Diabetic Diet - FAQ

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Diabetic diet faq provides answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about diabetic diet.

  1. Why do I need to see a dietitian?

  2. Why should a diabetic observe a diet?

  3. Can I have sugar or food that has been sweetened with sugar?

  4. Why does losing weight help my diabetes?

  5. Can diabetics use artificial sweetener?

  6. What are the common artificial sweeteners?  Are they safe for consumption?

  7. Should I buy special "diabetic foods"?

  8. How can I cut the fat in my diet?

  9. Are some fats better than others?

  10. Can diabetics undertake fasts?

  11. What about going out to eat?

  12. How can the rest of the family help support a diabetic's diet requirements?

  13. Can I drink alcohol?

  14. What is the difference between complex and simple carbohydrates?

 

Diabetic Diet Faq 1. Why do I need to see a dietitian?

Registered dietitians (RDs) have the necessary training, expertise and knowledge in how the body uses food.  RDs who understand diabetes can teach you how the food you eat changes your blood glucose level and how to coordinate your diabetes medications and diabetic diet.  Do you know how many calories you should eat each day?  How to cut down on the fat in your meals?  How to make eating time more interesting?  An RD can help you learn the answers to these, and lots of other questions. 

 

Diabetic Diet Faq 2. Why should diabetics observe a diet?

It is important for diabetics to observe a diet as indiscreet eating would negate whatever diabetes medications or insulin therapy the patients are on.  Diabetic diet should be the key part of any therapies in diabetes and should be maintained indefinitely.

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Diabetic Diet Faq 3. Can I have sugar or food that has been sweetened with sugar?

For almost every person with diabetes, the answer is YES!  Eating a piece of cake made with sugar as one of the ingredients will raise your blood glucose level. People with diabetes can and do eat sugar.  In your body, it becomes glucose, but so do the other foods mentioned above.  With sugary foods, the rule is moderation.  Eat too much, and 

a) you'll send your blood glucose level up higher than you would expect.

b) you'll fill up yourself with empty calories without the nutrients that come with vegetables and grains.

c) you'll gain weight and increase risk of long term diabetes complications.

So if you controlled blood sugar level well, a small amount of sugar or sweet food is allowed.

 

Diabetic Diet Faq 4. Why does losing weight help my diabetes?

Weight loss helps people with diabetes in two important ways:  

  • First, it lowers insulin resistance.  This allows your natural insulin (in people with type 2 diabetes) to do a better job in lowering blood glucose levels.  If you are taking medications for diabetes, losing weight helps lower blood glucose and may allow you to reduce the amount of  medication you're taking, or quit taking it altogether.

  • Second, it improves blood fat (lipid) and blood pressure levels.  People with diabetes are about twice as likely to get cardiovascular disease as most people.  Lowering blood lipid and blood pressure is a way to reduce that risk.

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Diabetic Diet Faq 5. Can diabetics use artificial sweetener?

The answer is Yes.  Many of us enjoy sweetened food.  Artificial sweeteners offer a chance for diabetics to continue enjoying food and drinks without the accompanying calories.  

However it must be emphasized that diabetic do not need to use artificial sweeteners.  They can have controlled amount of sugar as advised by their dietitians.

 

Diabetic Diet Faq 6.  What are the common artificial sweeteners?  Are they safe for consumption?

The most commonly used artificial sweeteners are saccharin and aspartame.  Both saccharin and aspartame is permitted in the recommendation of the American and British Diabetes Associations.  However as mentioned earlier, artificial sweeteners are not actually necessary for diabetics.  Those who choose to use them should do so in moderation.

 

Diabetic Diet Faq 7. Should I buy special "diabetic foods"?

Special "diabetic foods" usually refer to foods that have no added sugar, for example diabetic jam, biscuits and etc.  Special "diabetic foods" do not have special positive effects on diabetes but may be considered as a convenient preparation of food that would otherwise contain lot of sugar and sucrose.  They are usually more expensive and are not really necessary.

 

Diabetic Diet Faq 8. How can I cut the fat in my diet?

See a dietitian for more advice.  Stir-fry foods in tiny amounts of oil and lots of seasonings.  Choose nonfat or low-fat selections, such as nonfat or 1% milk or low-fat cheese.  Keep portion sizes on target.   Avoid fried foods -- bake, grill, broil, or roast vegetables and meat instead.

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Diabetic Diet Faq 9. Are some fats better than others?

Yes.  Monounsaturated fats are the healthiest for your body.  Nuts - like almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, and peanuts - and avocados contain this type of fat.  Choose olive or canola oil for cooking.  

Polyunsaturated fat is the next healthiest fat.  This is found in corn oil, safflower oil, soybean oil, and mayonnaise.  Use small amounts of foods that contain saturated fats like butter, lard and meat fat, bacon, and shortening.  There are lower-fat versions of foods that contain saturated fats, like sour cream and cream cheese.  A healthy diet includes less than 30% of calories from fat, with less than 10% of these from saturated fat.

 

Diabetic Diet Faq 10. Can diabetics undertake fasts?

Fasting alters metabolism of the body and will adversely affect the diabetic state. A diabetic should preferably avoid complete fast. Religious fast are often partial, wherein, certain foods are permitted, If absolutely must, partial fasts may be  undertaken. It is important that you follow your doctor's and dietitian's advice on the type and amount of permissible foods to eat during partial fasts.

 

Diabetic Diet Faq 11. What about going out to eat?

Before eating out in restaurants, it's wise to make sure in advance that a particular restaurant can accommodate special requests. Diabetics should choose lean meat, chicken, or fish that has been roasted, broiled or grilled. Vegetables should be unbuttered and un-creamed. Lemon wedges may be used for seasoning and fruit may replace dessert.

 

Diabetic Diet Faq 12. How can the rest of the family help support a diabetic's diet requirements?

Families can benefit from a diabetic diet because it's based on wholesome, well-balanced foods that include all of the exchanges. If everyone in the family eats the same foods as the diabetic, it is easier for the person preparing the food and more enjoyable for the diabetic.

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Diabetic Diet Faq 13. Can I drink alcohol?

Yes, in moderation. Moderation is defined as two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women. A drink is a 5-ounce glass of wine, a 12-ounce light beer, or 1-1/2 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits. Make sure that your medications don't require avoiding alcohol, and get your doctor's okay.

 

 

 

Diabetic Diet Faq 14. What is the different between complex and simple carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates can be divided into two types:

1.  Simple Carbohydrates

These include ingredients like sucrose, glucose or fructose, or foods like sweets, candies, cakes, sweet drinks, jams.

Simple carbohydrates are rapidly absorbed and digested.
Result:  They cause a sudden surge of sugar in your bloodstream which can cause problems. So they should be avoided altogether, or eaten in very small quantities.

2.  Complex Carbohydrates (inc. fiber)

Also called starches, these include whole wheat or wholegrain bread, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, beans, oats, most vegetables and fruits.

Complex carbohydrates are slowly absorbed and digested.
Result:  They help to keep our sugar levels relatively stable.

 


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