Diabetes: eating right Diabetes: eating right

Diabetes: eating right

All natural 2 October, 2018 Maria Clara Restrepo E.

Watching portion size and calorie content can help keep weight gain under control.

Medical Advisor Sandra Mora – Endocrinologist and Nutritionist

Cutting down on sweets is not the only dietary restriction diabetics must adhere to. People with diabetes must also manage their weight by regulating their diet and exercise, especially those patients that receive insulin as part of their treatment.

This is why a person’s diet becomes so fundamental to diabetes patients. “When a person with diabetes gains weight, their body becomes more insulin resistant, and can then act as if there is a deficiency or the body may demand more of it. In turn, this increases blood sugar levels and when these levels are very high, they can induce a coma,” states endocrinologist and nutritionist Sandra Mora. (It may be of your interest: Know the warning signs of type 2 diabetes).

Foods high in sugar

All foods that contain a lot of sugar or that are converted into glucose when processed in the body – such as white flours or vegetables such as carrots, squash or beets, for example – should be avoided or reduced. It is also essential to watch portion size. However, each person’s metabolism is different and depends on factors such as sex, age, height, weight, body size or physical activity. “Keep track of how many calories you consume each day, because if you consume more than what you burn, you tend to gain weight, and this can affect your metabolic control,” Mora states.

It is important to keep in mind that while most foods contain carbohydrates, there are some that contain less. “With dairy products, for example, one serving of milk generally contains between 10 and 15 grams of carbohydrates, which is rather acceptable. Nuts are also a good option (peanuts, almonds and other types of mixed seeds), but you have to be careful because while they are low in carbohydrates, they are high in calories due to their high fat content,” the nutritionist explains.

Last, between fruits and vegetables, vegetables have the least carbohydrates, so they are often preferable. While all types of fruits can be eaten, keep in mind that there are some with more fructose than others. While they contain a fair amount of sugar, avocadoes are low in carbohydrates and rich in a very healthy fat, but their calorie content remains high •

Prevention and treatment

Diabetes is a chronic and irreversible metabolic condition that occurs when the pancreas does not produce insulin or produces too little (type 1), or when the body becomes insulin resistant and cannot use it efficiently (type 2). Type 2 diabetes is generally associated with physical inactivity and a poor diet. Insulin is the hormone responsible for bringing glucose from food to the cells, where it is transformed into energy that the body needs. If this cycle does not occur as it normally should, sugar accumulates in the blood until it reaches levels that are harmful to your health, dehydrating your cells and leaving your body without fuel.

Food alternatives to include in your diet

  • Black, green or stuffed olives.

  • Walnut butter, almond butter or peanut butter without added sugar.

  • Different varieties of nuts such as pistachios, macadamias, peanuts, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts and almonds.

  • Non-starchy vegetables such as chard, artichokes, eggplant, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, spinach, mushrooms, palm hearts and radishes.

  • Fruits such as dates, raspberries, figs, kiwis, strawberries, mandarins and mangoes.

  • Apricots, plums, peaches and cherries – either fresh or dried.

  • Other vegetables such as celery, alfalfa or soybean sprouts, pumpkin, onion, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumber, peppers of all kinds, leeks and tomatoes.

  • Unsweetened ready-to-consume grains, as well as bran or oat flour or flakes. Quinoa, rice, rye and whole barley are also recommended.