Diabetic-friendly Meal Plan
- For individuals that may or may not have been put under hospital care that need more support, especially the ones that had just stepped down from a higher level of care
- For individuals at a loss on how to provide themselves or their loved ones the proper after-care they need post-diagnosis
- For individuals seeking preventive care, to those who are inclined to genetic predisposition and has an increased likelihood of developing a particular disease.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT DIABETIC-FRIENDLY MEAL PLANS
What is diabetes and how does someone develop it?
When we eat, carbohydrates in our food are broken down to glucose, the main fuel for all metabolic processes of the body. In healthy individuals, the hormone insulin is well-regulated to allow glucose to enter the cells, powering millions of chemical reactions that keep us thriving.
With diabetes, there is faulty metabolism of glucose in the body, due to the lack of insulin or lack of sensitivity to it, resulting to increased levels of blood sugar and a domino effect of adverse health outcomes.
There are 2 types of diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes occurs when your immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas. This is usually diagnosed in young people, hence it is also called juvenile diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is developed over time due to the combination of genetic and lifestyle factors such as excessive eating and lack of physical activity that cause the receptors of insulin to lose their sensitivity so that even if insulin is available, glucose is still unable to enter the cell.
According to Mayo Clinic, the following risk factors increase your risk for diabetes:
- Weight. The more fatty tissue you have, the more resistant your cells become to insulin.
- Inactivity. The less active you are, the greater your risk. Physical activity helps you control your weight, uses up glucose as energy and makes your cells more sensitive to insulin.
- Family history. Your risk increases if a parent or sibling has type 2 diabetes.
- Race. Although it's unclear why, people of certain races — including black people, Hispanics, American Indians and Asian-Americans — are at higher risk.
- Age. Your risk increases as you get older. This may be because you tend to exercise less, lose muscle mass and gain weight as you age. But type 2 diabetes is also increasing among children, adolescents and younger adults.
- Gestational diabetes. If you developed gestational diabetes when you were pregnant, your risk of developing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes later increases. If you gave birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds (4 kilograms), you're also at risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome. For women, having polycystic ovary syndrome — a common condition characterized by irregular menstrual periods, excess hair growth and obesity — increases the risk of diabetes.
- High blood pressure. Having blood pressure over 140/90 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) is linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels. If you have low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good," cholesterol, your risk of type 2 diabetes is higher. Triglycerides are another type of fat carried in the blood. People with high levels of triglycerides have an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Your doctor can let you know what your cholesterol and triglyceride levels are.
When does a person become diagnosed with diabetes?
Diabetes symptoms (e.g. polyuria, polydipsia and unexplained weight loss for Type 1) plus:
- a random venous plasma glucose concentration ≥ 11.1 mmol/l or
- a fasting plasma glucose concentration ≥ 7.0 mmol/l (whole blood ≥ 6.1 mmol/l) or
- two hour plasma glucose concentration ≥ 11.1 mmol/l two hours after 75g anhydrous glucose in an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT).
What is the general lifestyle recommendation for someone with diabetes?
- Eat healthy foods. Choose foods lower in fat and calories and higher in fiber. Focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Strive for variety to prevent boredom.
- Get more physical activity. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day. Take a brisk daily walk. Ride your bike. Swim laps. If you can't fit in a long workout, break it up into smaller sessions spread throughout the day.
- Lose excess pounds. If you're overweight, losing even 7 percent of your body weight — for example, 14 pounds (6.4 kilograms) if you weigh 200 pounds (90.7 kilograms) — can reduce the risk of diabetes.
- Don't try to lose weight during pregnancy, however. Talk to your doctor about how much weight is healthy for you to gain during pregnancy.
- To keep your weight in a healthy range, focus on permanent changes to your eating and exercise habits. Motivate yourself by remembering the benefits of losing weight, such as a healthier heart, more energy and improved self-esteem.
What types of food should I refrain from eating when I have diabetes?
Simple sugars, processed carbs, syrups, candies
What are low glycemic index carbohydrates?
The Glycemic Index (GI) is a relative ranking of carbohydrate in foods according to how they affect blood glucose levels. Carbohydrates with a low GI value (55 or less) are more slowly digested, absorbed and metabolised and cause a lower and slower rise in blood glucose and, therefore usually, insulin levels.
Examples of carbohydrate-containing foods with a low GI include dried beans and legumes (like kidney beans and lentils), all non-starchy vegetables, some starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes, most fruit, and many whole grain breads and cereals (like barley, whole wheat bread, rye bread, and all-bran cereal).