Diet for Diabetics

Much has been said and written on diets for diabetics. Current thought now aims at making life as simple as possible. Rather than forcing a patient to stick rigidly to a diet (which will undoubtedly be broken in time), it is better to instill principles. Sticking to a reasonably low carbohydrate diet is essential.

Very quickly the diabetic can learn how many kilojoules are contained in standard serves (or say 10 g portions) of the usual foods, and the patient can fairly accurately choose a variety of foods while adhering to the daily total number of kilojoules prescribed.

The total amount of carbohydrate will vary with each patient, depending on age, weight, appetite, habits and so on. The total daily intake may be calculated for each patient when treatment starts. “Basically, the aim is to provide a diet that satisfies, but keeps the diabetic from getting overweight.” The way in which the food is taken will vary according to the nature of the insulin being used, and this also will be spelled out to the patient when the initial form of therapy is being discussed and calculated.

In recent years, as more research has been carried out, some doctors and clinics have discovered that persons on a high fiber, high complex carbohydrate diet, suffer much less from symptoms, and their glucose levels tend to stabilize. A major American clinic now claims that most of its one-time insulin-dependent diabetics have nearly all come off their insulin after sticking to a rolled-oats routine.

Rolled oats are complex carbohydrates (meaning they are absorbed very slowly by the blood), and are high in natural fiber. This seems to permit slow glucose absorption, does not interfere violently with blood-insulin levels (or insulin production), and glucose levels tend to stabilize. Many other trials around the world attest to the value of complex carbohydrates and a high fiber intake. With stable glucose levels, “hypo” attacks are also more unlikely.