Simply put, when you eat food your body begins the digestion process and breaks down the sugar (or carbs) into glucose. The glucose is then absorbed into the blood stream where it waits to enter the cells, so the body can use it for energy. Insulin helps get glucose into the cell. In people with diabetes, there may not be enough insulin to get the glucose in; therefore the glucose sits in your blood and gives a high reading when you test your blood glucose level.
Diabetes can affect anybody! Here are a few different types of diabetes:
- Type I (Insulin Dependent)- anyone who is dependent on insulin to keep their blood glucose levels under control because their pancreas does not produce insulin.
- Type II (Non-Insulin Dependent)- anyone who can control their blood glucose levels with diet, exercise, and/or oral medications. Their pancreas typically secretes insulin, but the body has built a resistance and doesn’t utilize it sufficiently.
- Medication Induced– when medications cause an increase in blood glucose levels
- Gestational– when a woman develops high blood glucose levels during a pregnancy.
A few basic nutrition ideas diabetics need to keep in mind:
- Eat Breakfast– It kick starts your metabolism, and since you’ve been fasting all night your blood glucose levels may be low and you need to replenish lost stores.
- Don’t Skip Meals– Skipping meals can lead to low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia).
- Eat Often– Try to eat every 3-4 hours to keep you blood sugar levels in control in order to help you avoid the real highs (hyperglycemia) and the real lows (hypoglycemia).
- Get on a Schedule– Try to eat at the same time every day. This will help regulate your blood sugar.
- Eat Balanced Meals– Make sure you eat protein and fat with your carbs. This will slow down the absorption of the carb (which in return helps regulate your blood sugar).
- Decrease Total Carb Intake– The more carbs you eat, the more glucose will be in your blood, the less able you are to clear the glucose (keeping you hyperglycemic).
- Check your blood sugars repeatedly throughout the day.
Living a life with diabetes can be an easy thing as long as you stay in tune with your body, eat properly, exercise, and check your blood sugar often.