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Diabetes or diabetes mellitus is one of the chronic conditions that affect people and it is associated with an abnormal increase in the sugar levels in the blood of the person. According to Evert, Boucher, et al, (2013), diabetes occurs when abnormal chemical reaction or metabolic disorders causes a person’s blood sugar or glucose to rise over a long period of time due to factors such as low production of insulin or the cells the of body do not respond to insulin or by both factors. When the blood sugar in people increases, they mostly become increasingly thirsty and hungry and experience frequent urination (Ley, Hamdy, et al, 2014). This article will discuss the importance of nutrition to diabetic patients and the forms of food recommended for diabetic patients.
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Importance of nutrition to diabetic patients
Diabetes is mostly associated with high levels of blood sugar and what people eat affect their blood sugar. It is important for diabetic patients to eat a variety of healthy food at regular intervals to help them regulate their blood sugar. To maintain a healthy life which is free from diabetes, food such as vegetables, fruit, protein, starchy and low fat dairy food should be the basis for diabetic patients’ diet (Synder, 2014). According to Franz, Boucher & Evert, (2014), when diabetic patients eat healthy diet that contains vegetables, whole-grain starchy food and fruits, it helps them to avoid complications associated with diabetes and also allow them to regulate their weight. Researchers have identified that when diabetic patients lose about 10 percent of their current weight, it has a significant impact on their blood sugar, blood fats and blood pressure (Ley, Hamdy, et al, 2014). The importance of these food groups is that it contains fiber needed for diabetic patients to moderate how their body responds to digestion and absorption to convert the food into the required sugar needed for the body. Another importance of nutrition to diabetic patients is that it allows their system to be able to make effective use of the insulin it produces so that the body can use the glucose from carbohydrate to keep the blood sugar level from getting too high (Espeland, Probstfield, et al, 2015).
Forms of food recommended for diabetic patients
Diabetic patients can eat variety of healthy foods from all the food types including protein, fruits and vegetables and whole grains. These varieties of foods are the basis for a diabetic diet.
Fruits and Vegetables
Vegetables including greens, pepper, carrots, broccoli and tomatoes are very good food choice for diabetic patients. These vegetables are made of vitamins and minerals and contain a great source of fiber. Fruits such as oranges, mangoes, berries, apples, bananas, grapes and others with low glycemic index also contains good source of fiber and vitamins. Both vegetables and fruits are recommended food for diabetic patients because of the impact that they have on diabetic patients’ blood sugar levels. These food types are ideal for diabetic patients because they are low in fat, salt and sugar and are good source of dietary fiber (Snyder, 2014). When people with diabetes consume fruits and vegetables, it helps them to maintain healthy weight and reduce obesity, lower their cholesterol and blood pressure. Existing research indicates that fruits and vegetables serve as anti-obesity agents because of their role in regulating the growth of adipose tissue (Franz, Boucher & Evert, 2014). A research by (Espeland, Probstfield, et al, 2015) suggest that fruits including pawpaw and Morinda citrifolia contains high lipase inhibition responsible for breaking down fats and also serve as a potential option for maintaining body weight and regulate obesity. In other research, (Ley, Hamdy, et al, 2014) demonstrates that vegetables such as onions, lettuce and other varieties are serve as a source of anti-obesity agents that regulate the initiation and development of obesity.
Protein foods such as lean meat, chicken without the skin, fish, eggs, nuts and peanuts and dried beans are very important for diabetic patients because it is more slowly broken down by the body than carbohydrates (Evert, Boucher, Cypress, et al, 2013). Due to how the body responds to the digestion of these foods, there is a minimal effect on patients’ blood sugar levels. When people with diabetes take in higher protein, Ley, Hamdy, et al, (2014) suggest that the higher protein can control the development of diabetes and enhances the control of metabolism. This is because a protein is considered as one of the nutrients that do not increase blood sugar level in diabetic patients. A research conducted by Espeland, Probstfield, et al, (2015) shows that, when diabetic patients consume casein protein, the milk protein is able to for a clot in their stomach which is efficient for nutrient supply and also provides a slow release of amino acids into their blood stream which is need to regulate blood glucose. The intake of protein food such as peanuts is very essential to diabetic patients because it is a powerful nutrition that regulates diabetes. In a research by Franz, Boucher & Evert, (2014), peanuts is found to contain low glycemic index which suggest that it intake will not cause the diabetic patients’ blood sugar to increase.
Whole grains foods which include rice, oats, cornmeal, barley and quinoa contain high concentration of carbohydrate needed by diabetic patients. The consumption of whole grain foods are good choice for controlling the level of blood glucose in the body. Because of their low glycemic index, they do not affect the blood glucose levels of people with diabetes as compared to the refined carbohydrate foods (Franz, Boucher & Evert, 2014). The nutrient and fiber content in whole grain foods is essential in balancing blood glucose in people with diabetes. According to Evert, Boucher, et al, (2013), whole grain foods contain three important parts namely the bran, germ and endosperm and each of the parts has a complete package of health benefits for diabetic patients. The bran for instance supplies iron, copper, zinc, magnesium and vitamin B, the germ also supplies fats, vitamin E, phytochemicals and antioxidants and the endosperm supplies carbohydrates, protein and some amount of minerals and B vitamins. A research conducted by Espeland, Probstfield, et al, (2015) to determine the level of efficacy of whole grain foods show that the food is able to slow the breakdown of starch in glucose and then maintain a regular blood sugar in the body. Ley, Hamdy, et al, (2014) mentioned that when diabetic patients consume whole grain food, it improves the insulin and glucose metabolism which slows the absorption of food intake and technically prevent blood sugar from increasing.
Diabetic patients have high levels of blood sugar and this is associated with the kind of food they consume on a daily basis. People with diabetes can maintain a healthy live by eating food such as vegetables, fruits, proteins and other varieties. These varieties of food contain vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients with low glycemic index. Diabetic patients are recommended to consume such food in order to maintain a healthy weight and also reduce obesity. Protein foods for instance are needed by diabetic patients because the nutrients that it produces do not increase the blood sugar levels in diabetic patients.
- Espeland, M. A., Probstfield, J., Hire, D., Redmon, J. B., Evans, G. W., Coday, M., … & Dulin, M. F. (2015). Systolic blood pressure control among individuals with type 2 diabetes: a comparative effectiveness analysis of three interventions. American journal of hypertension, 28(8), 995-1009.
- Evert, A. B., Boucher, J. L., Cypress, M., Dunbar, S. A., Franz, M. J., Mayer-Davis, E. J., … & Yancy, W. S. (2013). Nutrition therapy recommendations for the management of adults with diabetes. Diabetes care, 36(11), 3821-3842.
- Franz, M. J., Boucher, J. L., & Evert, A. B. (2014). Evidence-based diabetes nutrition therapy recommendations are effective: the key is individualization.Diabetes, metabolic syndrome and obesity: targets and therapy, 7, 65.
- Ley, S. H., Hamdy, O., Mohan, V., & Hu, F. B. (2014). Prevention and management of type 2 diabetes: dietary components and nutritional strategies. The Lancet, 383(9933), 1999-2007.
- Snyder, Alison. (2014). “Facing not only diabetes, but stigma, too.” Washington Post, 25 Nov. 2014. Opposing Viewpoints in Context db24.linccweb.org/login? url=http://link. galegroup.com/apps/doc/A391515204/OVIC?u=lincclin_spjc&xid=9cf8a137.Accessed 18 June 2017.