Diabetes has become a big burden to all over the world. That is the leading non communicable disease among Sri Lankan population that affects morbidity, mortality and disability. The Diabetes Association of Sri Lanka (DASL) reveals that there are nearly four million diabetics in Sri Lanka. The prevalence of Diabetes in the country had dramatically increased from 16% in 2009 to 20% in 2014.
There are three types of Diabetes among population including Type 1, Type 2 and Gestational Diabetes. Type 1 is an autoimmune disorder which is caused due to the inability to produce insulin by pancreas. So they have to depend on external insulin sources. Type 2 is the most common condition. In this condition, body is able to produce insulin but body itself generates insulin resistivity which makes insulin ineffective. Gestational Diabetes is a condition with elevated blood glucose levels, occurring during pregnancy period.
Diabetes is an irreversible outcome that comes across with several risk factors. Unhealthy diet, insufficient physical activities, obesity and family history are some of risk factors for Diabetes. Among them dietary habits become foremost. Due to the nutrition transition, people have shifted to unhealthy lifestyles from healthy lifestyles. All of the traditional dietary patterns were modernized. People have become more sedative with low physical activity levels.
With these rapid changes of diet, fast food and junk food consumption have shown a considerable increment. Those foods conation high amount of energy per serving with high levels of trans fats and saturated fats. When people get more energy intake with low energy expenditure, ultimately it creates positive energy balance in the body. Excess energy stores in the body as fat, giving rise to Obesity. Obesity has strong relationship with type 2 Diabetes. Furthermore excessive consumption of high sugar containing foods such as soft drinks and sweets also has clear positive impact on causing diabetes. Those foods contain high amount of simple sugar which can rapidly elevate blood glucose levels.
Once a person develops this condition, total cure can’t be obtained. Although it is not curable, it can be managed with proper dietary modifications and lifestyle changes. Today most of the people are suffering from Diabetes. But they do not have adequate knowledge to control their condition in better way. Usually when people came to know about their condition they get consultations from a physician. But drug therapy solely can’t manage their condition. That’s why it is very important to know the nutrition therapy for Diabetes.
Once people get Diabetes, they tend to restrict their diet on few food varieties. Actually living with Diabetes does not indicate that you have to depend only on certain types of foods. You can enjoy your meal with variety of foods including your favorites. Only few modifications should be added to your diet.
People with Diabetes should have a well balanced nutritious diet. Quality, quantity and meal timing is very important. Meal should consist all macro and micro nutrients including Carbohydrates, Proteins, Fats, Vitamins, Minerals, Fiber and Water. Consuming amount should be adequate for individual’s weight. Over consumption can worsen the situation. Delaying or skipping meals is not a good thing. If you skip a meal, definitely your next meal will be bulky. So, it can lead to large fluctuations in blood glucose levels. Eating three main meals and two in between snacks is better. Simply you can have your breakfast, mid morning snack, lunch, evening snack and dinner.
Rice is the staple food among Sri Lankans. Diabetics can go for parboiled brown rice or red rice without selecting white rice. Incorporating more cereals and legumes for your diet will add several benefits for your health. Incorporate more non refined foods to your diet, such as whole grains, brown bread and Atta flour rather than using refined foods.
Non refined foods have more fibers. Then they can manage blood glucose levels in the body without increasing rapidly. You can prepare food items like Rotti and Pittu, by incorporating different flour varieties including finger millet flour, Atta flour, wheat flour etc. to improve the nutrition quality of your meal.
Fruits and vegetables add more color to your diet as well as for your life as they give more Vitamins, Minerals and Fiber. Having at least two types of fruits per day will satisfy your sweet taste. Consuming fruits at your snack times is better. You can prepare fruit juices by yourself with very less amount or without added sugar by adding the fruit pulp even. It is not difficult to consume some fruit juices without sugar since they already contain some amount of sugar. But you should always keep in mind, that whole fruit consumption is always better than fruit juices.
Vegetable consumption is also very important. At least 3 to 4 varieties of vegetables should be consumed by Diabetic persons per day including green leafy vegetables. Some people believe that certain vegetables like carrots and beet are not good for them. Actually consuming these vegetables in small amount will not make any problems. Raw fresh vegetable salads will be healthier for you.
When you are selecting meat varieties give priority to Chicken. Beef, Mutton and Pork consumption should be limited. Always go with lean part of the meat without selecting fatty part. All types of fish are welcomed. Especially fatty fish such as Tuna, Herrings and Sardine will improve your health.
When you are enjoying variety of food, there are some foods to be limited for your betterment without making Diabetic related complications. Fast foods and junk foods including bakery foods, fried foods, chips, pizza, sweets and chocolate consumption should be reduced. Since they contain high amounts of bad fats and simple sugars it can lead for high blood cholesterol levels, cardiovascular problems while worsen the diabetic condition. Excessive consumption of sausages, ham and bacon like processed foods should be limited. They contain high amount of salt which can facilitate high blood pressure in diabetic individuals.
With the drug therapy and dietary modifications, certain lifestyle changes should also be implemented in order to manage Diabetes. Reducing alcohol consumption and preventing from smoking are highly important. Furthermore, engaging daily physical exercises at least for 30 to 45 minutes per day is beneficial. Brisk walking, cycling and jogging are some of exercises that a Diabetic person can do easily, in order to maintain healthy body weight. If you are overweight or obese person try to reduce your weight.
As mentioned in above Diabetes management is a combination of medicine, diet and physical activities. If a person does not control it properly it can lead to several other complications such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, heart diseases, kidney diseases and even cancers. So it should not be taken lightly. At the same time, becoming a victim of Diabetes does not indicate the end of your life. Still you have many different ways to live happily and enjoy your life with minimal complications. But don’t forget that proper management of Diabetes is the key of your happiness.