May 13, 2015

Diabetes Diet Myths – Part 3

The last two diabetes myths are:
I find the last two myths seem to bother newly diagnosed people with diabetes. With that said, here they are.

Myth 9 No, there is not a special diabetes diet. What the person with diabetes needs to eat is also healthy for the rest of the family. This eliminates the need to prepare special meals for the person with diabetes. It is true that the person with diabetes needs to be more careful and carefully monitor what they consume. This monitoring means counting the carbs consumed, knowing the types of carbohydrates, fats, and protein consumed. Again, a nutritionist can be of great assistance in helping the person with diabetes.

I do keep meeting people that ask about why they are not told about the special diabetes diet they should be eating. First, I make it clear that there is not a special diabetes food plan for everyone. I then explain that they have to develop their own food plan based (and this is important) on what their meter tells them. Admittedly, some will never do this, but some have said they cannot afford the extra test strips. I tell them to contact the manufacturer and follow their instruction for assistance. I seldom find out if they do this.

Myth 10 No, diet foods are often not the best choice for people with diabetes. They are often more expensive and not as healthy as the foods in the regular sections of the grocery store. And they are not as nutritious as the foods you prepare yourself. Do yourself a favor and read the labels and the ingredients on the foods to find out the number of carbohydrates per serving and the other nutritional information. Also do not forget that a nutritionist can be of help.

No, I did not say a dietitian or a certified diabetes educator because generally they are influenced by a commercial food company or promote a food plan that will contain whole grains (especially wheat) and too many carbohydrates.

Other points beyond diabetes myths. Forget about the word “diet” and think food plan or meal plan that works for you and that you know from your meter will satisfy the needs of your body. Then by combining your food plan with the exercise that works or you and the medications your doctor prescribes for you, you should have an effective tool for maintaining your blood glucose levels within the range your have set for yourself. This is the best plan for you and not a “one-size-fits-all” plan from a dietitian.

If you have been reading the sections in the WebMD article, you will know that they recommend a dietitian. In my experience with dietitians, they do not work at the individual level and generally work at the “one-size-fits-all” level. The nutritionist is generally better educated and has more knowledge about nutrition and work with each individual at their level to develop the food plan that works for them. Then they will generally show you how to adapt the food plan to fit changes that your meter indicates.

In addition, they will show you how to balance your food plan to avoid the vitamin and mineral shortages that the dietitians insist you will have when eliminating wheat from your food plan. Some will find that they don't need to eliminate all whole grains while others will find this necessary.

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