What should someone with type 1 diabetes eat? Is it really that important? What should I avoid? These are all valid questions that are asked when it comes to changing habits to remain healthy with type 1 diabetes.
One of the most important questions to answer is “why does this matter?” Michael Dansinger states: “When you make healthy food choices and eat consistent amounts through the day, it can help control your sugars. It can also lower your chance of diabetes-related problems like heart disease, kidney disease, and nerve damage” (Dansinger, 2016). Therefore, by maintaining a healthy diet, not only are you keeping your blood sugar stable, but you are also preventing other serious diseases.
According to Erica Oberg, the timing of meals is extremely important for people with type 1 diabetes (Oberg, 2016). One thing that is strongly suggested is eating low glycemic load meals. This not only makes it easier to plan out meals, but it also allows time for the body to respond.
If someone with type 1 diabetes skips a meal or eats late, it can cause low blood sugar. Therefore, it is extremely important that the person stays on a strict eating schedule. The meals need to line up with the insulin dosage as well. This will help limit complications.
Oberg gives a long list of foods that are great to eat for someone with type 1 diabetes. They suggest having complex carbohydrates inside of one’s diet. This includes, but is not limited to, brown rice, whole wheat, quinoa, fruits, oatmeal, vegetables, beans, and lentils (Oberg, 2016). Dansinger suggests that people should eat some of the following food if they have type 1 diabetes: “beans, dark green leafy vegetables, citrus fruit, sweet potatoes, berries, tomatoes, fish high in, omega-3 fatty acids (like salmon), whole grains, nuts,
fat-free yogurt, and milk” (Dansinger, 2016).
There are also foods and beverages that people with type 1 diabetes should avoid as well. Soda needs to be avoided at all costs. It does not matter if it is diet, regular, cream, or fizzy; soda does not have a place inside of a healthy diet.
They should also avoid eating foods that are made up of simple carbohydrates. Good examples of this are white bread, pastries, chips, cookies, and pasta. These are foods that should be avoided if possible. You should also avoid processed and refined sugars (Oberg, 2016). Trans fat and animals that have high contents of fat should be avoided as well.
However, regular fats can be beneficial. Fats do not have a strong effect on the change of blood sugar levels. However, they are useful in slowing down the amount of consumption of carbohydrates.
According to Oberg, the “five type 1 diabetes ‘superfoods’ to eat include fiber, sardines, vinegar, cinnamon, and berries” (Oberg, 2016). Having protein in your diet can also help stabilize your blood sugar levels.
Dansinger suggests that people with type 1 diabetes should count their intake of carbohydrates (Dansinger, 2015). By counting carbohydrates, someone can see how much intake is occuring. You should avoid foods with unhealthy fats. Eating healthy fats is a much better alternative.
In conclusion, if you want to help lower the risks of more serious conditions later on in your life, it is essential that you manage your type 1 diabetes well. By maintaining a nutritious diet, you will be able to lower several of the risks associated with diabetes.
Oberg, E. (2016). Type 1 diabetes diet. Web. MedicineNet Inc. Retrieved from http://www.medicinenet.com/type_1_diabetes_diet/article.htm
Dansinger, M. (2015). What to eat when you have type 1 diabetes. Web. WebMD. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/type-1-diabetes-guide/diet-type-1-diabetes#2