Living With Diabetes Isn't Easy But it Can Be Done
One of the worst pronouncements that an adult can receive is a diagnosis of Diabetes. Despite being a major part of the American health culture, Diabetes remains a serious problem that results in major complications and sometimes in death. Whether suffering from Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes, the body is no longer properly handling its blood sugar. The body is no longer processing sugars that run through the bloodstream and breaking them down.
Diabetes is a dangerous balancing act. Allowing blood sugars to run too low can be very dangerous and potential result in a person falling into a diabetic coma. Allowing blood sugar levels to get too high for a sustained amount of time can result in severe complications. This can include nerve damage, vision damage or even losing your foot. There will be a lot of medical treatment and planning that comes into play once being diagnosed. This article will focus more on the lifestyle aspect of being diagnosed with diabetes.
The first lifestyle change that anyone with Diabetes is going to have to make is to their diet. Specifics will come later, but in general, this means they need to manage their sugar/carb intake to low manageable levels without cutting them out entirely. This can mean eating out far less as there may be hidden sugars within food that’s ordered.
The second lifestyle change is going to come in regards to fitness levels. Quite simply, diabetics who are in good shape will manage their disease much better than those who are not. Diabetes is intrinsically linked with obesity. Diabetics store excess sugar as fat to a critical level, so it’s very easy to “balloon up” very quickly if they lose control quickly. Exercise also helps to bring blood sugars down. It’s one of the main ways that a diabetic can sometimes treat themselves. Some for example will allow themselves a small slice of pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, but go for a 30 minute walk afterwards to help balance out some of the effects.
Exercise is crucial and a minimum of 2 ½ hours of moderate level exercise is a good baseline for a diabetic. While it can be a tough switch for people to get into exercising more as a diabetic, it’s one lifestyle change that will really help your health in all aspects.
Common Diabetic Food Options
There’s a lot of things that will be needed to manage a proper diabetic diet. Contrary to belief, you don’t want to eliminate all sources of sugar/carbohydrates. You need low amounts during meals and to avoid them at other times of the day.
Increasing fiber intake is a must. Fiber is technically a carbohydrate but is not included when you are counting your carbs for a meal. Fiber will assist the body in a number of ways, so switching from something like white bread to a high fiber seed bread will really help any diabetic find more to eat.
The diabetic diet isn’t particularly complicated in theory, but difficult in execution. Meals should have consistent low levels of carbohydrates and if meals are far spaces, then small boosts through snacks are a must. Meeting with a dietician can really help with this. With only a few exceptions, vegetables are fantastic and good in any situation. Lean proteins are also crucial for a diabetic. When sugars are too high, the body will store excess sugar as fats very quickly. Keeping a balance of lean protein going helps.
There are plenty of foods that people think are healthy, but are quite dangerous for diabetics. First up is juice. When taking the juice from any fruit, it concentrates the sugars involved. Just 1 cup of juice can have as much as 2 ½ of the actual items. For example, most apple juices may have around 35g of carbs in a cup of juice, while a medium sized apple itself is closer to 15g. Obviously the size of the fruit matters, but juice is a big red flag. Condiments are also something people often forget about when they are considering their food. Many condiments use a fair bit of sugar to please the taste buds or balance out tartness. Ketchup is an example of something that’s surprisingly packed in sugar. Finally, beware items like diet sodas. While they don’t have any sugar and are a nice treat, some studies show that they increase the craving for sweet items. It becomes easier for a diabetic to slip up and reach for a donut because their craving has grown too strong and they feel the zero carbs from their soda balances it out.
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