When words have multiple meanings, and one of the meanings has a negative association, they can draw an unfavorable response pretty quickly. Such is the case with “diet.” Upon hearing the word, people tend to automatically think about a restrictive eating plan, even though it can simply refer to the kinds of food someone eats. As we start talking about diabetic diets, it is important to think of this in terms of the latter definition.
Diabetes is caused by elevated blood sugar levels, so the kinds of food you eat play an important role in managing the condition and preventing it from developing in the first place. With this in mind, let’s look at dietary habits you should adopt for optimal health.
The best place to start is with actually getting the food. First, avoid going to the grocery store on an empty stomach. Doing so is a surefire way to end up with cookies, ice cream, and candy bars, all of which are laden with sugar!
Many health advocates recommend sticking to the outer fringes of the store, since the middle shelves are where grocers house heavily processed foods. Fill up your grocery cart with low-fat dairy products, lean meats, vegetables, fresh fruit, legumes, and whole grains. (With that being said, be sure to check the label for products that are listed as “low-fat” – in some cases, sugar has been added to keep the fat down. If you find that to be the case, leave the product on the shelf.)
Let’s stop for a moment and think about this hypothetical grocery cart. It’s full and you can make plenty of delicious meals. Whereas “diet” might conjure up images of rabbit food (a carrot stick and a couple lettuce leaves…), this clearly is not the case!
Instead, you have the basis of a well-rounded diet that will not only help manage and prevent diabetes, but also promote healthy circulation, reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and provide energy to keep you going through the entire day. Also, you will take off pounds—vegetables are very filling, but only have a fraction of the calories junk food does—and even help keep your wallet fuller.
Of course, how you eat is only one part of the equation. Between medication, dietary habits, and physical activity, managing diabetes is a lot like a juggling act. You can even think of it this way – I’m the court jester and your internal medicine doctor is a juggler! Seriously, timing is everything when it comes to diabetes management.
We provide many important services, but diabetic foot care is perhaps the most important. Bunions can cause pain and discomfort. Achilles tendinitis will keep you from your favorite sports. Diabetes, though, is a life-threatening illness (with a mortality rate worse than breast and colon cancers if an ulcer develops). Having controlled blood sugar (great A1c tests) will put you at no greater risk than the general population.
Now that you understand the benefit of making healthy dietary choices, take a moment and find out the benefit of seeing a podiatrist who truly cares about your health from fellow patients. If you have any questions about the benefits of diabetic diets, give us a call at (317) 545-0505 or contact our Indianapolis, IN office online today!