Glucose Metabolism 101 – Dieting With Diabetes

For dieters with diabetes, understanding your glucose metabolism and how it affects your diet is crucial. With the proper lifestyle adjustments, it’s possible for diabetics to enjoy a normal, active, and healthy life, while protecting their long-term organ health.

Maintaining your glucose metabolism (also called your glucose glycogen metabolism or even insulin glucose metabolism) simply means managing the levels of sugar, or glucose, and insulin in your body. Glucose, or sugar, that is stored in your body as glycogen is moved and converted back to usable glucose when needed. Our cells use several distinct metabolic pathways to transfer the energy released when fuel molecules are changed to ATP for transportation.

Insulin and glycogen work together to keep your blood glucose concentrations normal. Even during dieting, healthy blood sugar levels are possible and necessary.

Plan Healthy, Non-restrictive Meals

Choose vegetables, fruits, and whole grains instead of foods high in sugars and saturated fats. Don’t skip meals. Your body responds to excess calories and fat by creating an undesirable rise in blood sugar.  A diabetes diet shouldn’t be as restrictive as it is healthy, rich in nutrients, and low in calories and fat.

Monitor Your Diabetes Medications

Even with a proper, nutritious meal plan, you need to make sure you’re testing your blood sugar regularly, taking your insulin and diabetes medications as prescribed, and reporting any changes to your doctor. Remember to store your medications properly, and never add dietary or over-the-counter supplements or medications to your routine without reviewing them with your physician.

Manage Your Stress

Getting off your diet or exercise plan, or being inconsistant with your medication due to stress will sabotage your weight loss and health. Make a plan for managing stress like learning breathing techniques, adding exercise or taking yoga.

Plan an Exercise Schedule

When you exercise your muscles use glucose for energy, breaking fat into fatty acids that can provide both energy and weight loss. Exercising regularly improves the way your body responds to insulin. Over time, steady exercise can help lower blood sugar levels.

Monitor Your Diabetes During Illness

During illness, your body produces hormones that fight the sickness. These hormones prevent insulin from working effectively and will raise your blood sugar level to promote healing. Closely monitor your blood sugar levels, and consult your doctor as needed.

Avoid Alcohol

The body will turn alcohol directly into glucose and affect your insulin glucose metabolism. Consult your doctor about how much alcohol is appropriate and when you can safely enjoy the appropriate amounts.

Prepare for Hormone Fluctuations

For women, your hormone levels can fluctuate during your menstrual cycle, and so can your blood glucose levels (especially the week before your period). Since hormones can interfere with blood sugar levels, it’s important to keep an accurate history of your levels during your menstrual cycle. Menopause can also trigger fluctuations in blood sugar levels, requiring medication adjustments.


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