Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects 9% of the Canadian population, which is nearly 1 in 10 people, and this number is expected to increase to 12% by 2025. This condition is characterized by a lack or defect in the secretion of insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas. The absence or insufficiency of insulin leads to hyperglycemia, where sugar in the blood cannot reach the cells to provide energy. Prolonged hyperglycemia can lead to complications, particularly in the nerves, eyes, kidneys, and heart. In the case of type 2 diabetes, which is the most common form (90% of cases), individuals are either resistant to insulin or do not produce enough of it.
The Benefits of Lifestyle Changes
Good news! Lifestyle changes can be beneficial for type 2 diabetes and can reduce or even avoid the need for insulin injections. As for type 1 diabetes, which affects 1 in 10 diabetic individuals, lifelong insulin injections are required. However, a healthy lifestyle can improve disease control and prevent complications.
Tips for Daily Diabetes Management
To better manage diabetes on a daily basis, here are some practical tips:
1. Engage in Physical Exercise
Engage in at least 30 minutes of physical activity, at least 5 times per week.
2. Eat at Regular Intervals
Space meals out by a maximum of 4 to 6 hours.
3. Adopt a Balanced Plate
Eat 3 balanced meals a day following the balanced plate model. This method helps control the amount of carbohydrates consumed at meals.
4. Opt for Fibre-Rich Foods
Fibre-rich foods such as whole grain products, legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds help stabilize blood sugar levels.
5. Limit Alcohol Consumption
If you consume alcohol, do so with a meal and not alone.
6. Reduce the Consumption of Sugary Foods
When eating cakes, cookies, candies, or chocolate, opt for small quantities.
7. Choose Water
Water should be your beverage of choice rather than sugary drinks such as soda or fruit punches.
8. Use Sugar Substitutes in Moderation
Sugar substitutes such as Splenda®, stevia, and aspartame can be an alternative option, but it is important to consume them in moderation to avoid any digestive discomfort.
If you have diabetes or prediabetes, it is recommended to consult a registered dietitian/nutritionist to develop a dietary plan tailored to your needs and lifestyle in order to better manage your diabetes and blood sugar levels.
In conclusion, diabetes can be better managed through lifestyle changes, including adopting a balanced diet, engaging in regular physical activity, and avoiding harmful eating behaviors. Consult a nutrition professional for personalized advice and take control of your health.