What kind of diet is right for diabetes?

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What kind of diet is right for diabetes?

Compliance with a diet is a prerequisite for treating diabetes. By adhering to basic principles of healthy eating, you can reduce the risk of complications in type 1 diabetes and help the body produce insulin in type 2 disease. But the main purpose of the diet is to maintain normal blood sugar levels.

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Basic principles of nutrition in diabetes mellitus

With diabetes mellitus, the diet should be balanced, containing proteins, fats and carbohydrates. The main goal of the diet is to normalize metabolism. This not only lowers blood sugar levels, but also helps you lose weight, which is especially important for obese people. When compiling a menu for the treatment of diabetes mellitus, the following rules must be taken into account:

  1. Meals should be fractional , up to 5-6 times a day, but in small portions. Have 3 full meals and 2-3 light snacks every day. To prevent a sharp drop in blood sugar levels, always carry an apple or cookie with you. Breakfast should be within an hour after waking up, and the last meal should be 3-4 hours before bedtime.
  2. Eat on a schedule , at specific times, and at regular intervals. This makes it easier to calculate the dose of insulin and ensures an even increase in sugar, without sudden fluctuations.
  3. For people with diabetes, fiber and dietary fiber are important. They are found in fresh vegetables. Their use does not lead to a sharp increase in blood sugar levels, helps to lose weight and normalize the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract. 
  4. When shopping for food, give preference to lean meat. The diet should contain no more than 30% fat. Most of this volume is vegetable fats. 
  5. Sugar-containing foods are completely excluded from the diet. They cause a sharp jump in blood glucose, therefore, are prohibited for diabetics. 

In general, the diet for diabetes does not differ from proper nutrition (PP). The principles of PP are taken as a basis, the goals of which are to accelerate metabolism, reduce weight and improve the general condition of the body.

When forming a diet, the existing concomitant diseases must be taken into account. For example, in kidney disease, salt is excluded or limited, in gastritis with high acidity – fermented milk products.

Diet for type 1 diabetes

In insulin-dependent type 1 diabetes mellitus, the main emphasis is on substitution therapy. The patient is injected daily with insulin, since it is not produced by the pancreas against the background of beta cell death. Modern insulin therapy allows a diabetic patient to independently regulate their diet, relying on the feeling of hunger and satiety. Many people mistakenly believe that the insulin injected allows food to be consumed in any form and quantity. Diabetes patients do not even limit themselves to sweet and fatty foods, eating like a healthy person. However, such an attitude towards one’s own body is unacceptable. Indeed, the injected drug makes up for the lack of insulin necessary to regulate carbohydrate metabolism. But if a specialized diet is not followed, the drug may not cope with its tasks. For example, sweets cause a spike in blood sugar. And if a small dose of insulin was injected, then hyperglycemic coma may occur or acute liver failure may occur. For people with type 1 diabetes, diet is essential to life and health. It is drawn up together with a doctor, based on the latest examination results, blood sugar levels, age, and the presence of chronic diseases.

Bread unit of products

In type 1 diabetes, a low-carb diet is formulated that involves counting bread units (BU). One XE is equal to 10-12 grams of carbohydrates. The insulin dose is calculated depending on the value obtained. For each unit of bread, 1 unit of insulin is administered. The dosage is adjusted depending on the time of day:

  • morning – 1.5-2 units;
  • day – 1-1.5 U;
  • evening – 0.8-1 units

You can calculate the number of bread units yourself. But for this you need to know how many carbohydrates are contained in 100 grams. product. For example, 100 gr. cottage cheese contains 24 gr. carbohydrates. In a pack of 200 gr. – 48 gr. carbohydrates. It turns out that if in 1 XE 12 gr. carbohydrates, then in a pack of cottage cheese 4 XE. One bread unit increases blood sugar by 2.77 mmol / L. And to process 1 XE, 1.4 U of insulin is required. Given these indicators, the dosage of the injected drug is calculated.

Patients with diabetes must comply with the daily norm of XE – it is equal to 18-24. You can eat no more than 7 XE per meal.

To facilitate the calculation of bread units when building a low-carb diet, you can use a special table. It contains staple foods.

