Frequently, diabetic patients hear phrases such as: “You can’t eat sugar,” “Don’t eat lunch dessert,” “Don’t go to the party because they’re going to offer you cake,” “Don’t eat more than two flours on a plate. “,” Do not eat fast foods “, etc … The diabetic patient’s diet is summarized in:” NO “.
And that’s not true. They should not be restricted from the diet.
The reality is that each person regardless of whether or not they have diabetes should consume the amount of calories and nutrients necessary to maintain or achieve an adequate nutritional status .
In nature there are three very important nutrients: fats, proteins and carbohydrates.
Together, they are known as ” macronutrients “, basically because they provide calories, the energy that our body needs to live.
Each of these “macronutrients” has a different effect on blood glucose. Protein does not have a significant effect on blood glucose, fats have a late effect on blood sugar and carbohydrates have an almost immediate effect, after 15 minutes of eating they affect blood sugar.
Fats are found in oils, margarines, nuts, seeds and avocado, among others. They are an important energy source, a gram of fat contributes 9 calories, fats are essential for the absorption of vitamins, they are a structural part of cell membranes and some hormones.
Proteins are found in foods of animal origin, eggs, cheese, milk, meat, chicken or fish and, to a lesser extent, in legumes (grains) and cereals.
A gram of protein provides 4 calories. Proteins act as intermediaries of several biochemical reactions that facilitate the use of nutrients, shape muscle mass, are the structure of many hormones and maintain the integrity of our immune system.
For its part, carbohydrates are the main source of energy in the diet, a gram of carbohydrate provides 4 calories. Carbohydrates abound in nature, found in cereals, tubers, liquid dairy, fruits, vegetables and sugars.
95% of carbohydrates are converted to glucose when they reach the blood. This does not mean that a diabetic patient cannot consume them. On the contrary, there are organs such as the brain that only know how to work with glucose and if we take carbohydrates from the diet, these organs will have to suffer adaptations that will cause problems.
A diabetic patient should consume food from all three groups .
A good portion of protein at each main meal; a serving of carbohydrate at each main meal; 5 servings between fruit and vegetables daily; select foods rich in fiber such as whole grains and avoid those foods that quickly raise glucose; like sugar, white bread, mashed potatoes, juices and breakfast cereals.
However, it is important to keep in mind that mixing carbohydrates with protein, fiber and fat can decrease the speed and severity of blood glucose elevation. In other words, eating a carbohydrate-rich food such as rice will raise blood sugar faster and more severely than eating rice with meat and salad.
A dessert consumed will only raise blood sugar faster than consuming it at the end of a meal that has included a portion of protein and salad.
In conclusion, there are no bad foods, the important thing is to eat everything in the amounts and schedules indicated.
Attending an appointment with a diabetes educator nutritionist will help you define what portions are right for you.
Remember, you should never sacrifice nutritional status for good glucometry. If eating what you need your blood glucose is out of control, you will have to make adjustments in medical treatment, but never stop eating.