Diabetes mellitus affects millions of people all over the world, and it can come in three main forms. In all forms, the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas no longer produce adequate amounts of insulin, a hormone that aids in breaking down sugars in the bloodstream for use as energy sources. This can change the diabetic’s menu drastically.
People with Type 1 diabetes suffer from an autoimmune disorder that leads the body to destroy the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. People with Type 2 diabetes have body tissues that are resistant to the effects of insulin. Women with gestational diabetes suffer symptoms similar to Type 2 diabetes because of hormones produced during pregnancy.
Type 2 diabetes can be managed or controlled with a diabetic-friendly menu. In addition to a the big diabetes lie Type 2 menu that consists of avoiding certain foods or substituting some foods for others, doctors also recommend that people with Type 2 diabetes should increase the frequency of their exercise, but not to the point of tiring themselves out. With greater physical activity, patients dealing with Type 2 diabetes can lose weight and lower their chances of running into diabetes complications, such as cardiovascular disease and hypertension.
What Constitutes a Diabetic Menu?
In general, people with Type 2 diabetes can consume only a limited amount of fats, but higher levels of whole grains and fiber. People with Type 2 diabetes may also be required to lower their consumption of foods with a high glycemic index, or lower amounts of carbohydrates. This can ease the body’s metabolic load of having to break down sugars, although not all low glycemic-index foods are recommended for diabetics.
Some food companies have cashed in on diabetes, and have their own versions of a diabetes food list consisting of supposedly substituted foods and diabetic-friendly foods. Doctors, however, warn against the consumption of such products, as they can be expensive, and will often have no real benefits to people suffering from diabetes. Moreover, because the purportedly diabetic-friendly foods are low in sugar, they can often contain substitutes that are high in flavor, but likewise high in fats.
Doctors and dietitians will generally recommend taking whole fibers, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables at about five serving portions a day. Not all fruits and vegetables, however, are recommended; for instance, some mangoes and lychees are high in fruit sugar, which can increase the metabolic load on diabetics.
Because of a natural predisposition to hypertension, people with Type 2 diabetes are often cautioned to stay away from high sodium foods such as chips, preserved or processed meat products, canned goods, instant soups, and crackers. People with Type 2 diabetes might also be prescribed sodium or salt substitutes.