Lifestyle is key to Diabetes Self-Management and Type 2 diabetes is largely preventable through proper nutrition, a healthy weight, physical activity and regular medical checkups.
Here are some nutrition tips for people living with Type 2 Diabetes.
- Follow a consistent meal plan and schedule.
- Eat a balanced diet with a variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and lean meat, poultry, fish or meat alternatives.
- Eat the right amount of carbohydrates for good blood sugar control. Your dietician or nutritionist can determine the amount of carbohydrate your body needs at each meal.
- Choose lower fat options and limit saturated and trans fats.
- Use sugar in moderation.
- Check the carbohydrate content in packaged goods by reading the nutrition labels.
- Get the recommended 20-35 grams of fibre per day. Fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grain foods are good sources of fibre.
- Drink plenty water. The amount needed may vary from person to person and day to day, and influences by various factors such as altitude, caffeine consumption activity level and weather.
Type 2 diabetes is closely linked to overweight, so aim to maintain a healthy weight through diet and regular physical activity. Being active helps the body better utilise insulin, which helps reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Check with your doctor before starting any exercise programme. Monitoring and controlling your blood sugar is a huge part of diabetes self-management. It’s wise for people living with diabetes as well as their family members to learn how and when to monitor blood sugar levels.
It’s best to check your blood glucose at different times throughout the day, including before and after meals. Depending on your type of diabetes and the treatment you’re on, you may need to check your blood sugar once every few days or multiple times a day. If you are managing diabetes with diet alone and your blood sugar is under control, you may need to check every few days. If your blood sugar is not well controlled and you are starting medications or taking insulin or pills that increase your insulin levels, you may be instructed by your doctor to check multiple times a day. Follow instructions from your health care team on frequency and times of day as this can help to identify blood sugar patterns which may need to be corrected.
When checking your blood sugar, follow the meter instructions and keep your strips in a tightly closed container at all times. Always check your blood sugar if you feel symptoms of high blood sugar (thirst, frequent urination, fatigue, blurry vision), or low blood sugar (lightheadedness, dizziness, confusion, sweating, shaking, fast or pounding heartbeat) and call your doctor if your numbers are very low or very high. It is important to immediately treat low blood sugar (less than 70 milligrams per decilitre or 3.8 millimoles) with a simple carbohydrate such as fruit juice (about 4 ounces), 3 glucose tablets or about 5-6 ounces regular soda.
Keep a log and write down your numbers whenever you check your blood glucose levels. This will make it easier to see your blood sugar patterns and know whether you are doing well.
- Check your blood sugar more often when you are sick, as infection can make blood sugar rise.
- Drink plenty fluids and continue taking your diabetes medications
If you have been throwing up or having diarrhoea for 6 hours, can’t keep any fluids down or your glucose levels are over target range; call your doctor or healthcare provider.
Grenada Food and Nutrition Council