It's a mistake to think that diabetes means you have to abstain from the pleasures of the palate. Information, not deprivation, is the solution!
NUTRITION IS THE FOUNDATION!
People living with type 2 diabetes generally know that effective blood glucose control depends first and foremost on a healthy, balanced diet, physical activity, and maintaining a healthy weight. When these measures are not enough, it is then necessary to turn to medication.
Treatment of type 1 diabetes is based on insulin therapy. However, people living with this type of diabetes also stand to benefit from adjusting their eating habits to achieve their objectives for better health. For example, they need to learn how to calculate the dose of insulin they need, based on the amount of carbohydrates (sugars) consumed during meals and snacks.
READING FOOD LABELS
Carbohydrates contained in food directly impact blood glucose. Commercially packaged food products bear a label on which a lot of information can be found. Nutrition labelling indicates the energy value (in calories), the content of certain nutrients such as carbohydrates, protein, and lipids, as well as certain vitamins and minerals of a given product. You will also find the list of ingredients.
In the nutrition facts table, you will find, among other things, the amount of carbohydrates contained in the serving size indicated at the top of this table. At first, it may be difficult to interpret the information listed on the nutrition label. You can visit the Diabetes Quebec website for additional information.
For instance, it can be interesting to consult the list of ingredients to know if a product contains sugar or a sweetener. The label sometimes indicates "no added sugar". In this case, it does not mean that the product does not contain any carbohydrates, but rather that no sugar has been added to the carbohydrates already present.
Learning to read the labels will help you make better food choices. Don't hesitate to ask a healthcare professional for help if you'd like to know more on the subject.
GOING ON A DIET
Are you considering going on a diet? Here's an idea worth thinking about! Beware of the many diets touted as "easy", "effortless" or "miraculous" or those that praise deprivation, as most are not really effective in the long term. To achieve your healthy weight and glycemic control goals, it's best to persevere and adopt healthy eating habits that you'll be able to maintain.
To do this, it is recommended to establish a meal plan with a dietary expert, such as a nutritionist or dietitian. These specialists will help you create a meal plan tailored to your needs without taking away the pleasure of eating. People living with diabetes have special nutritional needs. By consulting an expert, you will save time and energy and reach your objectives more effectively.
You will find a wealth of information on the various aspects of diabetes management, including nutrition, on the Diabetes Quebec website. You can also follow the recommendations of the Guide d’alimentation pour la personne diabétique (in French only).
Speak to your pharmacist for additional information about diabetes, lifestyle changes, medication, or blood glucose monitoring.