According to the national diabetes fact sheet published by the American diabetes Association and other health organizations in 2011, there are 25.8 million children and adults in the United States that have diabetes, that’s 8.3% of the population. To gain control of the diabetic condition, it is important that persons with diabetes consume the right types of foods that can control the blood sugar levels that cause their diabetes.
It is vitally important that diabetes patients follow an appropriate diabetic menu. With a healthy diet in place, patients can keep this health condition in check and live relatively normal lives. Making good decisions about what goes into your body will help you avoid the complications that typically accompany diabetes.
There are several forms of diabetes, the most common of which are classified as type-1 diabetes and type-2 diabetes, of which the latter form comprises about 90% of the diabetic population. In type-1 diabetes, the body does not produce sufficient levels of insulin. As a result, patients must give themselves daily injections to compensate for the imbalance. Type-2 diabetes patients also produce insufficient insulin. However, in type-2 patients, the body eventually stops responding to insulin altogether, resulting in additional complications and additional treatments. In both cases, following a diabetic menu greatly helps improve health.
A regular diabetic menu provides to wide range of food items from which to choose but some foods may need to be restricted in portion size. Typically, foods listed on a diabetic menu include meat, poultry, fish, fruits and vegetables, cheeses, yogurts, and other dairy products. Ideal fish items are salmon, tuna, herring, mackerel, sardines, and lake trout. It is important to understand that carbohydrates, one of the essential nutrients, is the major source of sugar in the bloodstream and while sugar is an important source of energy for the cells of the body, it can occur or in some foods in the amounts that the diabetic body cannot tolerate. Vegetables are good sources of low content carbohydrates.
Low carb fruits to include in your diabetic menu are rhubarb (1 cup serving), cantaloupe (1/2 cup), grapefruit (1/2 cup), and watermelon (3/4 cup). Food items such as string cheese, peanut butter, unsalted nuts, hard boiled eggs, avocado slices, popcorn, and sugar-free Jell-O make smart snack choices for in between meals.
It can be difficult when shopping to resist the temptation to pick up some of the food items that can cause problems by raising sugar levels, great looking pies and pastries come to mind or chocolate cakes or any highly sugared item. It has been suggested that a way to avoid such alluring foods is to shop with a pre-written list and buy only the items on the list that was compiled we care before leaving home.
Non-caloric sweeteners are an excellent way to satisfy that sweet tooth without raising blood sugar levels. These include Sweet ‘n Low, Necta Sweet, and Splenda. However, the safest and healthiest sweeteners for your diabetic menu are stevia, agave nectar, and natural sweeteners. Stevia is derived from an herb and has been deemed safe by the FDA. You can readily find it in most grocery stores. Agave nectar is derived from the agave plant and is much more concentrated than sugar. However, it does contain some carbohydrates so it should be used with caution. You may also use natural flavoring in your diabetic menu to add a little something extra to food or drink. Vanilla or almond extract, cinnamon, lemon, and lime are all safe for consumption.
Diabetes, if left untreated, can lead to the development of other serious and often life-threatening health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, limb amputation, eye disease and blindness – the leading cause of all of which is diabetes. Much of this can be avoided by following a well-designed diabetic menu from the time that the diabetic condition is first diagnosed. Don’t wait until the damage is done.