Diabetes is a highly prevalent chronic disease in the Mexican population (ENSANUT 2012). Some important issues include:
- There is no cure for diabetes, but there is a way to control it and delay any possible complications.
- What is the recommendation? A healthy diet and daily physical activity, in addition to the medication prescribed by your doctor.
- Achieving and maintaining an adequate weight is essential, in case of being overweight or obese.
Although a diet for a patient with diabetes should be individualized, here are some recommendations that will help you handle this condition:
- Your meal plan must include foods that stabilize glucose levels, as those that contain fiber, or are low in sugar and saturated fat.
- Include plant-based, wholegrain food, such as whole grains, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and fruits.
- Select foods with higher nutritional quality, such as vegetable oils instead of butter, margarine, and coconut oil (high in saturated fat), skim or semi-skimmed milk, and lean meats (fish is an excellent choice).
- Limit consumption of foods that excessively increase blood glucose, such as sweets, white bread and rice, potatoes, breakfast cereals (including corn flakes), sugar and processed foods high in sugar.
- It is not required to consume vitamins or minerals as supplements if you do not present any deficiency.
- Foods labeled as “suitable for diabetics” are not necessary for a proper control of the disease. These products are often more expensive, and do not provide any additional benefits.
- Exercise helps you maintain stable glucose levels during the activity and within the next 24 hours afterwards.
- It is recommended to accumulate 150 minutes (2 and a half hours) of moderate physical activity per week, such as walking or cycling.
- Avoid not exercising for more than 2 days in a row.
- Try not to spend more than 90 minutes seated, or perform some light exercise after this time.
- When you begin to exercise, monitor your glucose levels before and after the activity to know how your body reacts, and prevent hypoglycemia.
For an adequate management of your diabetes, it is advisable to consult your doctor and nutritionist on a regular basis.
American Diabetes Association. La elección de alimentos saludables.
Gutiérrez JP, Rivera-Dommarco J, Shamah-Levy T, Villalpando-Hernández S, Franco A, Cuevas-Nasu L, Hernández-Ávila M. Encuesta nacional de salud y nutrición 2012: Resultados Nacionales. Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública; 2012.
Harvard Medical School. Glycemic index and glycemic load for 100+ foods. Available from: http://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/glycemic_index_and_glycemic_load_for_100_foods
National Health Service UK. Type 2 Diabetes. Available from: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Diabetes-type2/Pages/Treatment.aspx