I don't believe that anyone, including professionals can be 100% correct on this topic. The varied opinions are endless and therefore confusing to many.
After many years of living with diabetes, I have gone through various stages and formed various opinions concerning diet and diabetes in general. I have had the opportunity to discuss diabetes and diet with about a dozen diabetes specialists, ranging from dieticians, nutritionists, primary care physicians, gastroenterologists and endocrinologists. Many of these specialists had different opinions. Some of them seemed to totally contradict one another. There is one belief that many had in common, and that is what I would like to share and discuss with all.
First of all, let's start with what is basically considered a healthy diet in general, even if you don't have diabetes. It is commonly accepted that a good balance of carbs, protiens, and fats are the rule of thumb. The percentage of each falls into numbers roughly like 30% fat, 30% protein and 40% carbs. The percentages of these three can be adjusted according to ones health and condition to some extent. Also the amount of calories that an individual consumes each day is key to maintaining good health. Adjust and veer to far from these guidelines, and you could run into additional health problems in the long run.
So, what changes in diet should we make when we have diabetes ? As diabetes progresses, many will find that our bodies respond differently to the exact same foods or diet as they once did. Blood glucose, cholesterol, and blood pressure are three common culprits as examples. So now, do we eat to the condition, meaning that we alter our ratio of nutrients enough to control the diabetes, or do we take medication to control the diabetes and continue to eat a diet that is considered healthy for the general public as recommended by many dieticians, nutritionists and the RDA. What is the best and main course of action ? Flexibility should be and often is taken into consideration. Of course we can and should modify a healthy diet to some degree when need be. It is important not to lose sight of the fact that you have diabetes. Obviously our bodies will respond differently to a healthy diet, than one who does not have the same condition. SO WHY DO SO MANY PROFESSIONALS RECCOMMEND A SIMILAR DIET consisting of many of the same foods that are recommended for people without diabetes. If healthy people need certain nutrients in quantity and balance, does this mean that those with diabetes don't. Obviously, diabetes makes it difficult if not impossible for the body to absorb, and metabolize certain nutrients. VARIETY with healthy food choices is key to getting proper nutrition. Portion control is also imperative! Too many calories and your in the category like many, OVERWEiGHT. Cutting out to many healthy choices, especially carbs as many do, could be a poor choice with detrimental results in the long run. Carbs are instrumental to a healthy functioning body. If you are on a special diet, such as a low carb diet, you cannot be positive that this is a good choice now, or in the long run. You may be controlling your blood glucose as a result, but what other effects, short term and long term are taking place that you may not be aware of ?
Consider other choices and possibilities.
Make sure you are informed in what makes up a healthy food plan. Speak with an individual that is professionally and specifically trained in nutrition and diet. If you can't do this, then go to your library and do some research! Keep in mind the source of these professionals, and how and why they came to their opinions. Watchout for much of the bogus info that is out there. Much of it is in the form of books that don't hold ground in the long run!
Almost every professional that I have talked with, over the last 18 years are of similar opinions when it comes to diet. THERE IS NO SPECIAL DIET THAT THEY RECOMMEND FOR THOSE WITH DIABETES ! HEALTHY FOODS AND NUTRITITIONAL NEEDS FOR HEALTHY PEOPLE (IN GENERAL) ARE THE SAME FOR THOSE WITH DIABETES ! If you cannot eat a healthy diet and manage your diabetes effectively, than you need meds to accomplish both. Once you cross that boundary of not getting good nutrition through variety of foods, in an attempt to control your diabetes, you are heading for trouble in the long run. I have met quite a few people with diabetes that appear to be doing just that. I used to be one. Only you can decide. Obviously, we are all still learning.
Next Discussion: What to put on medical ids? »