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Nov 9, 2017

Healthy Living – a Food Plan for Diabetics

World Diabetes Day will be commemorated next Tuesday. This weekend the Diabetes association will be having its annual Ride Out Diabetes fundraiser. While, exercise is an important element in maintaining diabetes, it must be complemented with a proper diet. Tonight in Healthy Living, we look at the elements of a proper diet for diabetics.

 

Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

Eating right is important for everyone but if you are living with diabetes; it is crucial that a healthy balanced diet is integrated into your everyday routine. In fact, while medication and exercise will help in maintain proper sugar levels; the control starts with your diet. According to Clinical Nutritionist at Belize Healthcare Partners, Doris Sutherland, they see diabetic patients all too often with unregulated sugar.

 

Doris Sutherland

Doris Sutherland, Clinical Nutritionist

“When it comes to seeing patients with diabetes we see almost on a daily basis either here in the clinic or in the general wards. Most of the patients that come here have very high level of blood sugars; patients who have never controlled their blood sugar despite living with the disease for as much as ten years.”

 

When your body can’t make or properly make insulin; it is the foods that you eat that will help to keep you in the proper blood sugar range for your body. Despite common misconceptions of cutting out food groups altogether. Doris advises that the right types of food and a proper eating schedule will keep you on track.

 

Doris Sutherland

“The body does need glucose. But we need to have the right amount and the right type of glucose. What happens in the body in a patient with diabetes is that when they eat carbohydrate these tend to digest and then they get absorbed into different organs in the body. So in a patient with diabetes, sometimes they eat large amounts of carbohydrates or unhealthy carbohydrates so the amount of sugar the body produces is too much that the body can’t hold or the liver can’t hold and it goes directly into the blood stream leading to high blood sugar. The biggest mistake when it comes to diet it’s not only seeing that they are not consuming the right amount carbohydrates but also realizing that the time of the day they are consuming these meals and then most of them tend to not eat regularly at the same time or they tend to skip meals. And during this time the sugar goes very low then when they finally get to have a meal the sugar gets very high. They do also need to consume certain amounts o fats. Not too much fats because it’s also shown that consuming too much oily foods or too much with unhealthy fats can also lead to high blood sugar levels. Since it affects the liver and the liver is where the insulin needs to be produced so we also have to moderate the amount of oil.”

 

Other than stabilizing your meal times, portions size and balancing nutrients; you can use some supplements, provided that you are aware of what it contains: like sugar and calories.

 

Doris Sutherland

“The glucerna has been proven to help the patient lose weight, which is also a big step to help regulate the blood sugar. However, we need try to avoid abusing the use of these supplements because other than helping to lose weight it still has a large amount of calories. So we try to use it as a meal replacement or as a replacement for dairy since cow’s milk still has some sugar even though its light. We would use the glucerna as a replacement.”

 

What about sugar intake? Some mistakes diabetics make is relying too much on sugar substitutes and even natural sugars.

 

Doris Sutherland

“One of the things we need to eliminate is the consumption of sugar foods. And not only foods that have sugars but also substitute sugars. Substitute sugar has been shown to increase blood sugar levels since they alter the taste. When we have something made out of splenda. It alters the taste in our mouths so it confuses the brain and tends to have us eat more. So other natural sugars you also want to avoid substitute sugars.  When it comes to fruit the patient would have to have about 1 to 2 servings for the entire day preferable as a snack and not along with a meal that already has carbs because it will add more sugar to the diet. Very sweet fruits would be watermelon, mangoes, grapes, bananas. Those would be the ones that we would try to stay away from the most. Or have small portions? Or have smaller portions. But some patients not even smaller portions will help.”

 

Sutherland noted that diabetes is the number one reason for kidney failure, amputations, and neuropathy; which is why she encourages all diabetics to adapt a healthy eating plan and pattern to properly regulate their blood sugars.

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