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Nutrition for diabetic patients: type 1 diabetes

Nutrition for diabetic patients: type 1 diabetes

I know the management of Type 1 Diabetes is a very complex job because many things had to be kept into consideration but as said Nothing is Impossible. If proper care is taken one can live a quality life. A centered approach for the treatment of Type 1 Diabetes should be given to Nutrition. Proper Nutrition will help in minimizing hypoglycemia and weight gain.

Two main things which we kept into consideration while planning a diet are Glycemic Index and Carbohydrate Counting. Let me explain this terms.

Glycemic index

Just make it simple. Always remember more the Glycemic Index causes more raise in the blood sugar level and low glycemic index food minimizes the sudden spike in your blood sugar level. GI of reference food is set at 100. Food with a GI greater than 50 is considered high glycemic food and when the GI of food is less than 50 considered low glycemic index food.

Some examples of low index glycemic food include non-starchy vegetables, whole grains, nuts, etc. high Glycemic index food includes potatoes, refined cereals, etc

Carbohydrate Counting  

The concept of carbohydrate counting comes into consideration because the glucose response is influenced not only by the quality of carbohydrates consumed (i.e glycemic index) but also by the number of carbohydrates consumed... 

Carbohydrate counting involves the number of grams of carbohydrates present in each meal and matching it to their dose of insulin. Carbohydrate counting helps with good blood sugar control It also helps to determine the amount of insulin to be given with meals and snacks. 

The best way to check the carbohydrate content is by checking the Food Labels while purchasing the food.

When we see there is an uncontrolled  Blood Sugar level then we plan for Advanced Carbohydrate Counting.

At  advanced carbohydrate counting, we focus on the adjustment of food, insulin, and activity based on patterns from detailed logs. 

Meet Shruti

I  first met Shruti when I was working in Hospital. She came to my Chamber with a very beautiful smile. There were many questions in her eyes but a smile on her face. Shruti was just 8 yrs old and diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. 

She asked me can I enjoy life like other kids. I felt very emotional. I told her yes you can Diabetic Diet not a special diet but it is just a Disciplined Diet. She was just 8 yrs old but her willpower was very strong and always called me up whenever she felt any confusion. She was very much particular about her diet, lifestyle, and exercise.  It's because it healthy life revolves around these three things.

I am sharing this story because I want to convey the message If your willpower is strong and you know how to treat your body you can win more than half of the race. As I said earlier Nothing is impossible in Life.

So what are the things which should be kept into consideration for Type 1 Diabetes?

  • Minimize the episodes of hypoglycemia- It can be achieved by taking small and frequent meals. Most episodes of asymptomatic or symptomatic hypoglycemia are effectively self-treated with glucose tablets.
  • Manage weight -Young adults with type 1 diabetes have a higher likelihood of developing excess body weight or obesity than people who do not have diabetes. It is because of the side effect of insulin therapy.
  • Eating disorders - Eating disorders are relatively common in patients with diabetes, especially in female adolescents and young adults with diabetes. Dieting or omission of insulin for weight loss and binge eating is the most common. Eating disorders have a deleterious impact on glycemic control and long-term outcome in these patients. It is important to evaluate patients with diabetes, especially young women, for an eating disorder (or misreporting of insulin administration) and arrange appropriate psychological and nutritional counseling and support when indicated
  • Exercising regularly helps to improve insulin sensitivity which means it has a greater effect on lowering blood sugar. It is recommended to exercise 30 to 60 minutes daily. Healthy snacks must be taken before doing the exercise to avoid low blood sugar during exercise.

Strenuous activity can cause your blood sugar to drop. This can lead to low blood sugar, which is called hypoglycemia. Intense bouts of exercise can also cause your blood sugar to rise. If it rises above normal levels, it's known as hyperglycemia. So exercise should be done in moderation.

Final Words

From the above discussion, it is clear that for achieving metabolic control in Type 1 Diabetes patients it is important to achieve the Nutritional goal. Nutritional advice should be customized it differs as per age, sex, and disease condition. A team approach, capitalizing on the expertise of pediatric and adult dietitians, nurses, and physicians, can best assist patients and their families overcome challenges in their care and reaching their therapeutic goals

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