Controlling diabetes is closely linked to diet and lifestyle.
- Smart food choices help keep blood sugar, weight, and cholesterol in better
control. Focus on fewer calories, and eat less fat (especially saturated fat).
Enjoy more fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish, and legumes instead.
- The amounts of fat, carbohydrate (fruits, vegetables, breads and grains)
and protein (meat, fish, milk, nuts) you eat depend on your calorie needs
and goals for weight control. A healthy diet usually includes 10-20% of daily
calories from protein, 30% or less from fat, and the rest from carbohydrates.
- Always read the labels before trying "low fat," "light,"
or "no fat" foods. Some of these specially-labeled foods are "dietetic"
because they're sugar free. Others are lower in calories. Some mention that
they're good for people with diabetes. But many diet foods that use sugar
substitutes are high in fat and calories. Words like "light" or
"low" can be deceptive. Try to read the fine print!
- Just one alcoholic beverage on an empty stomach can lower your blood sugar drastically. Sip drinks slowly and always drink alcohol with food in your stomach. Limit yourself to no more that two drinks a day and be careful when consuming brandy, port, and liqueurs, which have high sugar content.
- Enjoy sweets in moderation: People with diabetes don't have to avoid sugar
all together. You can still enjoy a cookie, a piece of cake, or chocolate
every now and then. Talk to your health care professional about how to safely
incorporate sweets into your diet.
- Exercise usually lowers blood sugar. It can help insulin work more effectively
and improve your health and energy.
- Ask your doctor about the right kind of exercise for you. Get a checkup
if you're starting out, and avoid overdoing it. Gradually increasing your
levels of physical activity helps prevent injuries while maintaining your
enthusiasm to continue exercising.
- Check blood sugar levels before and after you exercise. This helps avoid
low blood sugar. Monitoring your blood sugar can help determine how different
types of activities affect sugar levels.
- Try walking, swimming, and light weightlifting exercises for physical activity.