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Diabetes – how to eat

How to eat if you have diabetes

The main issues for diabetics, especially those who are recently diagnosed, is accepting there is a need to cut out sugary food and refined carbohdrates immediately, including white pasta, breakfast cereals, soft drinks, sauces containing sugar and excessive amounts of fruit. It’s important to eat deliberately and frequently in order to maintain a steady blood glucose level.

There is a need for high antioxidant support to counteract the negative effects of free radicals and this is best done by eating a rainbow of nutrients.

Type 1 diabetics constantly need to monitor their blood sugar which is always changing and there is a great deal of trial and error in portion size, carbohydrate count as in the beginning as you begin to understand what can cause your blood sugar to spike and how insulin works in terms of speed and timing. A low carbohydrate, low glycaemic diet high in unprocessed foods, namely lots of non-starchy vegetables, lean protein, good quality anti-inflammatory fats and some fruit and little or no alcohol.

Soluble fibre such as legumes, oat bran nuts, seeds, psyllium husk, pears, apples and most vegetables slow digestion and absorption of carbohydrate. This helps to prevent rapid rises in blood sugar and increases tissue sensitivity to insulin.

Too much fat can be oxidised quickly and diet should be relatively low in saturated or animal fat.

Type 2 diabetics should potentially consider intermittent fasting methods, namely a 14-hour break between dinner and breakfast to enable liver glycogen stores to be used. This is not a good choice for a type 1 diabetic as it may increase the risk of a spike in blood sugar levels as the liver releases sugar and consequently the risk of suffering a hypoglycaemic episode.

Botanicals which are helpful for managing blood sugar are green tea, fenugreek and cinnamon. Milk thistle is also very useful as it helps to improve liver clearance of fats and increase glutathione levels, your body’s endogenous antioxidant.

Useful supplements include:

  • Chromium, which works with insulin to assist glucose uptake into cells
  • Alpha-lipoic acid is a great antioxidant and is known to improve insulin and reduce oxidative stress, inflammation and is useful in the chelation of heavy metals
  • Magnesium, which is depleted when the body is under stress and plays an essential role in the transportation of glucose into cells
  • Zinc is an important antioxidant and regulates insulin receptor activity

Other factors to consider are understanding both the immediate and the long-term risks associated with diabetes and making choices about how to avert these.

Carolina is running a webinar on the 1st February on Cancer. If you are interested please visit her site for more information.