Nutrition is an essential and sensitive aspect of every diabetic’s life. This is because whenever you go out with your friends or family, all of them who know that you are diabetic question every single thing you eat. If you take a coffee with sugar they will ask you “shouldn’t you add artificial sweetener instead?” or if you decide to go for a slice of chocolate cake for dessert, they may look at you and make you feel bad about your decision, and offer their own ideas for a dessert alternative, like “maybe you should go for gelatin because it’s less sweet.”
These are some of the simple daily-life comments that I personally have had to deal with. And the truth is, the reason why comments like this can become so uncomfortable is because sometimes we diabetics just want to take a break from all of the dietary rules. Of course, while it’s ok to spurge on a real dessert of sugar, the problem is that when we decide to take a break from the strict dietary rules everyday, it quickly becomes a routine. Before going any further with this issue, it is worth mentioning that the typical diet of a type 1 diabetic really is no different from the recommended diet for a healthy person.
Because type 1 diabetics either do not produce or produce a very limited amount of insulin, it is crucial to keep track of the number of glucose portions ingested, since that is the only way to inject the right amount of insulin required by the body.
According to the American Diabetics’ Associations, carb counting is based on the grams of glucose present in the food you eat. 15 grams of glucose equals one portion of carbohydrates, and it is based on this value that all daily carb counting should be based on for diabetics.
Here are a few examples of what 15 grams of glucose means on an individual nutritional level:
- 1 small piece of fresh fruit (4 oz)
- 1 slice of bread (1 oz)
- 1/2 cup of oatmeal
- 1/3 cup of pasta or rice
- 4-6 salt crackers
- 1/4 of a large baked potato (3 oz)
- 6 chicken nuggets
- 1 cup of soup
Generally, about 45-60 grams of carbohydrates per meal is enough. You may need more or less carbohydrates at meals depending on how you manage your diabetes and your daily exercise routine.
Carbs & Different Absorption Rates For Glucose
When putting together a diet for a diabetic, it is very important to understand the nature of each carb ingested. Nutrition experts usually suggest fast absorption carbs and long lasting absorption carbs.
Made of simple sugars that are easily processed and absorbed by the body, due to their simplicity, fast absorption carbs raise the blood glucose level, causing a sharp glucose peak in the blood.
- Fruits: Banana, Blackberries, Melon
- Vegetables: Potatoes, Carrots, Green Pees
- Grains: Cereals, Instant Rice, White boiled rice
Food made of complex carbs are less easy to digest and absorb, taking a longer period to digest. These are the type of carbs more recommended for diabetics, since the glucose coming from their digestion is released into the bloodstream gradually, helping to avoid sharp glucose peaks. They provide longer-lasting energy source.
- Fruits: Apples, Oranges, Pears
- Vegetables: Asparagus, Spinach, Lettuce
- Seeds: Almonds, Peanuts, Walnuts
All in all, maintaining a higher level of ingestion of slow absorption carbs and a close track of the number of portions ingested are small actions that help diabetics to control the level of sugar in the blood. As long as these key nutritional rules are maintained the vast majority of the time with diabetics, we are typically able to keep our glucose levels in the right balance.
Note: Diabetes News Journal is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.