Healthy Diet is Essential for Diabetics

Healthy Diet is essential for health.

As children, every one of us is told to eat our vegetables and not to fill our stomachs with sweet, sugary snacks – and for good reason. A healthy diet is the cornerstone of our physical and psychological well-being.

Yet despite this, we all sneak the odd chocolate bar or sugary snack when our parents aren’t looking, and there’s nothing wrong with this. However, a long-term overindulgence in diets packed with fatty and sugary food can have long-term implications – including diabetes.

It’s estimated that more than a million people in UAE suffer from diabetes. * Diet isn’t solely to blame, stress, psychological pressure and a general lack of exercise are also key culprits of a diabetes diagnosis. However, post-diagnosis what should diabetics be eating to ensure that they are effectively managing their condition?


Healthy Diet is Essential for Diabetics


Everything in Moderation

Leading healthcare professionals in Dubai agree that a diabetic’s diets shouldn’t stray too drastically from that of a non-diabetic. However, sensible management of diabetes demands that patients always be aware of their glucose levels.

Medical studies have determined that diabetic diets should incorporate less saturated fat, salt and cholesterol, whilst include more fibre. There’s no specific dietary plan, only sensible considerations and everything in moderation.

Portion control should also be exercised each mealtime. The total amount of carbohydrates, salt and sugar in each meal impacts glucose levels. Diabetics with a large appetite or sweet tooth should exercise caution and substitute especially fatty or sweet meals and snacks for healthy alternatives. For example, substituting the mid-morning chocolate bar for a handful of nuts is advised.


The Six Food Groups of a Balanced Diet

There are six food groups that, when consumed in the right quantities and proportions, form the basis of a balanced diet. These are as follows:

Complex Carbohydrates – brown rice, oatmeal, corn, wheat, rye and barley are all complex carbohydrates and essential for a healthy, balanced diet. Wholegrain bread and crackers should also be incorporated into a healthy diet.

Vegetables – essential for diabetics and non-diabetics alike, a range of vegetables should be consumed consistently. However, starchy vegetables such as potatoes and corn generally should be eaten in moderation.

Fruits – snacking on fruit is far more favorable than snacking on foods rich in sugar, however high-sugar fruit juices should be avoided as much as possible.

Dairy – UAE dietitians advise that low-fat milk and dairy products are perfectly fine for diabetics, however moderation should be exercised.

Meat, Fish and Beans – as part of a balanced diet, red meat should be consumed occasionally. Lean meats and skinless chicken or fish should also form part of any diabetic’s diet plan. Alternatively, boiled, steamed or baked dried beans, lentils or legumes are a good meat substitute for vegetarians.

Oils – vegetable oils and fat-free spread in moderation are perfect substitutes for butter. Meal, snack and carbohydrate intake should be kept consistent throughout the day for diabetics that take glucose-lowering medication or fixed insulin doses.


Daily Food Intake

Diabetic patients who are medicated with insulin or specific oral hypoglycemic agents, such as sulfonylureas are advised to eat regular meals and snack as often as they feel hungry. Three regular meals a day, plus a suitable mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack such as fresh fruit is advised by leading medical professionals.

Three or four smaller meals spaced out over every few hours throughout the course of the day can also be prescribed to avoid post-pyramidal peaks in glucose levels. They also help to reduce diabetes symptoms.

Food and drink that leading medical professionals advise can be consumed as often as patients like includes, water, leafy green tea, tomatoes, onions, cucumber, aubergines, peppers and salads without a dressing or cream.

The good news for diabetic patients is that by simply modifying dietary intake, eliminating foods of high saturated fat and sugar content, whilst simultaneously monitoring meal portion sizes they will be able to enjoy a happy, prosperous, and most importantly, healthy life.

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