Diabetes is an increasingly prevalent disease in modern times and has been dubbed an epidemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). Although it is still unknown why the disease has increased so much recently, it is known how the disease occurs. It is caused by a malfunction of the beta cells that are located in the pancreas. The beta cells produce a hormone, known as insulin, that helps to reduce the blood sugar level in the body. When a person has diabetes the beta cells are destroyed or the body has an inability to use insulin properly. Many people have this disease but are unaware of the fact. Many people that have it and are aware often mismanagement the treatment of the disease. This can lead to many problems. Immediate problems can include diabetic induced coma. In the long term there can be problems with the circulation, nervous and cardiovascular systems within the body. Part of the treatment of diabetes is by eating the proper foods and sticking to a diabetic diet. This article will discuss the issues involved with a diet for diabetes.
Carbohydrates make up a large part of many peoples diets because they provide energy, in the form of glucose, to the body. However too many carbohydrates will cause the blood sugar levels in a diabetic to get high and cause problems. Thus a diet for diabetes involves understanding how carbohydrates work. Much emphasis in a diabetic diet is on the amount of carbohydrates and calories that are consumed at each sitting.
Simply put, simple carbohydrates should be avoided or consumed as a treat or in an emergency. Simple carbohydrates include things like soft drinks, chocolate and sweets and candy. They are called simple because they are easy to break down in the body and get into the bloodstream quickly. This is why many people think that sweet foods are bad for diabetics. To an extent they are because they cause spikes in the blood sugar level but this too can be managed and at times (like hypoglycemia) an intake of sugar is needed.
The opposite of simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates. They are things like rolled oats that are harder to breakdown and let sugar into the bloodstream at a slower rate. Because of the slow breakdown, the blood sugar level is easier to manage which is the desired affect of any diabetic treatment.
Apart from watching the type of carbohydrates that are consumed, a diet for diabetes is a very healthy option that can benefit anyone. In fact, it is often the case that if one family member has diabetes the whole family can benefit form the types of foods that they eat which is an unlikely positive by product of the disease. The diet concentrates on eating fruits, vegetables and whole grains. The choices of foods are not limited and a person can follow the diabetic food pyramid for guidance. The food pyramid breaks foodstuffs down into carbohydrates, proteins and fats. It gives suggestions on the types of foods that fit into these categories and the amounts of each to be consumed each day. A diabetic diet also stresses the times that a person eats. They should always each at similar times each day and take a regular snack in between main meals.