to limit sodium; otherwise, pickles are okay)
- Sauerkraut, (same as pickles; limit only if you have high blood
- Canned fruit with heavy sugar syrup
- Chewy fruit rolls
- Regular jam, jelly, and preserves (unless portion is kept small)
- Sweetened applesauce
- Fruit punch, fruit drinks, fruit juice drinks
- alcohol, beer
A note on some supplements that might help!
A lot of the diabetic patients today take supplements to help alleviate their condition. They do this improve the levels of deficiencies that they might be facing.
Here is a list of a few supplements that you can include in your routine. However, we advise that you consult your physician before making any changes in your supplement intake or starting with a new intake.
- Chromium- As a supplement, it is sold as chromium picolinate, chromium chloride, and chromium nicotinate.
- Magnesium- Good food sources of magnesium are pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. Almonds, cashews, halibut, tuna, spinach, and oat bran are also good sources.
- Omega-3 fatty acids- Omega-3 supplements are available as capsules or oils
- Ginseng- A small study showed that taking 3 grams of American ginseng 40 minutes before a meal helped to reduce post-meal blood sugar levels
- Vanadium- In research done with cells, these minerals have been able to replace insulin
- Glucosamine- Glucosamine is important for the repair and maintenance of healthy cartilage in joints. But taking it in an oral form may not get it to where it needs to be in an amount that will do any real good
- Alpha-lipoic acid- People with type 2 diabetes take ALA supplements to help their body use insulin more efficiently
- Bitter melon- There is some evidence that botanicals like bitter melon have glucose- lowering properties
- Cinnamon- some studies suggest that cinnamon may improve blood sugar levels in some people.
As much as Diabetes is wide spread and much talked about, have a thorough knowledge of it. The diet that should be included to keep it at bay, will be very helpful. Make a healthy practice to visit the physician regularly and check the blood sugar levels in your body at regular intervals.