Importance of dietary fibers in diabetic diet
Dietary fibers (unavailable/complex carbohydrates) are very important as they lower the insulin requirements besides increasing peripheral tissue insulin sensitivity, decrease serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels, lower BP and aid in weight control. It also slows down intestinal glucose absorption and improves glucose metabolism.
Importance of exercise
Aerobic exercise promotes use of glucose to provide energy and is good for muscles. This improves efficiency of the pumping action of the heart and opens up the blood vessels to accommodate increased amount of blood being pumped. Walking, cycling, swimming, jogging or skipping are also some other exercises that are recommended.
Balanced DietSweeteners are non– sugar compounds, which can be used as sweetening agents. Some of the sweeteners are:
- Saccharin–it is a non–calorie sweetener.
- Aspartame–gives 4 calories/gm (same as sugar), but it needs to be used in very little quantity as it is nearly 180 to 200 times sweeter than sugar.
- Non–glucose carbohydrates like fructose, sorbitol and xylitol. A diabetic can take any fruit as per fruit exchange list.
- The quantum should be within the calorie and carbohydrate allowance.
- This decision is best taken as per expert advice.
Insulin given in diabetic patients is a substitute for insulin produced within the body. Its action is similar to endogenous insulin in reducing hyperglycemia. Oral hypoglycemic drugs like sulphonylurea tablets stimulate the pancreas to produce insulin and increase the body’s sensitivity to insulin. The action of a biguanide tablet decreases the absorption of glucose from the intestine. Choice of therapeutic regime depends on the patient’s condition. It is important to note that diet patterns and carbohydrate distribution largely depends on choice of therapeutic regime.
Precautions in pregnancy
Diet during pregnancy requires special precautions, specially diabetics. To avoid congenital abnormalities maintenance of near normal glucose level before and during pregnancy requires special attention. Diet, insulin & exercise all of these need to be carefully monitored throughout the pregnancy stage. Monitoring gain in weight throughout pregnancy is very important. Recent researches show the special beneficial effects of vitamins like B–6, B–12, C, E and trace elements like chromium, manganese, zinc and copper in improving insulin action and delaying diabetic complications.