When people are first diagnosed with diabetes, they have lots of questions about how it will affect their lives. These questions often revolve around the subject of food. Particularly: What am I allowed to eat?
The answer is there aren't any foods that you are not "allowed", you simply need to be more aware of the effect that different foods can have on your blood glucose level and weight. In the past, people with diabetes were given very restrictive dietary advice. They were told that they couldn't eat sugar. These days, people with diabetes can still enjoy a varied diet, whilst controlling their weight and blood glucose levels.
It is important to remind yourself that everyone should be careful about what they eat, even if they don't have diabetes. However if you have Type 2 diabetes, healthy weight control will help slow down the progression of your illness. The more knowledge you have about different types of food and how they affect your blood glucose and weight, the more control you will have over your diabetes.
Aims of a healthy diet
To provide energy and nutrients for good health.
To maintain or achieve a healthy body weight.
To achieve the best possible control of your blood glucose by balancing food intake with your treatment program, energy requirements and physical activity.
To reduce the possibility of complications, such as high or low blood glucose levels.
To reduce your risk of heart complications and blood vessel disease.
To preserve your social and psychological well-being.
Your dietician will be able to help you devise a diet you can enjoy that will help keep your weight within a healthy range and maintain good blood glucose control. If you are using insulin, they will also be able to advise you about how to tailor the amount of insulin you need to the size or type of meal you are eating. When it comes to food and diabetes, there are some rules of thumb you can follow towards sensible eating and the best place to start is to learn about how different foods affect your diabetes.
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