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Eating for type 2 diabetes

Being told that you have diabetes can be overwhelming, yet one person in Australia receives this news every five minutes. So, does it mean an end to eating all of the foods you enjoy?

We often hear the mantra that living healthily is all about balance. It is perhaps reassuring to know that this is also true of controlling diabetes through what you eat. Of course, it depends on what type of diabetes you have and also upon what is recommended by your doctor.

Type 1 diabetes is where the body does not produce insulin. This results in high levels of blood sugar and needs to be treated with daily doses of insulin. Type 2 diabetes is a long-term metabolic disorder. In type 2, the body does not use insulin correctly, and is characterised by high sugar levels, which can more easily be controlled through diet and exercise.

Keeping your blood sugar levels normal is crucial for type 2 diabetes and these can be controlled via a balanced diet and monitored through regularly measuring blood glucose. Aside from that, the following tips for healthy eating can help:

Eat regularly
Try to make sure you eat regularly and space out your meals throughout the day.

Portion control
Serve your food on a small plate. For a main meal, dish out your vegetables first so that they fill up your plate. Resist having a second helping.

Cut down on fat (as far as possible)
Fat is essential for a healthy, balanced diet but you don’t need very much. Aim to cut back on saturated fat, found in foods made from animal products, such as cheese, red and processed meats, butter, ghee, cakes and pastries.

Keep an eye on carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are also an essential fuel for life, but you can eat healthier sources, such as wholegrains, oatmeal, beans, nuts and unsweetened yoghurt.

Eat your five a day
It seems ‘an apple a day’ does more than keep the doctor away. Apples are full of soluble fibre, which slows down the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream. Grapes and blueberries are also linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. You might be sick of the sight of smashed avocado, but this rich fruit is high in monounsaturated fats and may improve insulin sensitivity. Five portions of fruit and vegetables will give you all the vitamins, fibre and minerals that you need each day.

Drink more water
Aim to drink eight to 10 glasses of water a day. You don’t have to cut alcohol and sugary drinks altogether but keep an eye on how much you drink.

It could be helpful to visit a dietician and review your diet regularly. Getting active and remaining so is also thought to help the body to manage insulin. To find out more about controlling diabetes the natural way, visit Diabetes Australia.


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