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Managing Diabetes Through Diet & Lifestyle!

Dt. Suraksha Shetty Shah 92% (124 ratings)
Diploma In Nutrition & Health Education
Dietitian/Nutritionist, Ahmedabad  •  13 years experience
Managing Diabetes Through Diet & Lifestyle!

Diabetes is a lifestyle disease, with the incidence mainly increased by changing lifestyles including food habits and sedentary way of life. How does it happen? The sugar that is consumed is metabolized by a hormone known as insulin. Diabetes can occur due to two reasons:

  • Reduced amount of insulin production
  • Increased amount of sugar levels beyond what the produced insulin can metabolize.

Risk factors: Diabetes can be genetic, but in most cases, it is acquired and the following are risk factors for the same.

  • Ethnicity (Hispanics, Latino Americans, Afro-Americans, etc.)
  • Dietary habits including excessive consumption of sugar(s), refined foods, processed foods
  • Impaired glucose tolerance
  • Developing resistance to insulin (thereby increased sugar levels)
  • Decreased amount of dietary fiber

Symptoms:

Management through Lifestyle changes:
Diabetes 1 which requires insulin is not preventable but type 2 diabetes is easily manageable through lifestyle changes. This can prolong the onset of getting diabetes and reduce the severity of the disease. It also helps reduce complications. This would require a combination of diet, lifestyle changes, and healthcare.
Diet:

  • Sugars are the main culprit, and refined sugar consumption should be reduced.
  • Oils, white rice, refined flour, processed foods, packaged foods, canned foods, etc. also to be reduced.
  • Increase the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables. This helps reduce calories and also increase fiber consumption.
  • When it comes to fats, increase consumption of unsaturated fatty acids and reduce saturated fatty acids.
  • Sufficient hydration ensures the toxins are washed off and the tissues are well hydrated.
  • Pack the diet with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Diabetes is considered a chronic inflammatory process, and including antioxidants in your diet ensures that the buildup of toxins is reduced and inflammation is controlled.
  • Avoid eating large portions at any meal. Small, frequent meals ensure the body receives an even spread of calories.
  • The size of the meal should reduce as the day goes along.

Lifestyle:

  • A routine exercise regimen helps in weight management, improved insulin function, and reducing fat accumulation. Pick what works for you - jogging, cycling, running, swimming, brisk walking, etc.
  • Quitting smoking has multiple benefits, and improved diabetes control is just one.
  • Weight management: Weight needs to be constantly monitored for deviations and immediate course corrections to be done
  • Stress management: Stress is a risk factor for diabetes and controlling stress helps improve diabetes control
  • Vigilance and Monitoring: Sugar levels need to be constantly monitored. Higher sugar levels or missed doses should be immediately corrected. Consult an Expert & get answers to your questions!
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