Misunderstandings about the diet of diabetes patient and suggestions for the menu

29/02/2024

Diet plays a significant role in diabetes management and affects different aspects of a patient’s health. For them, following a healthy and balanced diet is an important part of disease control.

How does diet affect people with diabetes?

Diabetes patients need a healthy diet to control blood sugar, stabilize blood pressure, and blood cholesterol levels 

Diet plays a major role in diabetes management. Food habits can affect how the body processes blood sugar and impact a person’s overall health. Maintaining a reasonable diet could bring the following benefits to diabetes patients:

  • Control blood sugar: Diet directly affects the blood sugar levels of people with diabetes. Foods with a low glycemic index such as green vegetables, fruits, seeds and barley cereals helps maintain stable blood sugar and control blood sugar after each meal.
  • Manage weight: A balanced and fiber-rich diet helps control weight or lose weight if necessary. Maintaining a healthy weight is important for people with diabetes to reduce the risk of related health problems.
  • Reduce the risk of complications: A healthy diet helps reduce the risk of diabetes-related complications, including cardiovascular disease, stroke, kidney failure and nerve damage.
  • Support disease management: The appropriate diet is an important part of diabetes management. It could assist in the control of blood sugar, maintain a healthy weight, reduce the risk of complications, and support the overall management of the disease.

Misunderstanding about the diet of people with diabetes

Diabetes is a common disease, but the fact that many people still do have adequate understanding of this leads to mistakes in treatment. Below are some common misunderstandings:

Minimize starch intake

Some believe that minimizing intake of starches, such as rice, bread and potatoes, is the best way to control blood sugar. However, starch is the main source of energy, completely restricting starch can lead to nutrient deficiencies, thereby not generating energy for the brain and muscles to function, causing a feeling of fatigue and sluggishness, hypoglycemia and physical weakness.

According to the advice of medical experts, diabetics should limit foods rich in starch, but it is not necessary to abstain completely. Patients should take rice, noodles, cereals… but in smaller quantities than usual.

Diabetes patient could choose fiber-rich starches as they provide more nutritional value and help control blood sugar better. Fruits also contain starch and many other necessary vitamins and minerals. It is important that patients need to know which types of starch are good and suitable for the body, how much starch to consume each day to keep blood sugar levels within a safe range, as well as control their weight.

Overuse of dietary sugar

Diet sugar is a sweetener and contains chemicals that can directly affect liver and kidney function in the body. During processing, dietary sugar can be denatured and affect your health. People with diabetes could occasionally eat foods made from artificial sweeteners to create sweetness instead of sugar. However, there is not much scientific evidence to show that dietary sugar can replace natural sugar and allow patients to control blood sugar or improve long-term health.

People with diabetes often abuse dietary (Pic: Freepik)

Optionally substitute foods from other groups

A number of diabetics believe that they could take more protein and fat instead of starch. Although protein and fat do not directly affect blood sugar levels, other components of foods rich in protein and lipids cause the body to increase blood sugar. Normally, people with diabetes are not required to reduce protein or fat than people without the disease. However, in case of weight gain or diabetes complications, patients should limit protein and fat.

Completely abstain from sweets 

Some believe that diabetes patients are not allowed to eat sugar and sweets. This is a common misconception among people with diabetes. As blood sugar levels always tend to increase, many people think that sugar and foods containing sugar should be completely avoided in the diet. However, people with diabetes do not necessarily have to completely avoid sugar and sweets. It’s important to focus on a balanced diet, low in carbohydrates and low in saturated and trans fats; Prioritize fresh vegetables, fish, beans and nuts. Occasionally, you can eat a piece of cake, a few cookies, a piece of chocolate or nibble on some dried fruit. Besides, people with diabetes are susceptible to hypoglycemia. At this time, a sweet candy, sugar pill or soft drink is really useful to quickly raise blood sugar, avoiding serious complications. So always carry them with you to use in case of need.

Misconceptions of people with diabetes to completely cut out sweets (Pic: Freepik)

Not allowed to eat fruits

The thinking that people with diabetes should not eat fruit is a misconception. Fruit is an important part of a healthy diet and provides many various nutrients for the body, including fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidant compounds. Although, typically fruits contain a form of natural sugar called fructose that affects blood sugar levels. Therefore, people with diabetes need to pay attention to fruit portions, such as choosing a small banana instead of a large one, and should choose low-sugar fruits such as apples, grapefruit, guava, papaya… Fruits is also high in fiber, vitamins, minerals and disease-fighting compounds, so do not eliminate it from your diabetic diet.

Free to eat and drink if medication taken

Some diabetes patients believe that if they take medication to control their blood sugar, they can choose their diet freely without control. However, taking medication does not mean being able to eat and drink freely. Using medication as prescribed is important, but it must still be combined with a healthy, balanced diet. As a diet full of food groups not only helps control disease in the long term but also enables reduction of the risk of chronic diseases.

With thorough understanding nutritional issues for people with diabetes, living with diabetes is not as scary as thinking of many. Just by following a few basic rules, patients can build a suitable diet to control blood sugar while still being able to enjoy their favorite foods. If you are in need of advice on diet, patients should contact medical staff at the nearest medical facility or where the patient is being treated.

Recommended menus for people with diabetes

The menu for diabetics required to diversify dishes and constantly change so that patients do not get bored with food. In addition, it is necessary to prioritize nutritional balance and choose foods with a low glycemic index. Some diabetes menus for reference are as follows:

Breakfast menu

Days of week Menu
Monday Whole grain cereal mixed with low-sugar milk
Tuesday Fried eggs and toasted wholemeal bread
Wednesday Vermicelli and pho with lots of meat and green vegetables
Thursday Black bread spread with nut butter
Friday Salad mixed with boiled chicken breast
Saturday Oats and fresh fruit
Sunday Brown rice porridge

Lunch menu

It is necessary that lunch menu for diabetics to provide adequate amounts of starch and fat to ensure nutrition and energy for daily activities. However, it should be noted that diabetics should not eat too much in one meal to prevent high blood sugar levels after meals.

