Diabetes is a disease that effects insulin production or usage. The hormone, insulin, is necessary to convert starches, sugars, and other food into much needed daily energy. Diabetes is a complicated disease and it is not completely understood how it develops. Genetics does appear to play a part in the role of the development of diabetes but even people who have a family link can prevent the disease by making smart lifestyle choices.
There are two main types of diabetes. Type 1 is found when the body does not produce insulin. Type 1 diabetes is found in 5%-10% of American people. Type 2 diabetes is the result of the body not using insulin correctly. Most diabetics have this type of diabetes. Depending on the type and severity of which diabetes you have you may or may not have to administer insulin or take an oral agent to control your blood sugar levels.
A major role in controlling blood glucose levels is diet. Eating a healthy diet involves some planning and counting. It is essential that a diabetic make certain to eat a well-balanced diet and plan out their eating very carefully to help control their blood sugar. Diabetes involves an intricate web of balancing medications, food, and exercise. If your diet is planned out it will help to avoid or lessen any complications of your condition.
A healthy diet will include eating a certain amount of vegetables, fruits, non-fat dairy items, whole grains, lean meat, fish, and poultry. Portion control is also a very important aspect to consider when planning out your food. Making healthy choices and choosing the best foods that will provide the most beneficial nutrition will do wonders for the management of your disease.
When diagnosed with diabetes it is extremely helpful to follow the Diabetic Food Pyramid. This was just released in 2005 and it has become an excellent resource for diabetes. The Diabetic Food Pyramid makes it simple to follow a healthy diet for diabetes. It is divided up into six sections. These sections are:
Fats, oils, and sweets: This is at the very top of the pyramid and the picture says it all. Very few of this food group is allowed as it can play havoc with your blood glucose levels.
Milk/Dairy: Two to three servings a day are recommended. Low-fat milk should be used.
Meat: Again, two to three servings a day are advised. This could include fish, poultry, or lean meat. It is best to select a lean meat and cut all fat off of it. Your meat should be anything but fried. You do not want to add any fat. Other options of this food category could include eggs or peanut butter.
Vegetables: These are very important to everyone and should include three to five servings each day. They could be either raw or cooked. This group could also include juices such as vegetable or tomato juice.
Fruits: Two to four servings a day are recommended. Your fruit category could include dried, canned, or fresh juice. You can also include fruit juice in this category, but portion control is the key in any diet. Fresh fruit is preferable as it allows for more fiber in the diet.
Whole-grains, beans, and starchy vegetables: This category allows for six or greater servings in a healthy diet for diabetes. This could include breads and crackers, preferably whole-grains, English muffins, bran cereal, brown rice, et cetera.
If you are a newly diagnosed diabetic it is important to consult with your doctor regarding diet. You might even want to consult with a dietician who specializes in this. Remember, although inconvenient, it is essential to come to terms with your diabetic condition and find the best possible meal plan for you to live a healthy and complication free life.