Experts have said diet is an integral part of the management of diabetes. They said it is also part of measures that can help prevent complications associated with the disease.
According to a nutritionist, Najib Panda, diabetic patients should not take their dietary management for granted. He said all the nutrients are important but the portion size also matters.
That is why there is the therapeutic diet which is a diet that controls the intake of certain nutrients according to diabetes patients’ nutritional requirements.
He said, “An essential component is vegetables. These are foods with low glycemic indices which have been shown to have a beneficial effect on glucose control.
“Vegetables like cucumber, lettuce, carrot, cauliflower and many others are high in fibre, vitamins and minerals and this lower insulin requirements, decrease serum cholesterol, decrease intestinal transit time and also delays glucose absorption. Patients are therefore advised to always take half portion of the plate”.
Panda said protein like fish, lean poultry, beans; lentils are good for the health of diabetics because it supplies the essential amino acids needed for tissue repairs and because they do not raise blood sugar during absorption or supply as many calories as fat.
The nutritionist said diabetic patients should also be low in fat intake and limit refined grains.
“Low-fat diet increases insulin binding and also reduces LDL and VLDL and hence reduces the incidence of atherosclerosis which is more common in diabetes,” he said.
He advised patients to avoid refined grains or products of refined wheat because it contains low fibre and increases blood glucose. Patients should also engage in physical activities that play an important role in facilitating a good control of diabetes.
He said effective management is key for diabetes because uncontrolled diabetes may lead to complications. “The elevated levels of glucose in tissues such as the nerve, kidney, retina and lenses are converted to sorbitol. Accumulation of sorbitol leads to complications of diabetes such as retinopathy, nephropathy, heart diseases and infections,” he added.
Medical experts said in the past, the recommendation was that people should stay away completely from carbohydrates but it was discovered that the body still needs energy to move around so now the right thing is to reduce the portion of carbohydrate intake.
They said eating a proper, balanced meal with a reduced level of carbohydrate and eating more vegetables and proteins consistently along with moderate exercising help diabetic patient a lot.