Following a diabetics diet is one of the most important treatments to manage diabetes. By working with a dietician to create an eating plan that is right for you, you can better manage your blood glucose levels, and reduce the amount of waste and fluid that your kidneys process.
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas cannot make insulin, causing sugar to pile up in your blood vessels. Often starting in childhood or as a young adult, people with type 1 diabetes have to take insulin to help get the sugar into their cells.
Even with type 1 diabetes, there are many diet restrictions that must be followed to not add additional stress to your organs, and to allow you to live a healthy life. Some general diabetic diet tips to follow include:
Tip #1: Know How Much and How Often
Working with a dietician, you will learn how much protein, carbohydrates and fat you can eat daily, as well as recommended levels of potassium, phosphorus and sodium. Because your diet will need to be lower in these minerals, it is important to avoid certain foods and carefully plan your meals to get the nutrients that you need.
Tip #2: Read Packages Carefully
People are often surprised to learn how much sodium is in seemingly healthy foods like soup and frozen foods. Also many soft drinks, teas and lemonades contain sodium as well as phosphorus, so it is important to read all food packages and take notes in a food diary. By keeping track of this information, you can plan your meals easier and make better choices when you have to eat out.
Tip #3: Practice Portion Control
Serving sizes are very important for diabetics. If you are not aware of a proper serving size, it is quite easy to eat what you think is one serving, but it actually is three or four servings. Working with a dietician can help you accurately measure a serving size.
Tip #4: Eat Meals of the Same Size Every Day
By regulating your meals and snacks as much as possible (to include the same portion, calorie count and carbohydrates content at the same time of the day), you can help keep your blood glucose levels more even. Working to create a balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat can also be very helpful, as unbalanced eating can easily cause your blood sugar to rise to unacceptable levels.
Tip #5: Use the Diabetic Food Pyramid
Study the diabetic food pyramid to gets some ideas on how many different kinds of foods you should be eating. It divides foods into groups based on what they contain, and it focuses on eating more foods from the bottom than the top of the pyramid. Follow the recommended calorie count given to you by your dietician, and use this chart to supplement that information (and help you make healthy food choices).
By following these tips, you can create a diet plan that can help you deal with type 1 diabetes, and keep your blood sugar as even as possible throughout the day.