It could be challenging hearing that news for the first time – “you are diabetic (high blood sugar)”. At that point, a lot of questions run through the mind of those affected. Some might even feel so sad while some might develop mild depression at that initial stage. It feels as if their whole world has turned around.
There are several reasons why they feel this way. To some, it’s the problem of taking drugs throughout their life, some might even feel this way because of the cost associated with caring for this disease. Some people have heard or read about several complications of diabetes, they don’t want to experience this. Some believe that being diabetic has restricted them to 1 or 2 foods throughout their life time. They feel they can no longer eat what they want. Surprisingly, most people don’t know why they think this way. They have the belief that any individual with high blood sugar can eat only proteinous food.
Some people might not even have these feelings initially, they tend to have it when their blood sugar is not well controlled. This could really be hard. What then should you eat if you have diabetes? The purpose of this article is to clear the myth associated with diabetic meal and give answer to your question.
Table of Contents
Briefly, what is high blood sugar?
High blood sugar means your body can no longer handle the level of sugar in your blood. Your body has been wired to convert any sugar you eat into what it can make use of, or store. By sugar, we don’t mean the sugar you use for tea, its better referred to as glucose. Any carbohydrate food you eat is converted to glucose, used up as energy to power your body or stored in your liver.
Your pancreas produces what your body needs for this conversion. Unfortunately in some cases, the pancreas refuses to produce insulin or its production is not in enough quantity, the challenge then begins. Excess glucose is seen in your blood. To others, their body produces enough insulin but it seems not to be sensitive to the excess glucose in their blood. You need to know that the body has been wired in such a way that when there is excess glucose in the blood, the body sensitizes it and a cascade of event takes place leading to the release of insulin. In some people it doesn’t really work that way. They therefore develop diabetes.
Should I stop eating carbohydrate now that I have high blood sugar?
Your body is like a machine. Machine needs fuel or electricity to function. It must be powered by either of this to function appropriately. Can you fuel a machine sparingly once in a month and it won’t wear out without giving signal? That is exactly what happens in your body. A lot of organs including brain needs glucose to function. There are some messengers in your body called neurons which the body sends to the organs and its other part when it receives any signal. These messengers must eat. Their food is glucose.
What gives you glucose – carbohydrate? What then happens if you stop eating carbohydrate? I am sure you could guess the answer to this. Let me clarify that excess sugar also destroy these messengers. This means these messengers detest low and high blood sugar.
I understand you may seem confused at this point. You don’t need to. What the statement means is that you must eat the expected quantity of carbohydrate for people living with diabetes. It must not be too much and you can’t avoid carbohydrate completely. You should also take your medications and follow your physician’s advice.
Should I also stop eating fat?
Your body especially the cells need fat to remain active. There are different types of fat. Research has shown that there is a type of fat that your body can still make use of without feeling a significant level of harm while there are some types you should avoid. Since the body needs fat, what you need to do is to eat the good fat and leave the bad ones.
What are the examples of this good fat? The sources include fish, avocado, nuts (almonds, cashew nut, walnut, and chestnut, peanut), and oils (like olive oil, soya bean oil, peanut oil or any undiluted oil from plant).
Which food should you avoid?
As you have seen, you need a balanced diet to stay healthy, you cannot afford to do away with any of these nutrients. The way forward is to eat each nutrient in the right quantity as recommended by your dietician. Below is an example of what your plate should look during any meal.
Other important points to note
Imagine an individual that has been eating a bowl of meal for the past few decades who is told by the physician to start eating food as recommended. It could be really be challenging. I do advise people that achieving that is not a day work. We recommend that you reduce the quantity of carbohydrate you eat gradually and replace that quantity with equal amount of vegetables. The vegetables will fill you up and the good thing is that you will not feel hungry on time. You should reduce this quantity until you achieve your target as recommended by your dietician.
In some situation, you may feel hungry in between meals, I recommend that you eat healthy snacks like nuts, cucumber, carrot, garden egg etc.
The journey to achieving the above might be challenging. It’s not usually smooth but you can do it. You can live healthy while ensuring your blood sugar is well controlled.
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