The in-denial diabetic

 

A couple of weeks ago Papa T and I had a father/ daughter morning where I accompanied him for a doctor’s visit. We have been aware of his diabetes for a while now and seemed to believe it was all under control. Though during the doctor’s visit it was evident he wasn’t’ keeping it under control, his blood-glucose level had sky rocketed was on medication to try reducing and maintaining it. Studying nutrition has bought us to believe that food is our medicine and we shouldn’t need conventional western medication to ‘Band-Aid’ fix a problem. The amount of Australians with diabetes has almost tripled since 1989, and 1 in 20 pregnancies are affected by diabetes. So in saying this I thought I would put together a ‘dummies’ guide to dealing with diabetes through nutrition because sooner or later this is an issue that may not directly affect you but it may be someone around you (also a kick in the backside for Papa T to get his a** into gear and look after his health).

Diabetes lasts for a long time, often for a patient’s whole life. This is why management is a large concern.

In order for our bodies to work correctly we need to convert glucose (sugar) from food we consume into energy. Our body uses a hormone called insulin for the conversion of glucose into energy.

People who suffer from diabetes are no longer able to produce insulin or not produce a sufficient amount in the body. This means when someone with diabetes consume glucose, which is in foods like breads, cereals, fruit and starchy vegetables, legumes, milk, yogurt and sweets, it can’t convert into energy. Instead of being turning into energy the glucose stays in the blood. This explains why the blood glucose levels are higher in people with diabetes.

Now you would of have heard of type 1 and type 2 diabetes, but what’s the difference? Type 1 diabetes used to be called juvenile diabetes, because that’s when many people are diagnosed. It’s an autoimmune condition where the pancreas stops producing insulin, causing the blood glucose to become dangerously high. It can’t be avoided or cured and usually runs in families. The treatment is take insulin, either by injection or pump. Type 2 diabetes is the most common. Blood glucose levels rise because the pancreas either doesn’t produce enough insulin or the body can’t respond properly to the insulin supply. Type 2 diabetes has an increased risk if you are overweight (much like Papa T). If diagnosed, type 2 diabetes can be managed by diet, exercise and weight loss (if necessary).

Blood glucose control is more readily achieved by eating small, frequent meals that feature low GI foods, which help prevent spikes in your blood glucose levels.

Carbohydrates have a big impact on your blood sugar levels, more so than fats and proteins, but you don’t have to avoid them. You

just need to be smart about what types of carbs you eat.

In general, it’s best to limit highly refined carbohydrates like white bread, pasta, and rice, as well as soda, candy, and snack foods. Focus instead on high-fiber complex carbohydrates—also known as slow-release carbs. Slow-release carbs help keep blood sugar levels even because they are digested more slowly, thus preventing your body from producing too much insulin. They also provide lasting energy and help you stay full longer.

Simple rules can make big changes. Here are some small tips for substitution, try changing your white rice for brown rice, white potatoes for sweet potatoes or a cauliflower mash, regular pasta for whole-wheat pasta, white bread for whole-wheat or whole-grain bread, sugary breakfast cereals for high fiber cereals, instant oatmeal for rolled oats and pastry’s for bran muffins.

 

One food concern Papa T bought up during his doctor’s appointment was bananas. Yes that’s right. One of our all-time favourite fruits!! Bananas are an excellent source of vitamin B6, soluble fiber, and contain moderate amounts of vitamin C, magnesium and potassium. Many diabetics seem to think bananas are a no-go zone. But bananas are safe for diabetics. However, how ripe the banana is makes a difference. According to livingstong.com – Researchers reporting in the October 1992 issue of “Diabetic Medicine” found that participants in a study who ate overripe bananas had a fairly high glycemic response, meaning blood sugar levels were raised, demanding the use of more insulin. Those who ate bananas that had not fully ripened had a lower glycemic response. By contrast, neither kind of banana produced a blood sugar response as high as plain white bread. The researchers said up to 90 percent of the carbs in an under ripe banana come from starch, but when it ripens the carbs are mostly free sugars. They advise, therefore, that bananas, especially under ripe ones, are “an acceptable alternative as between-meal snacks for Type 2 diabetic subjects.”

 

Both types of diabetes are a serious issue, with good medical advice and a diabetic-friendly diet it is easily managed. Don’t forget with switching to low-gi foods and eating regularly you need to get enough exercise as well!

 

Click here for your diabetic friendly Cumin Brown Rice Salad recipe xo s&j xo