ProductQuantity in 1 XE
Rye bread, white, uncooked buns20 gr.
Milk, natural yogurt, kefir, yogurt250 ml.
Curd mass with sugar100 g
Ice cream65 gr.
Pancakes50 gr.
Pelmeni (semi-finished product)50 gr.
All cereals raw1 tablespoon
Boiled potatoes70 gr.
Mashed potatoes with milk2 tablespoons
Honey1 tablespoon
Sugar10 gr.
Orange150 gr.
Pear90 gr.
Peeled banana60 gr.
Strawberry500 gr.
Dried fruits20 gr.
Carrot200 gr.
Apple juice100 ml.
Kvass1 glass

Glycemic index of foods

Another indicator that needs to be considered when compiling a low-carb diet is the glycemic index of foods (GI). It is the rate at which blood sugar levels rise after a meal. Diabetics need to choose low-GI foods. They provide an even flow of glucose into the bloodstream and prevent sudden spikes in blood sugar levels throughout the day. The glycemic index is classified into 3 types:

  • low – up to 50 units;
  • medium – from 50 to 69 units;
  • high – over 70 units.

For type 1 diabetes, choose medium to low GI foods. The maximum GI value should not exceed 72 units.

The table provides a list of permitted foods and their GIs.  

GI typeProductGlycemic index in units
Fresh herbsfive
Fresh cucumbersfifteen
Fresh tomatothirty
Fresh carrotsthirty
Brown rice45
Homemade ketchup55
Jacket potatoes boiled65
Oat groats60

High GI foods are strictly prohibited. These include all sweets, sausages, muffins, fried foods. They dramatically increase blood sugar levels and contribute to weight gain, which is unacceptable in diabetes.

Diet for type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes mellitus most often occurs against the background of obesity. The main feature of the menu is the choice of products with a low GI and a small amount of XE. In non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus of the second type, diet is of paramount importance. By adhering to the basic principles of a healthy diet, you can prevent spikes in blood sugar and prevent the development of complications. The type 2 diabetes diet has three functions:

  1. Normalization of metabolism, acceleration of metabolism for weight loss.
  2. Maintaining normal glucose levels.
  3. Restoration of damaged tissues of the pancreas.

Special attention is paid to concomitant diseases. For example, hypertension requires the use of blood-thinning foods. To lower blood sugar and normalize weight, a diabetic person needs to count calories.

In insulin-dependent type 2 diabetes, you must follow the same rules as with a diet designed for type 1 diabetes.

In the second type of diabetes mellitus, if the patient is overweight, a low-carbohydrate diet number 8 is indicated. It implies a strict limitation of the amount of carbohydrates, animal fats and salt consumed. Reduce hunger by using non-starchy vegetables, unsweetened fruits, and regular drinking water.

Diet “Table number 9” for diabetes

Not all types of diets are allowed for people with diabetes. Nutrition should help reduce body weight in type 2 and prevent the development of ketoacidosis in type 1. Mono-diets, keto diets and other types of food are prohibited, the principle of which is the rejection of fats, proteins or carbohydrates. In diabetes mellitus, the diet “Table number 9” is shown. It involves avoiding foods with a high glycemic index and a high content of bread units. Eating according to this system cannot be called monotonous, but an important condition is a change in eating habits. We’ll have to give up fast foods, fried and fatty foods, sweets.

The Table 9 low-carb diet is designed for type 1 diabetes. It has no therapeutic effect, but it helps maintain normal glucose levels.

The table contains lists of permitted and prohibited products.

MushroomsSalted fatty fish
MeatFatty meat (goose, duck, pork, lamb)
A fishSweets
CerealsWhite rice
Brown and red riceAlcohol
Low-fat dairy and fermented milk productsSpicy spices

An approximate menu for the day looks like this:

  1. The first breakfast is millet porridge with milk.
  2. Second breakfast – natural yogurt, apple.
  3. Lunch – rabbit soup with zucchini and buckwheat, salad of cabbage and cucumbers, seasoned with vegetable oil.
  4. Afternoon snack – cottage cheese casserole with berries.
  5. Dinner – a piece of steamed salmon, a salad of boiled vegetables.
  6. Late dinner – kefir.

