General Background on the Disease
Diabetes is a disease that affects the body in a way to where the blood glucose levels rise higher than normal. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. In type 2 the body does not produce insulin properly. This is called insulin resistance. In the beginning the pancreas makes extra insulin to keep the blood glucose levels normal. Eventually the pancreas can not produce enough and causes glucose to build up in the blood stream causing problems. These problems can be controlled with the right diet and exercise but still may require medication.
Recommendations for a Diabetic Diet
A good guideline for diabetics is to limit total carbohydrate consumption to 45-60 grams per meal (no more than 180 grams per day). A good guideline for a diabetic plate of food would be ¼ protein, ¼ starch, ½ non starchy vegetables. The ratio of percentage of grams in the diet for a diabetic should be: 55:20:25 (carbs:fats:protein). Nutrient dense carbohydrates are recommended. For example, w heat bread instead of white bread, whole fruit not juice, etc.
- Carbohydrates: Fruit, milk, yogurt, bread, cereal, rice, pasta starchy vegetables like potatoes, corn, and beans
- Fiber: Cooked dried beans and peas, whole-grain breads, cereals, and crackers, brown rice, bran foods
- Fat: Choose lean cuts of meat. Don't fry foods. Instead, you can bake, broil, grill, roast, or boil. Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy foods. Include them in your daily carbohydrate count. Use vegetable cooking spray or cholesterol-lowering margarine that has stanols or sterols. Pick liquid vegetable oils instead of animal
- Dairy: Cottage cheese, fat free yogurt, ricotta cheese, soy milk, fat free sour cream, not-fat skim or evaporated skim milk
- Desserts and Snacks: Popsicle's with no sugar added, sugar free jello, and pudding desserts. Popcorn with little to no butter, and baked tortilla chips.
Blood Sugar Monitoring
Glucose monitors have become popular, especially for people who use an insulin pump. A healthcare provider will order a laboratory blood test periodically to determine your blood sugar levels and glycated hemoglobin (A1C). For someone who doesn't have diabetes, a normal A1C level is below 5.7 percent. Someone who's has had diabetes for a long time might have an A1C level above 8 percent. It is advised that you check your A1C at least twice a year or however much the health care provider suggests until blood sugar meets recommend blood sugar levels Fine-tuning of blood sugar levels and treatment also requires that you monitor your blood sugar levels on a day-to-day basis. Self-blood glucose monitoring allows you to know your blood glucose level at any time and helps prevent the effects of very high or very low blood sugar. Monitoring also enables tighter blood sugar control, which decreases the long-term risks of diabetic complications.
Exercise and Lifestyle
Aerobic exercise, strength training, flexibility exercises/stretching, balance exercises, and activity throughout the day are the types of activities recommended for people with diabetes. In either case, exercise can reduce the glucose in your blood and muscles can use glucose without insulin when you’re exercising. It does not matter if you’re insulin resistant or if you don’t have enough insulin, when you exercise, your muscles get the glucose they need, and your blood glucose level goes down. If you’re insulin resistant, exercise makes your insulin more effective. So therefore, your insulin resistance goes down when you exercise, and your cells can use the glucose more effectively
Living with Diabetes
“I chalk up the fact that I got diabetes to my body saying, 'Dude, you have been doing wrong for way too long!'” -Randy Jackson
“I was determined to share my positive approach and not let diabetes stand in the way of enjoying my life.” -Paula Deen