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Diabetes mellitus often simply referred to as diabetes, is a condition in which a person has a high blood sugar (glucose) level in consequence of the body either not producing enough insulin, or because body cells do not properly respond to the insulin that is produced. Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas which enables body cells to absorb glucose, to be converted into energy. If the body cells don’t absorb the glucose, the glucose accumulates in the blood (hyperglycemia), leading to various potential medical complications
Diabetic diet refers to the diet that is recommended for people with diabetes mellitus, or high blood glucose. There is much disagreement regarding what this diet should consist of. Since carbohydrate is the macronutrient which raises blood glucose levels most significantly, the greatest debate is regarding how low in carbohydrates the diet should be. This is because although lowering carbohydrate intake will lead to reduced blood glucose levels, this conflicts with the traditional establishment view that carbohydrates should be the main source of calories. Recommendations of the fraction of total calories to be obtained from carbohydrate are generally in the range of 20 to 45%, but recommendations can vary as widely as from 16 to 75%. The most agreed upon recommendation is for the diet to be low in sugar and refined carbohydrates, while relatively high in dietary fibre, especially soluble fibre. Likewise, people with diabetes may be encouraged to reduce their intake of carbohydrates that have a high glycemic index (GI), although this is also controversial. In cases of hypoglycemia, they are advised to have food or drink that can raise blood glucose quickly, such as lucozade, followed by a long-acting carbohydrate (such as rye bread) to prevent risk of further hypoglycemia.) However, others question the usefulness of the glycemic index and recommend high GI foods like potatoes and rice. It has been claimed that oleic acid has a slight advantage over linoleic acid in reducing plasma glucose.
Diabetes mellitus is the full medical name for diabetes, a condition where the body has a problem making insulin or using it effectively to process glucose or sugar from food. Diabetes mellitus is a life-long condition and includes type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes.
All types of diabetes mellitus have something in common. Normally, your body breaks down the sugars and carbohydrates you eat into a special sugar called glucose. Glucose fuels the cells in your body, but the cells need insulin, a hormone, in your bloodstream in order to take in the glucose and use it for energy. With diabetes mellitus, either your body doesn't make enough insulin, it can't use the insulin it does produce, or a combination of both. Since the cells can't take in the glucose, it builds up in your blood. High levels of blood glucose can damage the tiny blood vessels in your kidneys, heart, eyes and nervous system. That's why diabetes - especially if left untreated - can eventually cause heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness and damage to nerves in the feet.
Your food choices matter a lot when you've got diabetes. Some are better than others. Nothing is completely off limits. Even items that you might think of as “the worst" could be occasional treats, in tiny amounts. But they won’t help you nutrition-wise, and it’s easiest to manage your diabetes if you mainly stick to the “best” options.
Your body needs carbs. But you want to choose wisely. Use this list as a guide.
Starches Best Choices - Whole grains, such as brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa, millet or amaranth / Baked sweet potato / Items made with whole grains and no (or very little) added sugar
Starches Worst Choices - Processed grains, such as white rice or white flour / Cereals with little whole grains and lots of sugar / White bread / French fries / Fried white-flour tortillas
Vegetables Best Choices - Fresh veggies, eaten raw or lightly steamed, roasted or grilled / plain frozen vegetables, lightly steamed / Greens such as kale, spinach and arugula. Iceberg lettuce is not as great, because it’s low in nutrients / Low sodium or unsalted canned vegetables / Go for a variety of colours: dark greens, red or orange (think of carrots or red peppers), whites (onions) and even purple (eggplants). The 2015 U.S. guidelines recommend 2.5 cups of veggies per day.
Vegetables Worst Choices - Canned vegetables with lots of added sodium / Veggies cooked with lots of added butter, cheese or sauce / Pickles, if you need to limit sodium otherwise, pickles are okay / Sauerkraut, for the same reason as pickles, so limit them if you have high blood pressure
Fruits Best Choices - Fresh fruit / Plain frozen fruit or fruit canned without added sugar / Sugar-free or low-sugar jam or preserves / No-sugar-added applesauce
Fruits Worst Choices - Canned fruit with heavy sugar syrup/ Chewy fruit rolls / Regular jam, jelly, and preserves (unless you have a very small portion) / Sweetened applesauce / Fruit punch, fruit drinks, fruit juice drinks
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