A low-carb diet for diabetes doesn’t make you starve. The diet will be balanced, satisfying and nutritious.

Diabetes menu

Many people believe that a low-carb diet is severely restrictive and makes you eat lean, monotonous. In fact, there are a huge number of recipes for dishes that are high in taste and are safe for diabetics. The following products will help to diversify the usual menu:

  1. Berries. The diabetes diet includes eating berries instead of sugar-containing foods. Add berries to cottage cheese, cook smoothies and mousses with them, add to cheesecakes and casseroles to sweeten the dish. This natural product has a low glycemic index, and also helps prevent the development of heart disease, blood vessels and saturates the body with important microelements. 
  2. Olive oil. Omega-3 rich vegetable fats are a must in the diet of a diabetic. And the best option is olive oil. It participates in the processes of lipid metabolism, helps prevent retinopathy and slows down aging. Olive oil is beneficial for overweight and mood enhancers. 
  3. Cinnamon. It has anti-inflammatory effects, lowers blood sugar and improves the taste of food. Add cinnamon to diet pancakes, cheesecakes, and other desserts. 
  4. Cabbage. Green vegetables must be present in the diet of a diabetic. And the leader among them is cabbage. A large amount of fiber in the composition slows down the rise in blood sugar levels and reduces it to physiological norms. In addition, cabbage is rich in vitamins necessary for strengthening the immune system. 
  5. Salmon. Fish should be present in the diet of a diabetic. Salmon occupies a leading position in terms of the number of useful properties. This fish contains omega-3 fatty acids that prevent the development of cardiovascular diseases. 

Here is an example of a weekly menu for type 1 diabetes:

1Oatmeal with milk;green tea;1 toast with cheeseborscht in vegetable broth;salad with cabbage, carrots and cucumbers;chicken steamed cutletboiled vegetable salad;fish soufflé;pita
2omelet;cottage cheese pancakes with berriesfish soup with potatoes;vegetable salad;baked fishstewed cabbage;boiled chicken breast;green tea
3buckwheat;meatballs;Black teanaval pasta;Caesar salad”braised green beans;steamed beef cutlet
4cottage cheese casserole with fruit;green tea;diet cookiesbaked potato;boiled turkey breast;cucumber and tomato salad with vegetable oilBrown rice;salmon with vegetables
fiveoatmeal in water with dried fruits;toast with melted cheese;teachicken noodle soup;meat saladcottage cheese casserole;fruit;berry compote
6buckwheat porridge with milk;biscuit;teastewed potatoes with veal;lettuce with cucumbers and croutonsboiled vegetable salad;boiled rabbit
7oat milk porridge;fermented baked milkpasta with stewed liver;any vegetable saladcottage cheese pancakes with sour cream;pancakes;tea

An approximate menu for a week with diabetes mellitus 2 degrees looks like this:

1scrambled eggs with asparagus;teabeetroot;baked eggplant with walnuts;stewed vealsalmon steak;sour cream sauce with radish
2oatmeal porridge with apple;natural yoghurtvegetable stew;boiled rabbitcottage cheese casserole with berries;banana
3fried eggs with cheesechicken soup with zucchini;stewed minced chicken meatballsfish casserole;broccoli roll
4crispbreads with low-fat cheese;fruit teavegetable puree soup;salad with meat and boiled vegetablessteamed cod;vegetable salad
fivefruit salad;strawberry juicechicken broth with crackers;chicken steak with vegetablessquid schnitzel;fresh cucumbers
6boiled eggs;toast with cheese;green teasteamed salmon;brown rice porridgevegetable mix;avocado
7omelet with milk;cheesesoup with meatballs in vegetable broth;homemade hambuckwheat;vegetable salad

If you follow this example, your low-carb diet will help keep your glucose in check and not make you feel uncomfortable with your own diet.

A different menu is prepared for each day. Eat a variety of foods to make your food enjoyable.

