Consider this: More than 380 million people all over the world have diabetes. Worse, barely 15 years from now, that number is expected to more than double.
People with diabetes, according to Diabetes Australia, do not produce either enough or any insulin at all.
The hormone insulin is responsible for converting glucose (sugar) from food (such as breads, cereals, starchy vegetables and sweets) into energy. Diabetic patients are thus often instructed to watch the amount of glucose-rich food they consume.
That is why the phrase “in moderation” must be every diabetic’s all-important mantra.
Diabetes and Sweets
Quite simply, lack or absence of insulin = problems in converting sugar in the body.
It is also a fact that one can have diabetes depending on genetics as well as one’s lifestyle. Those who are overweight have higher risks for certain types of diabetes. Here is where management of glucose in the body is the key. It shouldn’t be any surprise that sweetened beverages, for example, are a no-no.
In general though, it is all about having a healthy meal plan and being active. And Yes, diabetics can eat sweets.
According to Amanda Kirpitch, a Nutrition Educator at the Joslin Diabetes Center, one need not completely avoid sugar all the time.
While low-calorie sweeteners are a good substitute, foods without sugar added don’t noticeably differ in total carbohydrate than in a regularly sweetened product. Sweets may be added to a meal plan but “they shouldn’t play a big role.” Of course, a healthier alternative for any sweet craving is to take fruits instead.
Some may also wonder if having diabetes means forever saying No to alcohol, including a glass of red wine or champagne during special occasions. The Canadian Diabetes Association advises: “… daily intake should be limited to two to three drinks for adult men and one to two drinks for adult women.” Mind you, this is the recommendation, diabetic or not.
Diabetics, Don’t Abuse the “In Moderation” Phrase
A word must be said here about the tempting tendency to say one is enjoying sweets or alcohol “in moderation”, even when one’s consumption has actually gone overboard.
As perception of what is moderate differs individual to individual, one good basis of consumption is the calorie intake. An ideal daily intake depends on one’s gender as well as level of activity. Speak with your diabetologist about your diet target and what he believes should be your daily calorie intake.
Heidi McIndoo of Diabetes Monitor notes that to control sugar, you must be aware of the right serving portion and the number of times sugar is consumed. “Instead of eating a big bowl of ice cream each night, consider having a single scoop of low-sugar ice cream a couple of times per week.”
She also has this reminder: Eat your treat with a meal. She clarifies that “eating your sweet treat with a meal instead of alone can help slow the body’s absorption of the sugar”.
Living with diabetes does not really mean a less fun life. It does require, though, an understanding of what moderation means and really practising it; living it daily. After all, considering that diabetes, if left unmanaged, can lead to blindness, kidney failure, amputations, heart failure as well as stroke, the small acts of self-control are so well worth it.
– Deli Sales Simbajon for Grateful and Spry