Diabetes: Don’t sugar coat it! the diabetes without downplaying its seriousness. It encourages open and honest discussions about diabetes management, lifestyle changes, and the need for medical attention to effectively control the condition and improve overall health.
Diabetes: Don’t sugar coat it!
If there are chances of having diabetes or you are already diabetic then having a healthy diet and lifestyle are the most important things you can do to delay or manage your diabetes and minimize your risk of developing complications.
A healthy lifestyle involves being active, losing weight if you are overweight, getting enough exercise, having a healthy diet and not smoking.
Prevalence of Diabetes in Pakistan:
Diabetes mellitus is one of the most prevalent public health concerns globally. Diabetes is a serious condition where your blood glucose level is too high.
According to an article by “The News”, Pakistan ranks 3rd in the world in diabetes prevalence after China and India. According to the International Diabetes Federation, in 2022, 26.7% of adults in Pakistan are affected by diabetes making the total number of cases approximately 33 million.
Don’t Panic, You Have a Smarter Way to Deal with Diabetes!
Regular check-ups and medication for diabetes (whether in tablet or injection form) are not the only way to control your blood sugar (glucose) levels. In fact, there is evidence that many people who lose weight and adopt a low-carbohydrate diet can control their blood sugar enough to be able to reduce or even stop their medication.
Diet Rules over Diabetes:
- Eat three meals a day. Avoid skipping meals and space breakfast, lunch and evening meal out over the day.
- At each meal include starchy carbohydrate foods – e.g. bread, pasta, chapattis, potatoes, rice etc.
- Eat more slowly absorbed (low glycemic index) foods – e.g., pasta, basmati or easy cook rice, grainy breads, sweet potato, porridge oats.
- Reduce the fat in the diet, especially saturated fats. Use unsaturated fats or oils, especially mono-unsaturated fats – e.g., olive oil and vegetable oil.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables. Aim for at least five portions a day.
- Eat more beans and lentils – e.g., kidney beans, chickpeas or red and green lentils.
- Eat at least two portions of oily fish a week – e.g., mackerel (surmai), yellow croaker (yellow mushka), tuna, palla, salmon (rawas/ramas) etc.
- Limit sugar and sugary foods.
- Snacks (nuts, low-glycemic fruits, boiled eggs etc)
- Reduce salt in the diet to 1 teaspoon or less per day.
- Include low-fat dairy products.
- Don’t use diabetic foods or drinks (they are expensive and of no benefit).
- Choices may need to be adjusted according to the individual’s self-monitoring tests. Have snacks only if self-monitoring suggests a need; check particularly if a high insulin dose is needed to correct pre-prandial hyperglycemia (high blood glucose prior to a meal).
- Diabetes is all about healthy eating, keep your cholesterol, blood pressure and of course blood sugar in check, control portion size and focus on the types of food you are having.
Love Yourself Enough to Work Harder
Regular physical activity improves insulin resistance and lipid profile (reduction in triglyceride and increase in high-density lipoprotein (HDL)) and lowers blood pressure (BP), although BP will rise during exercise.
The recommended minimum amount of activity for:
- Adults – 30 minutes on at least five days of each week.
- Children – one hour each day.
- The metabolic benefits in type 2 diabetes are lost within 3-10 days of stopping regular exercise.
- Physical activity also protects against the development of type 2 diabetes.
- Always consider insulin/oral medications and meal schedule: test blood glucose before exercise, postpone exercise until after a snack if blood glucose is low and always keep glucose at hand.
- Avoid high-impact exercise, as this may traumatize the feet (emphasize foot care, proper shoes and cotton socks).