Diabetic diet in accordance with the principles of healthy nutrition

A diabetic diet, in addition to drugs that lower blood sugar, is the basis for the treatment of diabetes. Diabetes does not have to give up good cuisine. Diabetic diet can also be tasty and varied, just follow a few rules. Check what the diabetic diet is, what you can eat and which products are contraindicated.

Diabetic diet and various types of diabetes

A diabetic diet is an essential element in the treatment of all types of diabetes. Among the disorders of carbohydrate metabolism, several varieties of the disease are distinguished

Regardless of the type of diabetes, the main diet goals and nutritional recommendations remain the same. Dietary management focuses primarily on glycemic control.

People who are overweight and obese must use menus that enable them to lose excess weight. For the early stages of type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes, a well-composed diet is enough to keep your blood glucose steady without taking medication.

Most important diabetic diet principles
Most important diabetic diet principles

The most demanding diet is type 1 diabetes, where you need to balance your insulin intake to the number of carbohydrates and proteins you consume. Gestational diabetes emphasizes strict control of carbohydrate intake at each meal. The lowest calculations require a diet in type 2 diabetes.

A diabetic diet, or what?

The official recommendations of the diabetic diet have for a long time been based on guidelines limiting fat in the diet and recommending carbohydrates with a glycemic index below 55 as the main source of energy in the menu. In the 2017 guidelines,it is still recommended that 45 per cent energy in the diet came from carbohydrates (and even 60 per cent, if they are high-fibre products), which with a standard diet of 2000 kcal is up to 250 g and is associated with eating carbohydrates in virtually every meal.

This type of diet recommended for many years did not bring the expected results. It did not allow satisfactory glycemic control and lowering of diabetes-related parameters such as fasting glucose or HbA1c glycated haemoglobin.

It should be remembered that carbohydrates do not provide more than 30 per cent. the energy in the diet. You should not be afraid of good quality fat, which does not contribute to weight gain and is not a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease, which is also confirmed by new scientific research. When planning meals, you can rely on the paleo diet fashionable in recent years, but also introduce the right amount of cereal. This nutritional approach allows people with type 2 diabetes to even give up drug treatment altogether, and people with type 1 diabetes to reduce their insulin intake.

Diabetic diet – rules

The basic principle of a diabetic diet is to limit carbohydrates in meals. This applies to both simple carbohydrates (all sweets, fruits, juices, drinks) and complex ones (cereal, rice, pasta, bread, potatoes). The daily menu should not contain more than 100 – 150 g. Proponents of very low carbohydrate diets recommend consumption below 50 g per day.

The choice of carbohydrates is very individual and should be adjusted so that the sick person can easily control glycemia. Carbohydrates should come from good sources of sourdough rye bread, thick groats, quinoa. Fruits are best limited to 1 serving per day, as they are sources of simple sugars. Shop sweets, sweetened jams, juices and drinks, as well as sweeteners are not recommended. Various sweeteners affect glucose even though they do not contain sugar. Meals should be eaten 4-5 times a day at more or less constant times. If nocturnal hypoglycaemia occurs, a sixth meal is introduced before bedtime.

A protein-fat breakfast is very important in the treatment of diabetes. Shortly after waking up, the reaction to the sugars consumed is the largest, the easiest is hyperglycemia, and a carbohydrate-free breakfast allows good glycemic control from the morning throughout the day. Studies show that people consuming protein-fat breakfasts make better food choices and are less likely to hunger during the day. Practice in the diet room shows that using protein-fat breakfast helps a lot in reducing fasting glucose. Another important meal is dinner, which in turn should contain a portion of carbohydrates to maintain stable blood sugar levels at night.

Fibre is very important in the diabetic diet. It slows down the absorption of sugar from food and has a beneficial effect on bowel function. It’s best if the fibre comes from vegetables.

Fat in diets with reduced carbohydrate content constitutes 30-50 per cent. It should come from natural sources, e.g. butter, olive oil. Foods rich in fat include avocados, nuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, fatty sea fish, coconut milk. In particular, the very unhealthy trans fats present in hard margarine and fryers should be avoided.

Meals in the diet should be as natural as possible, prepared with fresh products. They should have a low glycemic load, which is due to the presence of protein and fat. Cereal additives should not be overcooked. Deep frying is not recommended. Avoid highly processed foods, sweets, sugary drinks, ready meals and junk food. Alcohol should appear in moderate amounts. The basis of the diet should be vegetables. Do not binge. It is worth controlling the size of portions consumed and body weight. Physical activity is always indicated.