Having been recently diagnosed with pre-diabetes, and having yet to see the dietician, I’ve been wondering a lot about what I should be eating and what I should not. See, I had the idea that perhaps if a person is pre-diabetic, perhaps they should start eating like they are already trying to control diabetes.
Of course, anything I read about it just basically says that one should lose weight and that in itself can control or delay the onset of actual diabetes. There are articles that were promoting following a strict diet plan while others advocating for liposuction in Michigan as a safe and efficient process to get rid of the belly fat. But, I thought to myself, it’s better to exercise caution. So, I’ve been reading up on how diabetics eat.
It seems to me that most of what I read suggests that one should count carbohydrates. Not in the weird Atkins kind of way, but in fact should try to get a certain amount of carbs into each meal. The difference between the diabetic diet and the Atkins diet is that the diabetic diet recognizes that we need carbohydrates to fuel our body; that is what we use to garner energy. And, though they also recommend a definite amount of protein in the daily diet, they don’t put their stamp of approval of fried, fat-laden-dripping-with-grease meat. Lean protein is the key.
Really, a diabetic diet is good for anyone. What is important is being consistent about having regular mealtimes, which reduces overeating and encourages careful planning. Also, diabetics eat a lot more complex carbohydrates – the good ones-and try to avoid simple carbohydrates – the bad ones. We should all be doing that. Also, they emphasize balance. Each meal contains a variety of foods in sensible combinations that focuses mostly on whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Nutritional value is high and fat and calories are also down because weight control and heart health are very important components to maintaining a healthy lifestyle for a diabetic.
Also, diabetics often use charts that include something called an “exchange.” An “exchange” equally has the same amount of carbohydrates, or protein, etc as other foods in the same group on the list. So, you could eat, for example, either an apple or some pasta. (This is the example given on the Mayo Clinic website). Blood sugar fluctuates more if a person eats varied amounts of carbohydrates at meals or different parts of the day, and this makes diabetes harder to manage, regardless of whether or not the patient takes insulin or another diabetic drug.
The best advice is to try not to panic but take your diagnosis seriously. See a registered dietician as soon as possible, whether you’re diabetic or just pre-diabetic. When given the choice of life or death, it becomes easier to make lifestyle changes.