A wholesome diet plan that takes care of the nutritional needs and monitors the blood sugar level is essential for diabetes. Diet plan guides you on the choice of foods and the meal schedules. Diet plan needs to be tailor made for each person taking into account their lifestyle, food preferences, age, height, weight and health concerns. A diet plan can be fixed after discussing with your doctor along with taking help of a dietician.
There are methods used in planning a diet; plate method, food pyramid method, calorie or carbohydrate counting method, and glycemic index count method. A healthy diet plan not only manages the sugar levels but also maintains and improves the overall health.
Types Of Diet Plan
In this method, you choose the food that you want but the portion sizes differ to control the body sugar. Take the case of vegetables, if you are in the habit of choosing starchy vegetables you need to cut down on the portion size and include more of green leafy and non starchy vegetables.
Avoid second helpings and stuffing your plate with food. Over a period of time, this method brings in a food discipline and you involuntarily start making healthy food choices. This method is preferred by many as you still get to sample your favourite foods without giving in to the feeling of depravation.
Food Pyramid Method
This method uses the food pyramid as the base to make food choices. The carbohydrates form the base of the pyramid; choose complex carbohydrates that are rich in fiber to add energy to your diet. The next step comprises of the fruits and vegetables; choose low sugar fruits and non starchy vegetables.
Above this are the meat, nuts, milk and milk products; use lean meat and fat free or skimmed milk and milk products. Consume nuts with good fats like almonds, pecans and walnuts in moderation. The top of the pyramid is formed of fats and oil; use them sparingly and prefer saturated fats in olive and canola oil to unsaturated and hydrogenated vegetable oils. Cut down on the use of butter, cheese and full cream.
Calorie or Carbohydrate Counting Method
This method operates on adjusting you diet based on your calorie or carbohydrate intake. A diabetic adult requires anywhere between 1200 to 1800 calories per day based on their age height, weight and level of physical activity. Consult a dietician and based on your life style plan a diet with the necessary amount of calories.
In the initial diabetic diets, carbohydrates were given least preference as they are metabolized immediately and convert in to sugars. So, restricting them was believed to bring down the sugar levels. This robbed the body out of energy and caused increased cases of fatigue.
The key is to include complex carbohydrates in your diet, which take time to break down and to release sugars in to your blood stream. The complex carbohydrates include whole grain foods, brown rice and bread, fruits and vegetables and oats bran.
Glycemic Index Method
Glycemic Index is the count of how fast a food gets converted in to sugars. Based on this count, foods with high GI are avoided to monitor blood sugar levels. Refined, processed, canned and fried foods are high in glycemic count. Hence, avoiding such foods can help in bringing down blood sugar levels.