Nutrition and diabetes
Use food to maintain control of your blood-sugar levels, and lose weight if necessary.
You can manage blood-sugar levels, lower your blood pressure, and avoid hypoglycaemia just by watching what you eat, when you eat, and learning to manage your condition.
This term means “high glucose in the blood” and is what all people with diabetes are trying to control. Severe hyperglycaemia can occur if you eat something very high in sugar, or if you have not produced enough insulin. The symptoms are similar to those you may have had before you were diagnosed with diabetes - fatigue, thirst, and excessive urination.
Treating your condition
Research shows that treating your diabetes through a combination of dietary changes, weight control, and exercise - implemented and supervised by a state-registered dietitian - can have a dramatic effect, and in some cases remove the need for medications that lower high blood-sugar levels.
By managing your diabetes in this way you can effectively lower your levels of haemoglobin A1c. Testing for this type of haemoglobin shows your average blood-sugar levels over the last three months, and regular testing can help you track blood-sugar levels over time.
Having diabetes does not mean that you have to follow a strict nutritional regime, nor do you have to eat a carbohydrate-free or sugar-free diet (see Maintaining carbohydrate levels); it just means that what you eat must be healthy and well balanced.
Being overweight contributes to an increased risk of developing diabetes because the body cannot make enough insulin to keep the levels of blood sugar normal.
If you have a family history of type 2 diabetes and are overweight it is important to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight: even modest amounts of weight loss can improve insulin resistance and help correct high blood-sugar levels.
If you have diabetes, you are at increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Reducing saturated fat is one of the most important changes you can make to reduce your risk. If you have high blood pressure, you should limit your total sodium intake.
This is when blood sugar levels drop dangerously low. It is caused by too high a dose of insulin, missed meals, or being more active than usual. Symptoms are similar to drunkenness - unsteady movement, slurred speech, nausea, sweating, dizziness, headache, or weakness. Any carbohydrate-rich food will raise blood-sugar levels, including glucose tablets, sugar, juice, regular cola, or a sports drink.
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