PROPER DIET FOR DIABETICS

Being a diabetic doesn't imply that the person cannot enjoy his food anymore and has to be on "special" diets all the time. This is one of the many assumptions we have about diabetic people. This is not true. It does not mean that diabetic people can eat anything they want. Diabetes is a very serious disease and should be treated accordingly. Once you have been diagnosed, it is of the utmost importance that you follow all diet plans given by the doctor and keep a strong check on what you eat and what you should.

So, how does a diabetic person go about planning his diet? Firstly , the person should be fully educated about what food types are good for him and what are not. This includes complete research about the extent of his problem, discussions with a doctor and a nutritionist to decide on what food items will be good for him and which will be bad for him. After a diet plan has been chalked out, he should make sure he sticks to the plan no matter what. This is of the utmost importance because even slight variations can aggravate his condition and lead to many complications.

Three steps are essential to accomplish this:

- What to eat? What types of food items should be consumed?

- When to eat? Generally, the timing for the consumption of food should roughly be the same every day.

- Balancing out the different foods. This implies eating all foods in the right balance. There should not be consumption of a particular food in large quantities.

Keeping all of the above in mind, a food pyramid should be followed. This is the easiest way to keep your diet in check. The food pyramid is created as follows:

- At the bottom we have the whole grain breads, rice and other starchy vegetables like potatoes. This is the largest part of each meal. This should be taken in 6-11 servings per day. This implies that 40-60% of calories should be consumed from carbohydrates . Starchy vegetables and beans are in this group because they contain as much carbohydrate in one serving as a slice of bread.

- The next higher level is composed of vegetables. All vegetables, being low fat and high in fibre content, vitamins and minerals are good choices. These include but are not limited to spinach, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes etc. At least 3-5 servings should be chosen in a day.

- Next layer is fruits, which also contain some carbohydrates. These also, like vegetables, contain vitamins, minerals and fibres. At least 2-4 servings should be taken every day of fruits like apples, bananas, peaches, pears etc.

- Next comes the milk and dairy products. These products are a great source of protein and calcium. At least 2-3 servings should be chosen per day.

- All the meat and some dairy products are also present on this level. These include chicken, beef, turkey, eggs, cheese etc. Here the portions should be kept small.

- The least preference should be given to fats, sweets and alcohol which are the topmost layer of the pyramid. These include all the food items like cake, candy, cookies etc.

Finally simple things like being careful when eating out, reading labels when you buy food products and keeping count of carbohydrates should make your diet planning an easy task.