Diabetes Requires a Fundamental Change in the Diet


30. 09. 2019

Diabetes affects an increasing percentage of the population as well an increasing number of women who experience it during their pregnancy. Type 1 diabetes cannot be affected by a change in the diet. On the other hand Type 2 diabetes can be prevented to a large extent through active movement and a healthy lifestyle. 17 percent of pregnant women, of which a large percentage is represented by women over the age of 30, suffer from gestational diabetes.

Absolute lack of insulin: Type 1 diabetes mellitus

Diabetes develops as a result of an autoimmune destruction of cells responsible for the production of insulin. As a result, a permanent lack of insulin in the body occurs and it has to be administered throughout the rest of the life. This autoimmune disease of the pancreatic  cells can occur even during childhood or adulthood. Weight loss, stomach pains, vomiting and nausea are among some of the primary symptoms. Patients often suffer from headaches, can experience accelerated breathing and can even include gradual worsening of consciousness. Insulin therapy has to be combined with an appropriate diet including limiting white sugar intake and regulating polysaccharide intake.

Relative lack of insulin: Type 2 diabetes mellitus

This type is accompanied by insufficient effects of insulin inside the body of the patient.  It is often encountered by adult and child patients and is affected largely by weight gain. The disease begins occurring in the body often for several years in a row without the patient initially knowing that he/she is ill. It may first manifest itself through retina or kidney damage. Generally speaking, later stages of diabetes are associated with increased blood sugar levels where the patient experiences increased thirst, frequent urination and dehydration. The core of the treatment rests in reducing weight and increasing physical activity. Patients are given metformin or insulin depending on the stage the disease is in.

Pregnancy and gestational diabetes mellitus

Gestational diabetes usually starts developing during pregnancy and generally disappears after delivery. If diabetes is not treated during pregnancy, it represents a risk for both the mother and her child. Some of the most common complications associated with diabetes include preeclampsia, birth via a Cesarean section, premature birth, fetal weight of over 4000 grams and other possible developmental or birth-related complications. Children can also suffer from permanently impaired intellect, propensity towards obesity or suffer from the metabolic syndrome. Diabetes can be diagnosed during a standard examination during which the patient undergoes an oral glucose tolerance test (oGTT). Prior to administering 75ml of glucose, a blood sample is taken and then again in one hour intervals (twice). This test is carried out between the 24th and 28th week of pregnancy. In case of a positive finding, the future mother must follow a prescribed diet and be monitored by a dietitian. 

Diet: Consumption of foods with a low glycemic index is the key

Patients with insulin deficiency have a different diet to patients suffering from gestational diabetes.  Patients who have type 2 diabetes should consume food regularly in smaller amounts, 6x each day. The diet should be composed of healthy foods  - lean meat, poultry, eggs, fish, cereals in combination with legumes, fruits, vegetables, potatoes, whole grain baked goods, whole grain pasta and rice. Undesired foods include fatty meat, cream, jasmine rice and white baked goods. With type 1 diabetes patients as well others suffering from other types of diabetes, the glycemic index of food plays a key role. Even in this case, patients must maintain strict dietary measures.

Pregnant women must respect the diet until they give birth and their diet should not contain foods with artificial sweeteners  or some dairy products which are known to increase blood glucose levels.  Other items which are forbidden include smoked meats, flavorings (such as ketchup), soft drinks and women should not consume white baked goods, rice and foods that have a high glycemic index. It is essential to ensure a steady intake of food.

Sample menu for people suffering from diabetes

Diabetes patients should seek foods which have a low glycemic index and ensure that they heat treated appropriately. Ensure that you drink sufficiently and that you have a steady and regular intake of food.

  • Breakfast: White yoghurt with oatmeal, grated apples and linseed
  • Snack: A slice of whole grain bread with low-fat curd spread over it, sprinkled with herbs
  • Lunch: Spaghetti with cooked turkey meat and tomatoes (the meat can be fried lightly on a minimum amount of rapeseed oil)
  • Snack: White kefir (yoghurt) milk
  • Early dinner: Whole grain bread or knackebröt (80 g) with curd, ham and cheese and cucumber salad
  • Late dinner: Tomatoes, carrots and cucumbers – any combination of vegetables (total energy value totaling approximately 200 kcal)

Sample menu for women with gestational diabetes

  • Breakfast: Rye bread with butter, ham and an egg, tomato
  • Snack: Curd with fruits
  • Lunch: Cooked fish with vegetables and potatoes
  • Snack: Good cheese with nuts
  • Early dinner: Vegetable or meat broth with wheat-rye bread, vegetables
  • Late dinner: A little of bit of baked goods

Women who suffer from gestational diabetes have to regularly attend consultations with a dietitian where they have to discuss any planned changes to the diet with the doctor.

Do you suffer with diabetes or need help compiling your diet menu? Would you like to change it from scratch? Call us on (+420) 235 360 133 to book an appointment with our specialist who will be able to help you not just in treating diabetes, but also by compiling a strict diet plan. 

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