Thursday, November 8, 2012

World Wide Diabetes Awareness day – 14th November

                             World Wide Diabetes Awareness day – 14th November

Diabetes is no respecter of who you are.   It can affect anyone although you are more likely to develop it if you are overweight and not very active, although this is not always the case.  Some famous people who have suffered form the condition include HG Wells, Jimmy Tarbuck, Aretha Franklin, Steve Redgrave, Elizabeth Taylor, Halle Berry and Sharon Stone. 
Coming up on the 14th of this month is worldwide diabetes awareness day and I thought I would share with you some of the information for diabetics that is currently being given by Diabetes UK.
Type 2 diabetes develops when the body does not produce enough insulin to maintain a normal blood glucose level, or when the body is unable to effectively use the insulin that is being produced. Being diagnosed with diabetes means that looking after your health has become even more important.  A healthy diet, keeping active and monitoring your health will be crucial if you want to minimise the effect of your diabetes.

Diabetes UK point out that being diagnosed with diabetes means that you should be able to continue enjoying a wide variety of foods as part of a healthy diet. At first it can appear a challenge but the food choices you make and your eating habits are important in helping you to manage your diabetes and long-term health.
They advise that you avoid skipping meals and space your breakfast, lunch and evening meal out over the day. This will not only help control your appetite but will also help control your blood glucose levels.  Examples of what you should aim to eat include bread, pasta, chapattis, potatoes, yam, noodles, rice and cereals. The amount of carbohydrate you eat is important to control your blood glucose levels. Especially try to include those that are more slowly absorbed (have a lower glycaemic index) as these won’t affect your blood glucose levels as much.
Better choices include: pasta, basmati or easy cook rice, grainy breads such as granary, pumpernickel and rye, new potatoes, sweet potato and yam, porridge oats, All-Bran and natural muesli. The high fibre varieties of starchy foods will also help to maintain the health of your digestive system and prevent problems such as constipation.  Diabetes UK advise that we choose unsaturated fats or oils, especially monounsaturated fat (e.g. olive oil and rapeseed oil) as these types of fats are better for our hearts. As fat is the greatest source of calories, eating less will help you to lose weight if you need to. And Diabetes UK also suggest that we eat more fruit and vegetables, aiming for at least five portions a day, and more beans and lentils like kidney beans, butter beans, chickpeas or red and green lentils. These foods have less of an effect on your blood glucose levels and may help to control your blood fats. Try adding them to stews, casseroles and soups, or to a salad.
Have two portions of oily fish a week like mackerel, sardines, salmon and pilchards. Oily fish contains a type of polyunsaturated fat called omega 3, which helps protect against heart disease.
Salt should be limited to 6g or less a day and alcohol taken in moderation. Two units per day for a man is recommended. A single pub measure (25ml) of spirit is about 1 unit or half pint of lager, ale, bitter or cider has 1–1½ units.  Diabetes UK also recommend that you do not drink on an empty stomach, as alcohol can make hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose levels) more likely to occur when taking certain diabetes medication.  Finally they advise that you do not use diabetic foods or drinks, which they say offer no benefit to people with diabetes. They will, however,  still affect your blood glucose levels, contain just as much fat and calories as the ordinary versions, can have a laxative effect and are expensive.  All good advice, I would say, even if you are not diabetic, to help keep you that way!

Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to eat a sugar-free diet if you are diabetic. Sugar can be used in foods and in baking as part of a healthy diet. Using sugar-free, no added sugar or diet fizzy drinks can be an easy way to reduce the sugar in your diet.

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Amanda Thomas
UK Health Radio