A day-to-day guide for managing Type 1 diabetes
The first question asked by any Type 1 diabetic, to a dietician is, “What do I have to stop eating now?” With so many myths floating around this condition, it is easy to get confused about what can be eaten and what’s a strict no. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to consume anything special or go on any deprivation diets. All you need to focus on is your calorie-intake and your carbohydrate consumption, due to fear ofinsulin spikes.
Let’s understand one thing — there is no single, universal ‘diabetes diet’. It is about mindful eating and how the body responds to certain foods. So, the notion of a low-carb diet or eliminating any particular food group is not advised.
Know your carbohydrates
The better you understand your carbs, the better control you have on your sugar levels. Carbohydrate count is one the most important aspects of diabetic diet-planning, as carb content is the major predictor of post-prandial blood glucose level. Your carb intake should also correlate to your physical activity. Typically, you can start with about 15 grams of carbs in every meal,which is an adequate amount. Then recheck the blood sugar, and add another 15 grams, if the reading is still low. We must match the insulin levels with our carb-intake and then maintain it.
Develop a healthy relationship with carbohydrates
Keep in mind that some carbohydrates act faster on blood sugar than others. For example , some foods may cause immediate increase in the blood sugar levels, as they are digested and absorbed very fast into the blood stream. These foods are best to consume when a person is facing low blood sugar levels. Some of the examples of fast-acting carbohydrates with 15 grams of carb content are four to six ounces of fruit juices, one tablespoon sugar or honey, one cup of sports drink, half a can of regular soda.
In your daily routine, you should try and select those sources of carbs that help to keep the sugar levels stable in the body. Go for carbohydrates that absorb more slowly in the body, like non-starchy fruits and vegetables. They do not cause many fluctuations due to their high-fibre content and low glycemic index. So, you can easily have up to three cups of green leafy veggies, salad veggies, high-fibre fruits like pear, apple, papaya, oranges in every meal, without any worry. Other good options for Type 1 diabetics can be 100 per cent whole wheat, quinoa, oats, brown rice, lentils and beans.
There is a lot of effort and knowledge involved in getting a hang of carb-counting techniques but it allows you to enjoy your favourite treats every now and then. Be aware of what the food on your plate consists of and how you can manage the amount of carbohydrates in it, in order to manage your diabetes. So, do enjoy carbs in every meal but compensate it with more mindful eating practices.