GETTING THE BEST OUT OF YOUR DIABETES TREATMENT: DIET

Nowadays, we all know that a diabetic diet, in common with any diet, should have a high fibre content and not include too many saturated fats. It should also contain the correct number of calories to maintain your body weight at the acceptable average for your height, sex and age, or to achieve this level if you are overweight.
The diabetic diet is fundamental to the treatment of diabetes and should be one of the first lessons learned by all new diabetics, whether it is their only treatment or whether they also need oral hypoglycemic pills or insulin injections. However carefully you manipulate your insulin or oral hypoglycemic treatment, lack of attention to diet can lead to poor glucose balance both immediately and in the long term.
If you have non-insulin-dependent diabetes it is likely that you are overweight. This makes your body resistant to the action of insulin. The most important part of your treatment is to return to the ideal body weight for your height and stay there, by eating healthy high fibre foods and avoiding sugary foods and excessive amounts of saturated fats.
Nowadays, we all know that a diabetic diet, in common with the diet advised for the whole country, should contain lots of starchy carbohydrate with plenty of fibre, very little saturated fat or sugar and some protein. You should eat the amount needed to keep your weight within the acceptable range for your height. This weight should give you a body mass index of about 22. You can calculate this from your weight in kilogrammes and your height in metres. (1 kg = 2.2 lbs. 1 inch = 2.54 cm.) The body mass index (usually abbreviated to BMI) is your weight divided by your height squared. Thus John who weighs 15 stone (95.5 kg) and is 6 foot (1.83 m) tall has a BMI of 95.5/1.83×1.83 = 28.5. He should weigh 73.7 kg.
At least 55 per cent of the total calories should be starchy carbohydrates or pulses, with over 30g fibre a day, fat should account for less than 35 per cent of the total calories (10 per cent saturated, 20 per cent polyunsaturated or monounsaturated), and between 10-15 per cent protein. Sugar should be less than 4 teaspoons of sucrose or the equivalent, added salt less than 3g daily.
Many of you will have been taught to weigh your food and to count exchanges of carbohydrate, and even of fat or protein. If you feel comfortable with this then continue, but nowadays dietitians are moving away from such rigid dietary control. I once met someone who dipped a urine testing strip into everything she drank to see if it was too sugary. She felt she needed an extremely strict diet to manage her diabetes and became very distressed when she was away from home and unable to calculate her exchanges exactly. She had become a prisoner of her diabetic diet.

*11/102/5*

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