Why should a diabetic avoid any food other than sugar?
Of course, foods in the sugar group include candy, soda, cookies, brownies, cakes, donuts, cakes, ice cream, sports drinks, punch, sweetened fruit juices, high fructose corn syrup, and anything similar that may have missed.
Eating these foods raises your blood sugar quickly, in a matter of minutes. In a non-diabetic, a rapid rise in blood sugar is counteracted by a rapid rise in insulin. However, with diabetes, the blood sugar level and the insulin level may not match. For diabetics taking oral medication, the pancreas does not respond quickly enough. For those receiving injections, the maximum insulin level may not coincide with the maximum sugar level. Not only can this lead to high blood sugar levels, it can also result in low readings, if insulin peaks when blood sugar is not high.
Few diabetics are aware that simple carbohydrates raise blood glucose as quickly as sugar itself. Simple carbohydrates include white bread, white potatoes, white rice, breakfast cereals, instant oatmeal, pancakes, and waffles. Eating a few slices of toasted Wonder bread or a cup of instant oatmeal for breakfast doesn’t sound bad until you realize that this has the same effect as eating a chocolate bar.
So the first reason to avoid certain foods is to regulate blood sugar. However, there are important reasons why diabetics should avoid other foods.
High-calorie foods tend to lead to weight gain and include foods that are not only high in sugar, but high in fat as well. Certain “diabetic” foods may not contain sugar but may be high in fat. Since most adult diabetics need to monitor their weight, it is important to control the amount of calories and fat in the diet.
A second concern with dietary fats is the cholesterol content. The risk of a diabetic of having a heart attack is as high as that of a person who has already had it! And anyone who has had a heart attack wants to avoid a second. The LDL cholesterol goal is lower for diabetics than non-diabetics. It is difficult to reach this desired level (less than 70 mg / dL) without resorting to medication, although some patients do this by carefully limiting the amount of fat and cholesterol in the diet.
Third, many diabetic patients have high blood pressure. Foods that contain sodium or large amounts of salt tend to raise blood pressure. The daily intake should not exceed 2000 mg. Since the goal of blood pressure in a diabetic is around <130-135 / 80-85 (as opposed to <140/90 in non-diabetics), it is important that the patient does everything possible to keep their pressure low. arterial.
You may have noticed a pattern here: high blood sugar, high cholesterol, high body weight, and high blood pressure are all risk factors for cardiovascular disease: heart attacks and strokes. Although high blood sugar can also affect other organs of the body: the brain, eyes, kidneys, nerves, skin, etc. – The main reason for a diabetic to avoid certain foods is to avoid cardiovascular diseases.
Was that brownie you had for lunch worth the risk of a heart attack?
Copyright 2010 Cynthia J Koelker, MD