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Diabetes: Non-Pharma management - how can I help myself manage my diabetes through my diet

Posted by Eamonn Brady on

Diabetes: Non-Pharmacological Treatment Options Part 1


It is important to regularly eat three times a day.  Special diabetic foods are not needed for a healthy diet. There is strong evidence that progression from hyperglycaemia to type 2 diabetes can be prevented or at least delayed by dietary effort. A diabetes prevention programme in the US gave a 58% reduction in the incidence of diabetes when participants were provided with lifestyle intervention, including diet, compared with a 31% reduction in persons treated with metformin. However, there are relatively few other studies evaluating the effect of dietary intervention in patients with type 2 diabetes.


Controlling your blood sugar and weight is a vital part of managing type 2 diabetes; just as important as staying on top of any complications with your heart, eyes, and other organs which can occur due to the condition. Managing type 2 diabetes requires a lot of dedication and meal planning in order to stabilise blood sugar (glucose) level.  If you do have type 2 diabetes, it is recommended you eat:

  • Food from all food groups (carbohydrates, dairy, protein, fruit, and vegetables)
  • The same amount of carbohydrates at every meal (portion control)
  • Good fats (omega – 3 fatty acids, monounsaturated fats)
  • Fewer calories

By eating a healthier more balanced diet you are more likely to keep blood sugars under control and maintain a healthy weight. Statistics indicate an individual with type 2 diabetes is more likely to be overweight; by losing close to a stone you can help improve your insulin sensitivity and glycaemic control. By incorporating heathy foods into your diet and keeping active (walking, swimming, tennis etc.) for 30 minutes 3-4 times a week, you can maintain your weight loss goal.

Foods to restrict:

Carbohydrates and blood sugar

Carbohydrates present in certain foods provide our bodies with the energy we require. That being said some carbohydrate foods can raise your blood sugars much higher and quicker than other types of food. It’s very important to identify which foods will give a spike in your sugar levels as these foods will need to be limited (e.g.) white versions of bread, rice, pasta etc. will raise your blood sugar quicker than healthier brown versions


Sugary food
It goes without saying that sugary foods and drinks (fizzy drinks, sweets, biscuits etc.) are low quality carbohydrates and need to be limited or avoided if you have diabetes. These foods lack in nutritional value and also cause a sharp spike in your blood sugar level, this can lead to weight issues and worsen diabetic complications. Try and eat more fruits like apples, pears, and berries as they contain fibre which can slow down the absorption of glucose, much more ideal for blood sugar control.


Fruit Juice

Fibre rich whole fruits are much more beneficial for controlling diabetes whereas fruit juice is not. If you have diabetes, it is not ideal to be consuming too much fruit juice as it contains a high level of concentrated fruit sugar causing you blood sugar levels to rocket.


What is BPro Cardio Screen Service?

BPro Cardio Screen measures stiffness of your arteries to identify risk of blockages and risk of cardiovascular disease and circulation problems. BPRo is placed like a watch on your wrist and is pain free. A pulse wave reads and calculates a wave signal that indicates the elasticity of large, small, and peripheral artery walls as well as tests for stress, central blood pressure, heart rate, and more. It is now €35 (was €50); it only takes about 15 minutes. The next clinic is Saturday September 25th (from 9am to 5pm) at Whelehans Pearse St. Book by calling Whelehans at 04493 34591.


To be continued… next week.


For comprehensive and free health advice and information call in to Whelehans Pharmacies, log on to or dial 04493 34591 (Pearse St) or 04493 10266 (Clonmore).

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