Diabetic patients find it difficult multiple times in a day to eat what they have loved to all their life. We’re obsessed with some very unhealthy foods in Pakistan so we’ll dedicate this article to help guide diabetics make healthier choices. Whether it is a type 1 diabetes or type 2, strict food control can help the diabetics keep a good paced healthy lifestyle without diabetes affecting other parts of the body.
Types of Diabetes
Before deciding what to eat and how to maintain a healthy diet, it is important for a diabetic patient to know what kind of diabetes he/she is suffering from and how risky it is for a healthy living.
We can distinguish Diabetes into many types but majorly there are 3 main types:
Diabetes type 1.
Diabetes type 2.
Gestational diabetes (GDM).
Diabetes type 1:
This is medically known as juvenile – onset diabetes. This is categorically an autoimmune disease in which your own body cells attack the insulin producing mechanism. Usually, the patient age ranges from infants to youngsters and without a daily dose of insulin, they may not survive.
Diabetes Type 2:
This kind is non-insulin dependent and 90% of diabetes cases suffer from this type. The body of the diabetic patient may need insulin externally due to deficiency of it in the body but this does not account for autoimmune disease.
Gestational Diabetes (GDM):
Every one in 25 pregnant women is diagnosed with GDM due to high blood glucose levels which can result in complications for both the fetus and mother. Though this disappears after pregnancy is over, however, women with GDM and their kids are at a high risk of developing diabetes 2 later in life.
Food for Diabetics
Any food considered to be taken in by a diabetic patient must know the GI Index in that particular food. GI index or Glycemic index is the total amount of carbohydrates in a food item that can raise the level of blood glucose in a patient’s body.
A high level of GI in a food can be combined with one having low levels of GI index to minimize the risk of raising the blood glucose levels. For example, as any kind of meat lacks carbohydrates, this is a good option to add to the food items list for diabetic patients.
A GI index of 55 or less is good for the diabetic patient but more than 50 in a food may risk the health of the diabetic patient. Some of the food items that have 55 or less GI Index can be:
Non starchy fruits and vegetables.
Stone-ground whole wheat bran/ oatmeal and muesli.
Converted rice, pasta, barley and bulgur wheat.
Lentils, legumes and peas.
Some foods not allowed for diabetics with higher GI levels than 55 are:
Brown or basmati rice.
Pumpkin, pretzels, crackers, biscuits, etc.
While cooking, one should take the fact of over cooking into consideration. Any food if cooked more than it has to be may yield higher levels of GI index that can be harmful for the diabetic patients. Some factors that may overall affect the GI index of foods can be:
Storage time of food and ripeness of fruits or vegetables – the higher the time, the higher the GI Index level.
Variety in food; for example, types of rice.
What Works for Diabetics?
With consideration of food with above details, patients should regularly get themselves checked up with an expert endocrinologist, and follow various health posts and blogs online to maintain a healthy and balanced diet. This is a necessary step in maintaining normal levels of blood glucose levels. Else, higher forms may lead to risk of affecting other body parts like kidneys, lungs, eyesight, and even the ability to heal wounds.
No kind or type of food is all good for the diabetics. Also, there may be no perfect meal or diet plan that works fully for them as well. However, a meal plan tailored to personal preferences considering the nutrient count and GI index may help everyone in different ways as per their body requirements. GI index may be helpful in adjusting the levels of blood glucose and the insulin usage in the body as well.