Diabetes is a very common medical condition that affects millions worldwide every year. Globally, an estimated 463 million adults are living with diabetes. The sad news is that there's no cure for diabetes. But the good news is that you can send diabetes into remission mode.
What exactly does it mean? Remission means that the problem would still be there but you won’t see or feel any symptoms and neither will it cause any hindrance in your daily life.
Technically, remission of diabetes means that blood glucose (or blood sugar) levels are in a normal range again. It’s crucial to note here that this doesn’t mean diabetes has gone for good. If you are a diabetic, and the disease has gone into remission mode for you, it’s still very important for you to get regular healthcare checks. But yes, it’s also true that being in remission can be life changing.So, how do you achieve that? How do you alleviate the symptoms and make your life, as a diabetic, a bit more comfortable?
For this, we caught up with Seema Eshwar, the senior dietician at NutriPal. We learnt how exactly diet therapy works for diabetes and what can be some actionable steps to achieve remission. Following are some interesting excerpts from the conversation.
“Diet therapy can help make your life better as a diabetic.” - Seema Eshwar
There may be instances when you feel that you have to live with diabetes, and this is what your life really is now, but it’s in those moments only that you need to remind yourself that your life can be better, shares Seema. A healthful, well-planned diet can actually help a diabetic manage diabetes. Furthermore, Seema shares that it is easier for a person to reverse type 2 diabetes with proper diet therapy.
This is primarily because of the fact that type 2 diabetes is not an autoimmune disease. It’s not something beyond control and a range of lifestyle habits can make it worse or help you make it better for yourself. And, it’s those lifestyle and dietary habits that you must learn to change. A patient of type 2 diabetes can bring their blood sugar levels back in the allowed range by making a few lifestyle and dietary adjustments. Eating habits, lifestyle and obesity both play a decisive role in the development of type 2 diabetes.
According to Seema, you can reverse the symptoms of type 2 diabetes by adhering to specific lifestyle changes including but not limited to improving your diet and exercise regimen.
Diet Therapy for Diabetes
Making changes to your dietary habits can help change the way your symptoms show up and impact your day to day life. However, it doesn’t mean that you have to starve yourself. Proper nutrition is mandatory for all people with diabetes.
Seema further shares that controlling blood glucose levels is only one goal of a healthy eating plan. A healthy diet plan that helps reverse diabetes should be aimed at maintaining a normal body weight, while making sure that there are no other common cardiac and vascular complications of diabetes.The diet plan should also be guided by the fact that there is no prescribed diet plan for diabetes and no single “diabetes diet”. Every person with diabetes has their own unique set of challenges. Seema says that she always makes sure that the eating plans are tailored to fit each individual's needs, schedules, and eating habits.
The diabetes diet plan must also be balanced with the intake of insulin and other diabetes medications. The principles of a healthy diabetes diet plan are the same for everyone. You have to consume healthy food items such as whole grains, fruits, non-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, vegetarian substitutes, poultry, or fish.And avoid food items such as sugar and sugary foods, sugary soft drinks, white bread, potatoes and white rice. But still, a diabetes diet chart can look strikingly different for two different individuals.
How Often Should Diabetics Eat?
People with diabetes can benefit from eating small meals throughout the day. In fact, for them it is a good idea to have multiple small meals throughout the day rather than having one or two heavy meals. According to Seema, no foods are absolutely forbidden for people with diabetes. However, whatever you eat, you must pay attention to the glycemic index (GI).
Consume food items with low GI value. Advance meal planning can also be a good concept for people with diabetes. It can help them enjoy the same meals as everyone else. Food items with low glycemic index raise blood sugar more slowly than high glycemic index foods. However, other factors must also be paid attention to. Studies indicate that the amount of carbohydrate you eat, rather than its GI rating, impacts blood glucose levels more. It's also important to eat a healthy, balanced diet that is low in fat, sugar and salt, and high in fibre like whole grain cereals, nuts and vegetables. Protein rich diet has made wonders in controlling blood glucose levels. It keeps up the satiety levels and also optimizes energy with portion control. If you want to try how diet therapy unfolds for you, a diabetes dietitian can help you work out a diet plan.
Meal timing and amount of insulin administration are additional considerations when planning a diet for people with type 1 diabetes.
To conclude, we see that although a fixed cure for diabetes doesn’t exist, you can certainly send the disease into remission mode through some lifestyle changes. Watch what you eat and don’t let yourself gain weight abruptly. If you are an obese, you stand a higher chance of developing diabetes. And, it’s also suggested that rather than struggling with diabetes alone, you get in touch with a qualified, professional nutritionist who can actually help you create a custom diet plan according to your eating habits.
When you try creating diet plans for yourself, you often end up starving your body of essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals, which defeats the whole purpose of sticking to a diet plan. Diabetes can’t be cured but it can definitely be managed through diet therapy. Book your free consultation with NutriPal today and learn more about how diet therapy can help improve the quality of your life.
Seema Eshwar, Senior Dietitian at NutriPal. She has over 4 years of experience & has coached over 2500+ clients having lifestyle disorders like obesity, diabetes, hypertension & multiple medical conditions like parkinson’s, autism & epilepsy.
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