In diabetes, the blood sugar level is permanently too high. Which diet are the right one for type 1 and 2 diabetes? And what special features apply to women who suffer from gestational diabetes?
How does the diet in diabetes differ from the diet rules for healthy people?
A few years ago, the shelves were full of foods that were supposed to be especially suitable for diabetics. This has now changed: Researchers are now of the opinion that diabetics should not eat any particular diet.
The diet for diabetes is similar to the diet recommendations for healthy people. A balanced, wholesome mixed diet with lots of vegetables and fruit, whole grain products, a little salt, and lots of vegetable fats is well suited.
When it comes to nutrition in diabetes, it is also important to consider individual factors such as weight or possible previous illnesses. Dietary advice is therefore recommended for people with type 1 and 2 diabetes.
Diet for type 1 and 2 diabetes – what are the recommendations?
The composition of nutrients plays an important role in nutrition:
- Carbohydrates: They are important suppliers of energy, but cause blood sugar levels to rise. As part of their diet, diabetics should primarily consume complex carbohydrates in the form of whole-grain products. They ensure a slower rise in blood sugar. On the other hand, diabetics should avoid products with carbohydrates that cause blood sugar to spike. These include white flour and sweets. In addition, it is crucial what carbohydrates are combined with. For example, fiber ensures that blood sugar levels rise more slowly.
- Fats: People of normal weight should consume around a third of the nutrients as fat. It depends on the type and quality of the fat. Favorable are mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids, for example from vegetable oils or fish. Saturated fatty acids, such as in sausage, should be used sparingly.
- Proteins: Up to 20% of the diet should consist of proteins, for example in the form of low-fat meat, fish, or legumes.
- Patients with type 1 diabetes must inject insulin for life. When it comes to diet with diabetes, you have to pay particular attention to carbohydrates: the proportion of carbohydrates determines how much insulin has to be injected. Working with carbohydrate units (or with bread units) is helpful. Ten grams of carbohydrates equals one carbohydrate unit. You can use tables to see how many carbohydrate units are assigned to food. If the food is packaged, it helps to look at the packaging: it states the proportion of carbohydrates per 100 grams.
What diet is recommended for gestational diabetes?
In addition to diabetes types 1 and 2 and some rare forms of diabetes, there is also gestational diabetes, which is caused by metabolic changes during pregnancy. Although gestational diabetes usually resolves after birth, it can be harmful to both mother and child.
Which diet is recommended for gestational diabetes depends on several factors, such as weight. However, it is often important
- low-carbohydrate meals
- distribute the food throughout the day, for example in the form of three main meals that are not too large and up to three snacks in between
- eat fewer calories if you are overweight; however, strict diets should be avoided
The same applies to gestational diabetes, type 1, or type 2: For the diet in diabetes, all types of dietary changes should only be made in consultation with the doctor.