If you have been diagnosed with diabetes or have a family history of the condition, you may be dreading the dietary changes that are imminent. The good news is that you don’t need to overhaul the way you eat. But, there are some minor tweaks you need to make to enhance your diet.
Sensible, balanced eating plan
Diet is one of the most important factors in controlling diabetes. That said, the diet considered ‘ideal’ for diabetics is no different from any other healthy, balanced eating plan. It’s all about choosing food that is high in fibre and low in fat and sugar, as well as controlling portion sizes. As such, there are no foods that are expressly banned for diabetics.
Nonetheless, there are certain foods that are best eaten in limited quantities, as these are more likely to affect blood sugar levels. For example, food that contains fast-releasing sugars (known as high GI carbohydrates) need to be eaten in limited quantities or avoided as this has an immediate impact on blood sugar levels. Limit consumption of high GI foods, such as sweets, confectionary, white bread and refined grains. Dried fruits and fruit juices also need to be consumed in moderate amounts.
Swop these products for those that are low in carbohydrates or have a low GI and boost your diet with their high vitamin and mineral content. Aubergines are an excellent example as they’re not starchy and have no significant effect on blood sugar levels. At the same time, they contain soluble fibre that combines with water during the digestive process to form a gel-like substance. This moves slowly through the digestive system, helping to delay digestion and stabilising blood sugar levels even after you’ve eaten.
Berries are great for diabetics as they are full of fibre yet contain less sugar than many other fruits. Added to this, they are packed with antioxidants that help to protect and enhance overall health.
Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, cabbage and Bok Choy are all members of a family called cruciferous vegetables. These non-starchy vegetables are high in fibre, so they help you to feel full for longer.
Avocado is another excellent choice. Its smooth, creamy texture is as satisfying as other food that’s equally high in fat content. Yet, the fat contained in avocados is of the monosaturated variety, which means that it may help to control cholesterol levels.
Add volume to salads with leafy greens, such as lettuce, rocket and spinach. These are good choices because, although they are high in fibre, their carbohydrate and kilojoule content is low.
Finally, replace sugar with a sweetener, as they are low in kilojoules and don’t affect blood glucose levels. Canderel Yellow, made from sucralose, is suitable for baking and allows you to enjoy all desserts without all the kilojoules. It can also be used for sprinkling over cereal and sweetening hot drinks, to being added to salad dressings and marinades.
Fore Good is a leading brand builder and distributor in the FMCG sector offering suppliers comprehensive solutions from importation right through to merchandising and marketing. The company offers some of South Africa’s and the world’s leading brands, including Canderel, Equal, Kraft Mayonnaises and BBQ Sauces, Miracle Whip and Pringles, among others.