Diabetes is a condition in which the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood becomes too high because the body is unable to either convert it into energy or to store it.
Food choices for diabetics
The dietary guidelines for people with diabetes are very similar to those recommended for everyone else and there is no need to buy special diabetic foods.
Plan your meals
Eating regularly helps to ensure your blood sugar does not swing from one extreme to the other. People with diabetes need to base each meal on a starchy carbohydrate food for energy and to help maintain control over their blood-glucose level.
Reduce your sugar intake
As long as your everyday diet is healthy and generally low in sugar, some sweet food (in small portions) will do no harm, particularly if eaten as part of a meal.
Sugary drinks can cause blood glucose levels to rise quickly, so choose sugar-free, diet or low-sugar squashes and fizzy drinks.
Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables
Aim for at least five portions of fruit or vegetables a day, eating more vegetables than fruit for lower sugar consumption.
Cut down on fatty foods
Fat does not directly affect your blood-glucose levels, but it is important for reducing overall weight and the risk of coronary heart disease, both of which are risks associated with diabetes. It is best to try to reduce the total fat in your diet - especially saturated fats.
Reduce your salt intake
Avoid having salt on the dining table, and use less salt in cooking - add fresh or dried herbs and spices instead to enhance the flavour of food.
Moderate alcohol intake
It is best to keep to safe drinking limits, which means no more than 14 units of alcohol a week.
Maintain a healthy weight
Check with a registered dietitian that you are not only eating a healthy diet, but also eating the right quantity to maintain your weight at an ideal level. During exercise or physical activity your blood glucose level falls so you may need to adjust your insulin and have a sugary snack available.
Diabetic friendly recipes