Unravelling Diabetes: A Comprehensive Guide to Nutrition and Meal Planning
Are you finding that persistent weight gain is proving difficult to shift, despite your best efforts? Or perhaps your energy levels are consistently low, leaving you feeling tired all the time? It’s easy to push these concerns to the back of your mind, believing you’re not susceptible to the challenges of blood sugar irregularities that can lead to prediabetes or diabetes, especially without the right diabetes nutrition meal plan.
In my clinic, I often meet individuals who ask me about diabetic meal plans, and are surprised by the impact of seemingly innocuous food and lifestyle choices on their blood sugar levels.
Today, we dive into a crucial aspect of diabetes management—nutrition. This article explores essential topics such as signs and symptoms, common risk factors, and concludes with valuable resources:
- A free diabetes type 1 handout
- Access to a digital diabetes nutrition meal plan and
- A nutrition for type 2 diabetes ebook.
Understanding your blood sugar levels is the key to taking control of your health, influencing everything from your weight to overall well-being. Whether you’re assessing your risk for type 2 diabetes, exploring a diabetes healthy meal plan, or seeking guidance on a healthy eating plan for diabetics, this article provides insights to empower you in making informed choices.
What's my target range for pre diabetes & diabetes?
Getting your blood sugar levels checked is worth the effort. Once armed with your numbers, you can proactively address the situation and make a significant difference in your health, including managing your weight effectively.
Regardless of the test results, it’s crucial to understand that simple changes to your diet and lifestyle can prevent, control, and even reverse this condition.
Below are the blood sugar level targets for adults with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, although individual targets may vary:
- Fasting Plasma Glucose (FBG): Between 5.5 and 7 mmol/l
- Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT): Between 7.8 and 11.1 mmol/l
- HbA1c (Glycated Hemoglobin): Between 6% to 6.4%
Image credited to Diabetes.org.UK
Could I have Diabetes?
One in six people over the age of 40 is likely to have diabetes, with many in the grey area leading up to a diabetes diagnosis – prediabetes. Diabetes can increase the risk of stroke, heart disease, visual disturbances and other eye problems like cataracts and glaucoma, higher risk of bacterial, fungal and yeast infections, high blood pressure, damaged nerves and blood vessels, and fatigue and lack of energy.
What Is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition in which levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood are higher than normal.
There are two main kinds of diabetes (type 1 and 2). Both types involve insulin, a hormone responsible for controlling the level of glucose in the blood.
Type 1 diabetic patients do not produce sufficient insulin and therefore need to inject it (this type of diabetes is the rarer kind, and often develops at a young age).
Type 2 diabetic patients, produce insulin, but the cells become insensitive to it and so it fails to do its job properly. Type 2 diabetes accounts for over 90% of all people with diabetes, and the condition usually develops later in life. This type of diabetes is far more strongly associated with diet and lifestyle factors.
Diabetes is diagnosed by testing your blood sugar level. If your fasting plasma glucose level (FBG) is too high (above 7 mmol/l) or your oral glucose tolerance (OGTT) is above 11.1mmol/l, your HbA1c (a measure of long-term blood sugar levels) is above 6.4%, this represents a diagnosis of diabetes.
For prediabetes, a condition where your blood sugar levels are higher than normal and that often leads to type 2 diabetes, your FBG might read between 5.5 and 7 mmol/l, your OGTT might be between 7.8 and 11.1 mmol/l, and your HbA1c might be between 6% to 6.4%.
It’s crucial not to dismiss the risk, as the transition to prediabetes can happen subtly, accompanied by symptoms such as low energy and weight gain.
Common Risk Factors for Prediabetes are these:
- You are heavier than you’d like.
- You have a close relative – parent or sibling – who has a diabetes diagnosis.
- You have high blood pressure or low HDL (‘good’) cholesterol.
- You’re over 40.
- You’ve given birth to a baby over 9 pounds.
What to do if you think you have Diabetes?
Getting your blood tested is essential. Whether through your GP or private testing, understanding your numbers empowers you to make manageable changes to your diet and lifestyle. Don’t overlook this critical step in taking charge of your health.
Unfortunately, many individuals receive misguided dietary advice from doctors lacking nutrition training. Doctors often adhere to the outdated and non-evidence-based Eatwell Guide from Public Health England. It’s essential to recognise that simply shedding a few pounds or resorting to extreme diets won’t address the underlying problem.
Your GP will be able to organise blood tests for you. You can also get tested privately. I offer a range of biochemical tests and can work with you to make manageable changes to your diet and lifestyle to get your health back on track.
For our in depth blood testing site – take a look at “Personalised Blood Tests”
So - How can I reduce my risk of Diabetes?
A comprehensive diet and lifestyle approach is the key. Here are some tips to help you make better food choices if you’re concerned about prediabetes or diabetes:
- Prioritise Whole Foods: Embrace a diet rich in whole, unprocessed foods.
- Control Portion Sizes: Be mindful of portion sizes to avoid overeating.
- Balanced Macronutrients: Ensure a balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats in your meals.
- Regular Physical Activity: Incorporate regular exercise into your routine to aid weight management and improve insulin sensitivity.
- Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water to support overall health.
Join me on this journey to better health.
Let’s make informed choices, manage our health effectively, and embrace a vibrant, diabetes-free life.
Diabetes Nutrition Meal Plan
This meal plan has been specifically designed for pre diabetes & diabetes.
It contains low-glycemic recipes aimed at helping you stabilise blood sugar levels and maintaining a healthy weight. It’s moderate in carbohydrates and high in fibre.
Before starting any new diet or meal plan please check with your healthcare professional.
This plan features delicious recipes using whole food ingredients with easy-to-follow directions for people of all cooking levels.
You will receive a weekly diabetes meal plan that emphasises the preparation of whole, plant-based foods. This plan may help prevent blood sugar spikes and has a variety of heart-healthy fats and protein-rich foods to keep you feeling satisfied. It also contains plenty of plant-based foods to help promote overall health.