Allowed Products

A low carbohydrate diet for diabetes mellitus permits the use of foods with a low glycemic index and XE. These include:

  • whole wheat bread;
  • Rye bread;
  • buckwheat and oatmeal;
  • red and brown rice;
  • lean meats – rabbit, turkey, beef, veal;
  • lean fish varieties – cod, hake, pike perch, salmon, salmon, pike, etc .;
  • seafood – squid, shrimp, mussels, crayfish;
  • high-grade flour pasta;
  • legumes – beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas;
  • eggs;
  • dairy products – kefir, fermented baked milk, natural yogurt, yogurt, low-fat milk;
  • vegetables – cabbage, lettuce, radish, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, eggplant, pumpkin;
  • greens;
  • fruit;
  • dried fruits;
  • berries;
  • mushrooms;
  • nuts;
  • tea, coffee, compotes, juices, jelly (without sugar);
  • soy sauce;
  • low-fat cheese;
  • sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin;
  • vegetable oil.

Certain foods tend to lower blood sugar levels. They should not be used in conjunction with drugs that regulate glucose in the body. These include:

  • grapefruit in pure form and in juice;
  • eleutherococcus;
  • Jerusalem artichoke;
  • chicory;
  • ginseng;
  • rosehip;
  • cabbage juice;
  • garlic, parsley, celery;
  • St. John’s wort, dandelion, nettle.

Make a diet based on the permitted foods.

Prohibited foods

Below is a list of prohibited foods that should not be eaten on a diabetes diet. Be sure to keep this in mind when making your menu. The following foods are completely excluded from the diet:

  • sugars and sugar-containing foods;
  • confectionery;
  • White bread;
  • spicy, pickled, smoked and highly salted foods;
  • fatty meats – pork, lamb, chicken skin, lard;
  • sausages;
  • potatoes (allowed no more than 2 times a week);
  • store mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard;
  • cereals rich in carbohydrates – semolina, millet, rice;
  • box juices;
  • sweet drinks;
  • products on fructose.

What should not be used for diabetes mellitus depends on the patient’s condition. In the presence of severe obesity, sweet fruits are contraindicated – bananas, grapes, melon. The diet for diabetes mellitus is compiled by the attending physician, taking into account the individual characteristics of the patient’s health.

Diet for diabetes for pregnant women

During pregnancy, a woman should follow the general dietary guidelines for diabetics. It is possible to adjust the dosage of insulin taking into account the glucose values. For gestational diabetes that develops during pregnancy, it is important to adjust your diet to avoid high blood sugar. That said, doctors are allowing a less strict, low-carb diet that allows for potatoes and sugary fruits. But nutrition should be coupled with regular blood sugar measurements. If during gestational diabetes mellitus glucose rises, regardless of compliance with a low-carb diet, then insulin injections are additionally prescribed.

Diet for diabetes in children

Treatment of diabetes mellitus in children is carried out under the supervision of an endocrinologist. Insulin injections are prescribed, which must be administered strictly according to the schedule, they are tied to the feeding hours. An error of 10-15 minutes is allowed. Food for children with diabetes is organized taking into account the following rules:

  1. In the first year of life, the main food is breast milk. It is important to maintain breastfeeding for up to 1.5-2 years.
  2. Feeding should be strictly according to the hours, and not according to a free schedule.
  3. If the child is bottle-fed, then a mixture with a low sugar content is selected for him.
  4. When organizing meals by the hour, a slight error is allowed. You can feed your baby earlier than the scheduled time.

Children of primary and school age are assigned a low-carbohydrate diet, which has its own characteristics:

  • potatoes, sour cream, egg yolks should be limited to a minimum;
  • cereal porridge can be cooked once a day;
  • soups can be cooked in low-fat broths;
  • in the daily diet, the presence of vegetables and fruits is mandatory.

Children’s low-carb diet for diabetes mellitus is not much different from the diet of an adult.

Physical activity is also very important. If a child of 7 years old suffers from chronic diseases, then sport is possible only with the permission of a doctor. What should be a low-carb diet depends on the individual characteristics of the little patient. Age, weight, health status, type of diabetes are taken into account. A detailed diet plan is developed with the doctor, which is vital to adhere to. Parents need to be aware that diabetes often does not manifest itself at an early stage. With a latent course, symptoms may be absent. And if the child has a predisposition to this disease, then the diet will help prevent an exacerbation of the disease. When parents have diabetes, their children’s diet needs special control.

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