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  • T. Vallone CCH, FNP, ND

Nutrition Therapy for Diabetes

Diabetes is a metabolic condition caused by high sugar levels or glucose in the blood. The body gets glucose from the food that we eat which is then used up for energy. This is facilitated by the hormone, insulin. But some health issues might slow down insulin production or sensitivity, causing glucose to stay in the blood instead of being converted into energy. This may cause diabetes.


With regular exercise, medication and proper diet, diabetes can be controlled. Nutrition is an extremely important part of diabetes management. In fact, a balanced diet can also prevent the onset of type two diabetes.


Nutrition Therapy and Diabetes

Nutritional interventions can go a long way in helping to maintain a normal lifestyle for a person with diabetes. It is also important to remember that healthy eating can help to reverse the effects of diabetes while also keeping cardiovascular diseases at bay. And at the same time, it helps keep your blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check.


People who are overweight or obese are more susceptible to Type-2 diabetes and the risk is generally higher in men and women who have excessive lower belly fat. So losing and maintaining ideal body weight is crucial when it comes to preventing diabetes.


So what kind of a diet should you have?

Well, for starters, processed beverages, and foods high in fructose should be avoided as they contribute to the accumulation of fat in the lower belly. For diabetes management, you should not eat fried foods that have high levels of saturated fats and trans fats. Eating desserts, sweets, baked items, and ice-cream should be limited and should be consumed only on special occasions. The same goes for alcohol which is quickly converted into sugar by the body. Also, keep an eye on your portion sizes and be sure that you don’t fall victim to cravings while binge-watching shows! Have healthy alternatives on hand so that you don’t reach for processed snacks.


What should you eat instead?

Diabetes management revolves around including whole foods. Foods the way Mother Nature made them. Healthy food options from all the food groups is best, so that your body is in perfect health. Include whole grains and non-starchy, fresh vegetables such as tomatoes, broccoli, and spinach in your diet. Have two fruits every day and ensure that you get plenty of protein. For this, consume lean meat, fish and dairy. Stay away from white bread and red meat and always check the sugar content of products before deciding to purchase them.


Conclusion

People with diabetes often find it difficult to manage their diet because what might work for others might not work for them. At the same time, it’s also important to remember that our culture, as well as individual likes and dislikes, have a huge influence on what we decide to eat or not eat. That is why one should consult a nutritionist or a health care provider who will keep all these factors in mind while preparing a diet plan for diabetes management.

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