If you’re one of many Australians living with Type 2 diabetes and needing to be ultra careful about what you eat, we feel for you. Medical guidance says you should aim to eat the recommended amount of food from the five food groups, including lots of fruit and vegetables. This ought to provide you with the goodness you need to live a pretty healthy life. Still it must suck to need to be so constantly vigilant.
Furthermore, Diabetes Australia advises you should also consider:
- Regular meals, evenly spread through the day
- A low fat diet, and avoid saturated fat whenever possible
- If you take insulin or diabetes tablets, you may need to snack between meals
- Everyone’s needs are different. All people with diabetes should see an Accredited Practising Dietitian in conjunction with their diabetes team for individualised advice. Diabetes Australia has great advice on this: ‘One Diet Does Not Fit All‘
Balance is Important
The energy you consume through food and drink should closely match energy burned. Too much fuel and your body will seek to store fat, causing you to put on weight. Exercise is important for many reasons but for diabetics being overweight adds difficulty to managing your diabetes and can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer.
Again, Diabetes Australia recommends limiting foods high in energy such as take away foods, sweet biscuits, cakes, sugar sweetened drinks and fruit juice, lollies, chocolate and savoury snacks. Some people have a healthy diet but eat too much. Reducing your portion size is one way to decrease the amount of energy you eat.
What about Sugar?
The experts at Diabetes Australia say that a healthy eating plan for diabetes can include some sugar. However, foods that are high in added sugars and poor sources of other nutrients should be consumed sparingly. In particular, limit high energy foods such as sweets, lollies and standard soft drinks.
Sweeteners can be used in place of sugar especially if they are replacing large amounts of sugar. If you haven’t already consulted your doctor about sugar substitutes, it’s not a bad idea. Our Premium Sugar-Free Diabetic-Friendly Lollies from Dr. John's are sweetened with Xylitol, Erythritol and Stevia, but Xylitol itself is difficult to digest, so it impacts blood sugar less than normal sugar. Also, it does not react with oral bacteria to form plaque and cavities, so it’s more tooth-friendly than sugar and has been shown to help with Dry Mouth. In Australia, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, and Food Standards Australia have approved the use of xylitol in foods, pharmaceuticals, oral health products and confectioneries.