Days of week  Servings
 

Monday

1 cup of rice

1 bowl of pumpkin soup with meat

1 little meat stewed with egg and tomato

2 pieces of watermelon or 1 cucumber

Tuesday 1 cup of rice

1 bowl of salmon soup

1 little braised meat with eggs

Boiled spinach

½ pear

Wednesday

1 cup of rice

1 bowl of shrimp gourd soup

1 little shumai

1 bowl of crab legs mixed with vinegar oil

Thursday

1 bowl of noodle soup

1 cream puff

Friday

1 cup of rice

1 bowl of crab soup cooked with amaranth and spinach

1 plate of boiled peas

Saturday

1 bowl of braised beef noodles

1 piece of watermelon

Sunday

1 bowl of Quang noodles

3 medium mangosteens

Dinner menu

Dinner for diabetics needs to limit foods rich in starch, fat and indigestible foods. You should minimize the amount of starch your body absorbs at dinner and can replace it with vegetables and protein.

Days of week  Servings
 

Monday

1 cup of rice

1 plate of boiled vegetables

½ plate of braised meat

A bit of fruit

 

Tuesday

1 cup of rice

1 bowl of watercress soup

½ plate of boiled meat

A bit of sauerkraut

A bit of fruit

 

Wednesday

1 cup of rice

¼ plate of chicken cooked with mushrooms

¼ plate of crab salad

A bit of fruit

 

Thursday

1 cup of rice

½ plate of boiled spinach

3 pieces of tofu stuffed with meat

A bit of fruit

Friday 1 bowl of noodle soup

A bit of fruit

Saturday 1 cup of rice

¼-½ plate of bitter melon stir-fried with eggs

⅓ plate of eggplant cooked with beans and meat

A bit of fruit

Sunday 1 bowl of rib porridge

A bit of fruit

Snack menu for diabetics

The diet of people with diabetes is not required to be too strict and patients could take snacks. Below are some snacks that are safe for the health of people with diabetes:

  • Fruits: People with diabetes can snack on some low-sugar fruits to provide vitamins and antioxidants for the body such as grapefruit, oranges, avocados, apples, tangerines, and blueberries, and should limit their consumption of these fruits that are high in natural sugars like bananas, grapes and pineapples.
  • Unsweetened yogurt: Yogurt contains a lot of protein and beneficial bacteria that are good for the body’s resistance and digestive system. People with diabetes should add unsweetened yogurt to their diet. For example, low-fat, unsweetened yogurt or yogurt served with fresh fruit.
  • Boiled corn: Corn is a food with a low glycemic index (GI = 52), low in fat, and contains many vitamins and minerals necessary for the body. Therefore, people with diabetes can choose boiled corn as their favorite snack.
  • Dried fruits: People with diabetes can eat 2-3 types of dried fruits/day to help control blood sugar levels. However, patients need to consult their doctor before adding dried fruit to their diet to receive appropriate usage instructions for each condition. Some types of dried fruits recommended for diabetics include: Olives, pistachios, apricots, almonds.
  • Vegetable salad with yogurt sauce: With salad, you can choose your favorite vegetables. Snacking on vegetable salad with yogurt sauce not only does not cause weight gain or increased blood sugar, but also helps people with diabetes add fiber, vitamins, and minerals needed for the body.

People with diabetes should add nuts to their snack menu (Pic: Freepik)

It is recommended to take snack in the mid-morning or afternoon to avoid high blood sugar at night. If you feel hungry, you should only eat small to medium sized snacks, measured with a piece of fruit, or 1 small cup. You should not eat too much as your main meal as this may cause to lose control of your blood sugar intake.

Besides making a healthy menu and scientific lifestyle, patients can refer to and supplement Glucare Gold nutritional products specifically for diabetics. This is a product successfully researched and developed by Nutricare Medical Nutrition Institute – USA (NMNI – USA) and Nutricare Nutrition Joint Stock Company.

Glucare Gold has a low glycemic index (GI) that has been clinically proven to help stabilize blood sugar after drinking. In addition, the product also adds easily absorbable Whey protein from the US along with 56 nutrients to support healthy immunity. In particular, Glucare Gold products also contain Omega 3,6,9 and Antioxidants (Vitamin A, C, E & Selenium) that are good for the heart, helping to reduce cardiovascular complications and prevent the risk of stroke. Therefore, Glucare Gold nutritional solution is an ideal choice for supplement of optimal energy and nutrients for the patient’s body.

References:

1.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7693664

2. https://www.ncoa.org/article/why-its-important-to-eat-healthy-when-you-have-diabetes

3.https://trungtamytequan4.medinet.gov.vn/thong-tin-truyen-thong/nhung-quan-niem-sai-lam-ve-benh-dai-thao-duong-c14232-132768.aspx

4. https://diabetesaction.org/eating-basics

5.https://moh.gov.vn/chuong-trinh-muc-tieu-quoc-gia/-/asset_publisher/7ng11fEWgASC/content/3-sai-lam-nghiem-trong-cua-nguoi-benh-ai-thao-uong

6. https://www.benhvien108.vn/dinh-duong-cho-nguoi-benh-dai-thao-duong.htm

7. https://suckhoedoisong.vn/quan-niem-sai-ve-benh-dai-thao-duong-169153294.htm

8.https://www.adces.org/docs/default-source/living-with-diabetes/tip-sheets/healthy-snacking-tip-sheet_final.pdf

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