Food is an important factor in managing diabetes. Healthy eating is important to manage diabetes and improve long-term health. Healthy eating guidelines for people with diabetes are the same as those for all Australians; therefore healthy eating can be enjoyed by the entire family. Healthy eating can assist your diabetes to:
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Provide your body with all the nutrients it requires.
- Keep blood glucose levels at a healthy level.
- Keep cholesterol levels at a healthy level.
- Maintain healthy blood pressure.
Healthy eating for diabetes can be achieved by:
- Eat 3 regular meals each day to maintain blood glucose levels. Snacks may be required between meals depending on your medication or insulin regimen. This can be discussed with your dietitian or GP.
- Choose foods that are low in fat. Foods that are low in fat can help to keep your blood fats at a healthy level, and to maintain a healthy weight.
- Consume a moderate amount of carbohydrates at each meal
- Choose low glycaemic index (G.I) carbohydrates. Low G.I carbohydrate foods help to maintain blood glucose levels at a healthy range.
- Eat foods that are high fibre to help control cholesterol and maintain blood glucose levels. High fibre foods include whole fruits, wholemeal or wholegrain breads and cereals.
- Maintain a healthy body weight. If you are overweight, your body’s insulin needs to work overtime and can be less efficient. Whereas if you reduce your body weight, insulin can work more effectively to control blood glucose levels.
- Participate in regular physical activity and be active. Regular exercise can assist to reduce body weight, improve blood glucose levels and reduce blood pressure.
- If you choose to drink alcohol, consume in moderation. Consume no more than 1 standard drink for women and men to consume no more than 2 standard drinks per day. For men and women it is recommended to have at least 2 alcohol free days per week2.
- Choose foods low in salt and avoid adding salt to meals. Salt can contribute to high blood pressure.
- Have regular check-ups with your GP to monitor and discuss blood glucose levels.
1. Diabetes SA 2010, ‘Food choices for people with diabetes’, viewed 14 June 2013, http://www.diabetessa.com.au/images/stories/pdf/NDSS/Information-Sheets/15-food-choices-for-people-with-diabetes.pdf
2. National Health and Medical Research Council 2009, ‘Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol’, viewed 28 March 2013, http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/publications/synopses/ds10syn.htmll
3. Diabetes SA 2009, ‘Healthy snacks and diabetes’, viewed 14 June 2013, http://www.diabetessa.com.au/images/stories/pdf/NDSS/Information-Sheets/21-healthy-snacks-and-diabetes.pdf
4. Diabetes SA 2012, ‘Information about sugar’, viewed 14 June 2013