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Foods to avoid when managing diabetes

If you're managing , watching what you eat is one of the most important things you can do to stay healthy. "The basic goal of nutrition for people with diabetes is to avoid blood sugar spikes," says Gerald Bernstein, M.D., director of the diabetes management program at Friedman Diabetes Institute,  New York. Things like lollies and soft drink can be dangerous for diabetics because the body absorbs these simple sugars almost instantly. 

Some foods you should try and avoid (as they have a high GI value - see more about GI below) include:

  • white rice (substitute for brown or basmati)
  • white pasta (have small servings)
  • dried fruit
  • juices and smoothies
  • pretzels
  • fries
  • white breads
  • dry biscuits
  • soft drinks
  • blended coffees

If there is something here that you love, then just be aware of portion control, and enjoy once in a while. :)

Foods which can help lower blood sugars include:

  • nuts
  • legumes
  • avocado
  • greek yoghurt
  • grains
  • eggs
  • garlic
  • green tea
  • most green veggies

What exactly does GI mean?

Carbohydrate is an essential part of our diets, but not all carbohydrate foods are equal. The Glycemic Index (GI) is a relative ranking of carbohydrate in foods according to how they affect blood glucose levels. Carbohydrates with a low GI value (55 or less) are more slowly digested, absorbed and metabolised and cause a lower and slower rise in blood glucose and, therefore usually, insulin levels.

There are three ratings for GI:
In individual portions:
Low = GI value 55 or less
Medium = GI value of 56 – 69 inclusive
High = GI 70 or more

 

So check with your health professional as to what is best for you - everyone is different, so what works for someone may not be best for you.

 

Lipstick and a Smile - Living with Type 1

Today we share a blog from Renza S who is simply amazing. She talks about living with diabetes T1. She writes:

The other night, I cancelled going to a party – a cousin’s kid’s 18th– at the last minute. I seriously never do this. And I absolutely hated doing it.

But I’d had a couple of hypos during the day (Fiasp is absolutely kicking my arse) and I was feeling exhausted. These hypos weren’t what I’ve become used to dealing with (i.e. Loop hypos for me generally look like an alert telling me I’m going to head low, me ignoring it, alert saying I am really about to be low – but not really low because Loop is doing its thing, me having a couple of fruit pastilles, and that’s it). These were the types of hypos that spin me around, turn me upside down and resettle me feeling completely discombobulated. It had been a while.

After the second one, I was so knocked out that I lay down for a bit and ended up getting an hour’s sleep. It was mid-afternoon and when I woke up, I felt no more refreshed.

I contemplated going to the party – I had a shower and started to put on some make up. I looked fine – no different to how I usually look. If I’d gone, no one would have known any different.

Earlier in the day, after I’d already had the first hypo, Aaron had posted a photo of me online. The next day, when I mentioned to someone that I had cancelled plans the evening before thanks to a lousy diabetes day, said ‘Oh. I saw a photo of you online in the morning and you looked great.’

They didn’t mean this in a nasty way, or that they thought I had just cancelled because I couldn’t be bothered going out. It was just a comment. And they were right – I looked exactly the way I would look any other weekend morning when I was having breakfast with family and friends

The next day I was messaging a friend with diabetes and mentioned I’d cancelled my plans at the last minute the night before. ‘Oh babe,’ she said. ‘How’s the hypo hangover?’ and then she detailed all the things that are the inevitable fallout of nasty (and nasty-ish) lows; the things I’d not mentioned to others who’d asked after me.

I told her she had nailed exactly how I was feeling. I told her what had happened, and I didn’t hold back, and I didn’t minimise it. I knew she wouldn’t worry or be unnecessarily concerned or wonder if it was anything more than what it was. I knew she would know – because those feelings are wound into the DNA of diabetes and the people living with it.

Plus, she would know just how I felt about the last-minute cancellation, and feeling that I’d let people down.

‘So, I bet you’re feeling even more crap about cancelling that about the hypos now, right?’ she said.

I laughed. ‘You know it!’ I said to her

‘Don’t you sometimes wish that when you were having a shitty diabetes day it couldn’t be covered up so easily with lipstick and a smile?’ she said, hitting me right in the guts with that comment.

Because she was so right. Lipstick and a smile. That’s every diabetes day. It’s there when I’m feeling great and all is going well; when diabetes is behaving and not impacting on me much at all. And it’s there when I’m feeling crap and diabetes is casting far too large a shadow over my existence for that day. But for most people, they couldn't tell the difference.

You can read Renza's blog posts here.

What are low GI foods?

This week we are looking at low GI foods - what are they and why are they important for helping to manage blood sugar levels. One of our favourite Diabetes Educators has written this helpful blog. Nikki Wallis says:

Q. What is the difference between low GI and low carb?

A. Low GI ‘diets’are more about the quality of the carbohydrate eaten, whereas low carb ‘diets’ are about the quantity of carbohydrates eaten.

The glycemic index (or GI) is a ranking of carbohydrates on a scale from 0 to 100, according to how much they raise blood sugar (glucose) levels after they’re eaten.

High GI foods are quickly digested, absorbed and metabolised and cause fluctuations in blood glucose levels.

Low GI foods (55 or less) are more slowly digested, absorbed and metabolised and cause a lower and slower rise in blood glucose and therefore usually, lower insulin levels too.

Low carb refers to the restriction of carbohydrates in the diet. There are three levels of low carbohydrate diet including very low, moderate and high carb. A very low carb diet has around ~50g or less of carbs per day and can lead to ketoacidosis.

Australian dietary guidelines recommend that for adults, carbohydrates should make up 45-65% of our total energy intake, or 230g-310g of carbs per day.

It’s important for anyone with t1d who is looking to start a low carb eating plan, to speak with their healthcare team.

You can read the rest of this article here.

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