8 tips on how to live with diabetes and eat like anyone else

Yes,  you heard me well. In those days, we had what was the “diabetic diet”. All that has changed today. Someone living with diabetes can and should eat like anyone else. However,  these are the caveat:

  1. Someone living with diabetes should avoid eating food and taking drinks or beverages rich in refined sugar eg ice-cream, sugar rich sodas etc.

  2. People living with diabetes should eat whatever food other members of the family are eating.  They should no longer have a separate pot of food. However,  the people living with diabetes should eat small – moderate quantities of food  spread over 5 – 6 meals per day. Their food should contain starch, protein, fat and vitamins/minerals like any other person.

  3. They should  take  most fruits and vegetables in moderate quantities; avoiding some with high glycaemic index such as pineapple and very ripe fruits.

  4. People living with diabetes should avoid alcohol and tobacco smoking….as both habits increase the  risks of  cardiovascular death to the diabetic patients.

  5. It’s erroneous to  deny people living with diabetes starchy or carbohydrate rich foods because of fear of the blood sugar rising. Such food types are energy giving food which diabetic patients need for their well-being and  day to day  activities. When denied such food,  they lose weight, are weak and tired most times.  The key word  as regards their diet is moderation……small but frequent meals.

  6. People living with diabetes who have other associated illnesses such as kidney diseases, hypertension or cholesterol abnormalities should reflect that in what they eat eg those that have hypertension should take low salt diet and those who have cholesterol issues should eat white meat (from chicken,  fish, turkey  etc)  in preference to red meat (from goat, cow, lamb, etc).

  7. People living with diabetes should avoid liquid or syrub medications eg blood tonics, cough syrups etc as much as possible because most of them are preserved with glucose and can cause high blood sugar levels.

  8. Finally, people living with diabetes who are on insulin  injections should always have some cubes of sugar or sugar rich soft drinks around them. Why?  To correct hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) which could result as a side effect of insulin injections. Making such provisions could be life saving. It is  not the physician’s intentions that a diabetic patient should have  hypoglycemia but this complication (potentially fatal)  can occur.

In conclusion,  the era of very  strict dietary restrictions for someone living with diabetes is gone. With the current  dietary recommendations, someone living with diabetes has a better quality of life as he/she goes about his/her daily activities.

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