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Dietary Needs of the Diabetic Patient

Written by kimmel52 on November 11, 2008 – 10:52 pm

The diabetic patient can help control their blood glucose levels in conjunction with a healthy diet. Not only can they help to control their blood glucose levels with a healthy diet, but their lipids and blood pressure as well. Nutrition recommendations are developed from the following table:

Carbohydrates: /diabetics should choose from a selection of grains, fruits and vegetables. Fruits such as apricots, peaches, mangos, are high in vitamin C and have are a good source of roughage. Grains such as oats, wheat and barley are excellent choices. Having hot cereal like wheat and barley can be a real treat, especially when using Splenda® as a sugar substitute, and a small amount of butter. These carbohydrates are broken down gradually and stored in the liver. They are turned into glucose upon the bodies need at the moment.

Sweetners:/ It is best to avoid processed sweets, such as cakes, doughnuts, cookies and soda pop. Processed sweets and carbonated beverages contain large amounts of preservatives and sodium. The saying, “where sodium goes, water follows.”, is a good saying to keep in mind. What this means, is that the more sodium that is ingested, the more water the body will retain. Water retention leads to high blood pressure and increased pressure in the glomerular tubules within the kidney. As pressure builds up in this area, stage two of kidney disease can occur. It is difficult for those diabetics who are used to drinking sugar free soda. Try to break this habit. The main idea about dietary changes is that it is not a quick fix, but a life style change. The diabetic has to change their way of thinking about the foods that they normally eat. Use sweeteners judiciously. The best alternative is to become used to the taste of natural sugars, and to avoid sodium. Try not using salt for a few days. It is not hard to get accustomed to this. The diabetic will be able to taste the natural salt in their food without adding any extra salt.

Fats:/ Try to keep the fat content in the diet as low as possible. Trim the fat from meat prior to cooking. Braising the meat prior to adding water can eliminate extra fat left on the meat and add flavor to the broth. Read the labels of foods when purchasing groceries. Fat content will increase the diabetic’s blood glucose level, because ingested fat will stay in the system longer. Similar to fast digesting sugars, fat offers up lots of carbohydrates. These carbohydrates can be turned into sugars readily. Before the stored carbohydrates are broken down the body will use the undigested fat molecules. If the person is not active to burn calories, the fat will sit around and what ever portion is not used, the body will store. To explain this theory better, think about oil candles. The oil will burn for hours before being used up. Now imagine cotton candy. Cotton candy will flame and burn to a crisp with practically nothing left within seconds. This is how our body uses fats and sugars. When the body needs glucose, glycogen stored in the liver is enzymatically transformed into glucagon, which is transformed into glucose to feed our body from burning ATP (the body’s energy molecule). When all of the glucose is used up, the body begins to use up carbohydrates, and after the carbohydrates the body then burns fat. Once the fat is burned, the body begins to utilize protein. This protein can be found in the urine, and is a signal of malnutrition. Knowing what fats are good and which are bad can be very confusing. The best rule of thumb is to avoid processed foods and use meats that are not fatty or marbled with fat throughout. Bake, broil or boil foods. Braise meats in a pan after trimming the fat. Use seasonings without added salt. Using pure seasonings is a fantastic tasting experience. Fresh rosemary, thyme, oregano, and a host of other seasonings can add wonderful flavor to a meal. Use olive oil in place of the usual cooking oils. Some olive oils state that they are half corn oil and half olive. This is better than using 100% corn oil or canola oil. Try using fresh ground pepper and garlic cloves in place of salt additives. Keep in mind that you are what you eat, as the saying goes. Being healthy should be the most important goal of not only diabetics but for everyone.

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