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A friendly diet for diabetics

during the Lay Forum on Hypertension

“Taking steps to prevent and control diabetes doesn’t mean living in restriction. Making wise food choices and planning ahead of time allows diabetics to enjoy their favorite food and take pleasure from meals without feeling deprived,” emphasized Ms. Sanirose Orbeta, Consulting Clinical and Sports Nutritionist in her presentation titled, “Diabetic Diet: How to Improve Compliance?” during the Lay Forum on Hypertension last February 10, 2013 at the Crowne Plaza Galleria Manila.

 A diabetic’s diet, also recommended to most of the population, is composed of nutrients-rich, low in fat, moderate in calorie foods. This eating plan does not suggest total elimination of carbohydrates in meal but only requires vigilance on the amount of carbohydrates intake per meal per day. As Ms. Orbeta explained, “The key for a diabetic patient’s diet is consistent carbohydrate counting from meal to meal and from day to day as the amount of carbohydrate in meals has the greatest impact on blood sugar levels.” Ms. Orbeta recommended, “Eat regular meal schedule in moderate and consistent portion sizes to spread carbohydrates intake evenly throughout the day. With this strategy, you can maintain energy levels without causing large rises in blood glucose levels.”

People with diabetes are not prohibited for a once in a while sweet treats. According to Ms. Orbeta, sufferers from diabetes may include sweets occasionally as long as a healthy diet is maintained and sweets are not eaten as a stand-alone snack. She also advised to remove the other carb-containing foods when adding sweets in a diet.

Though diabetes is a blood sugar-related disease, diabetics are warned on their sodium intake. As reported by the American Diabetes Association, people with diabetes have an increased risk of developing high blood pressure, the result of excess sodium in diet. Ms. Orbeta advised, “For diabetics, take less than 1,500 milligrams of sodium daily. Use herbs and spices instead of our bagoong and patis to improve the flavour of foods.”

Heart disease and stroke are also possible complications of diabetes, thus fat intake should be controlled too. Ms. Orbeta said, “Fats should be consumed in minimal amount enough to support vital bodily functions. Cholesterol intake from food must be limited to 200 milligrams per day if you have diabetes. Replace bad fats with good fats found in avocados, nuts, vegetable oils, fish and other monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids food sources.”

In the end, Ms. Orbeta stressed, “To improve compliance, look at diet as an educational experience to learn what, when and how much to eat instead of thinking as it as restriction, deprivation of oneself to favorites.”