Posted On Dec 01, 2021
3 min read
3 min read
Lifestyle modifications and dietary management are critical in reducing the risk of diabetes, especially in pre-diabetic patients. However, it is even more crucial in patients diagnosed with diabetes. Lifestyle modifications help to delay the progression of diseases, reduce the need for increasing the drug dose or alteration in the treatment regimen and lower the risk of diabetic complications.
Goal Of Dietary Changes In Diabetes Patients
The doctor advises the patients to undergo dietary changes to attain the following goals:
To maintain the optimal blood glucose and cholesterol concentrations
To enhance health through a balanced diet
To delay the progression of diabetes and reduce diabetes complications
To provide the body with the necessary energy for growth, development, and physical activity.
Diet In Diabetes
Dietary alterations are one of the initial methods for managing diabetes mellitus. Some of the food alterations include:
Avoid animal fat: Patients with diabetes should follow a low-fat diet. Lower the intake of animal fats such as lard or butter and prefer vegetable oils, especially polyunsaturated fats. Limit total fat consumption to about 1-2 g per meal.
High-fibre diet: Incorporate high fibrous foods in the diet. These include vegetables, oats, barley, and whole wheat. Slowly add food with high fibres to the diet to reach 40 g a day.
Incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables: Fresh Fruits like Cucumber, Guava and vegetables are a nutritionally necessary part of the diet. They are a good source of vitamins, minerals, and essential elements. They are also rich in cellulose fiber.
Eat food with a low glycemic index: Prefer to eat food with a low glycemic index. Foods with a low glycemic index are brown rice, sweet corn, dark leafy vegetables, and peas and lentils.
Small, frequent meals: Avoid taking large meals a few times a day. It may cause a spike in blood sugar levels. Patients should take food before they feel hungry. Patients should avoid intake of food at unnecessary times.
Use non-nutritive sweeteners: Diabetes patients should prefer non-nutritive sugars. These are saccharine and aspartame.
Reduced salt consumption: In many cases, high blood pressure is also present with diabetes. Reducing salt consumption helps in managing high blood pressure. Patients should avoid the foods that are rich in salt content, like chips.
Preparing food: The method of preparing food is also a necessary consideration in diabetic patients. Avoid using sugar and limit the quantity of salt. Further, avoid deep fat frying and prefer boiling, steaming, or roasting.
Consult with an internal medicine specialist in Salem if you have any concerns regarding the changes in diet.
Lifestyle Modifications In Diabetes
Some of the lifestyle modifications to manage diabetes are:
Healthy lifestyle counselling: It is important to counsel the patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Studies concluded that counselling assists in improving understanding and knowledge about diabetes. It also has a positive effect on altering the lifestyle and change in dietary habits.
Exercise: Physical activity is a necessary part of the complete diabetes care and management plan. Exercise helps to increase the consumption of sugar into energy. It also helps in lowering insulin resistance and allows the body to optimize the use of insulin. The patients should take advice from the doctor about the best exercise plan suitable for them. Moderate aerobic activity of 150 minutes a week is effective in most patients. The patients should maintain a scheduled exercise plan and frequently check their glucose levels. Staying hydrated is also critical as dehydration alters the blood sugar level.
Avoid smoking and alcohol: Smoking is not healthy for diabetes patients due to several reasons. It increases the risk of diabetes complications, such as kidney disease, stroke, eye disease, heart disease, and foot problems. It also reduces the capacity to perform the exercise. Diabetic patients should quit smoking.
The liver plays a crucial role in the management of blood sugar. However, being busy metabolizing alcohol may affect the performance of other functions. The patients should take advice from the doctor about consuming alcohol. Diabetic patients should quit consuming alcohol.
Managing stress: Prolonging stress may result in increasing the blood sugar level due to hormonal imbalance. Stress also derails the effective execution of a diabetes management plan. The patients should learn to cope with the stress through meditation, yoga, or exercise.
Weight management: Obese and overweight people found difficulty in maintaining a healthy blood sugar level. Further, obesity also increases the risk of other comorbid conditions, such as cardiovascular disease and high cholesterol levels. Exercise may help in losing body weight. Start with a target of losing a slight weight initially and progressively increase the target.
Keep motivated: Diabetes is a life-long condition, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle throughout life is easier said than done. A lot of motivation is required to stay in the race for good health. The patients should add variety and add new goals. They should seek help from family members and friends and track the success they achieved.
Consultant - Internal Medicine
Manipal Hospital, Salem