What Can I Eat If I Have Diabetes?

One of the first things people ask after they have been diagnosed with diabetes is “what am I allowed to eat now?”.  No one likes to think that they are going to have to make radical changes to their diet because of a medical condition.  Getting diagnosed with a condition like diabetes and having to go on medication is bad enough,  without having to change your whole lifestyle as well.  But most medical professionals will recommend that the best way to getting into a healthy eating routine is to  make any changes you need to early on, make sure the foods that you are eating suit your requirements, and stick with it.

The Diabetes Food Pyramid

Diabetes Food PyramidWhen looking at your diet, many start with the Governments’ official guidelines on food groups, now called MyPyramid (but also referred to as the USDA Food  Pyramid).  The Pyramid was first developed in 1992 and is divided into 6 separate food groups such as grains, vegetables and meat and beans.  If you are looking specifically for a diabetes diet, then you could consider the Diabetes Food Pyramid.  This Pyramid is based largely on the old USDA Food Pyramid, and categorizes foods based on their carbohydrate content.  This is because foods with higher carbohydrate content have a greater effect on people’s blood glucose levels.  According to the Diabetes Food Pyramid, it is recommended that people eat between 5 to 8 servings of breads and grains such as bread, cereal and beans during the day, around 3 to 5 servings of vegetables, 2 to 3 servings of milk products such as yogurt, 2 to 4 servings of fruit, 8 to 12 ounces of meat such as poultry and beef and only small amounts of fats, oils and sweets. However, the problem with “food pyramids” is that they are pretty much “one size fits all” and do not take into account individual needs and differences. That is why it is better to consult a diabetic expert.

Consult An Expert In Diabetic Diets

If you would like expert help in developing a suitable diet you can always consider making an appointment with a nutritionist or a dietician. They will look into your requirements and provide you will a tailored diet that you can follow.  The advantage of this approach is that if you ever need to ask questions about your diet or are thinking about modifying what you eat you can always ask them (as well as your regular doctor). Many health professionals also run group classes on living with diabetes and managing diets.  There is also a wealth of information on diabetes treatments and diets on the internet, as well as a huge range of cookbooks for getting recipe ideas.

One of the best ideas is to look into creating your very own food diary.  Sometimes you might want to try new foods that are not on your diet, or maybe you just want to see whether you can pin down the times when you get cravings for certain foods.  A diary can keep track of not only what and when you eat, but also how your body responds in certain circumstances.  This can be such a valuable tool the next time you visit your doctor for a check up.  It can also document your progress over time giving you the motivation you need to stick to that diet!

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Learning To Deal With A Diabetes Diagnosis

You’ve been to the doctor, and you have just been diagnosed with diabetes.  One part of you is relieved that you have finally found the reason behind some of the symptoms you experience.  But another part of you may be scared, upset or even angry.  These feelings are completely normal, and as your doctor will tell you, it won’t take long for you to settle into a routine that can help you live a healthier and even longer life.  Checking your blood glucose, taking medication, and coming to understand the symptoms of hypoglycemia are all ways to control diabetes.  But, like millions of other Americans, your thoughts will quickly turn to ways to improve your lifestyle and health so that you can reduce the need for drugs and even possibly send your condition into remission.

We have all been beaten around the head with studies and research about the benefits of regular physical activity.  When you have diabetes, you will no doubt be given a few lectures on getting fitter and becoming more active in general.  This is because when you use your body more, it lowers your blood glucose levels as well as improves your body’s ability to use insulin over time.  Doing more activity need not be daunting – you don’t necessarily have to join a fitness centre.  Just make a small effort each day to do some form of exercise such as walking up the stairs (instead of taking the elevator), or take a walk around your neighbourhood.  If you have kids, get them off the couch and take them to the park to kick a ball around.  The more enjoyable the activity, the more likely you will do it on a regular basis.  Exercise is a great mood enhancer, and being active has the added advantage that you will start to lose weight and may even start to feel more positive about yourself and your circumstances.

Diabetic Diet PyramidIn terms of your diet, your doctor will probably provide you with a guide on the foods to avoid and the foods to stock up on.  For many people with diabetes they have to follow a regime of eating small meals regularly, and it can be handy to have planned a diabetes diet for each week in advance so you are never caught without something healthy to eat.  Everyone’s dietary requirements are different depending on a number of factors such as age, weight and sex, and if you are having trouble planning meals that will help to control your diabetes then you could consider visiting a nutritionist to develop a diet that suits you.  There are also a number of resources from reputable national diabetes centres on the internet that can help.

It is a great feeling knowing that you can control something in your life, and coming to realise that something like diabetes doesn’t really have to slow you down.  If you make sensible choices and make the recommended changes in your lifestyle, you might find that you come out of the whole experience healthier and happier.  Don’t let diabetes control you!

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