Diabetes is one of those diseases in which medicine and diet plays an important role for better and desired results. If you are able to control your diet, you will see rapid improvement in your diabetic condition. Diet helps you lose excess weight and this is one of the most important factors that a diabetic patient has to be cautious about.
Diet means having healthy food but with proper plan. Diet plan includes choice of healthy food in proper amounts and maintaining meal times. Some of the main diet plans include exchange diet and carbohydrate counting diets.
The American Diabetes Association believes that food exchange work very well in the treatment for diabetes. What is this food exchange diet? Well, in this diet foods are grouped into basic types such as starches, fruits, milk, meat, etc.
Each group contains variety of foods containing the same amount of calories, carbohydrates and other nutrients. You can exchange foods within a group because the nutrient contents are similar and hence they affect your blood sugar levels in a similar manner.
Before starting this diet do consult your dietitian or health care provider. Based on your individual needs the dietitian will recommend a certain number of daily exchanges from each food group. Individual needs include individual dietary requirements, required daily calorie intake and proportion of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
In diabetic exchange foods are grouped into six different lists according to similar calorie, carbohydrate, protein and fat content. These are starch/bread, meat, vegetables, fruit, milk, and fat. The amount and type of exchanges is based on daily exercise, insulin injections, body weight, cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
While exchanging foods you have to follow some general rules. You can exchange and substitute the food content within an exchange group but not between the groups. In all lists except in the fruit list choices can be doubled or tripled to supply a serving of certain foods. For example 3 starches equal to 1.5 cups of hot cereal. Some foods contain less than 20 calories per serving. You can take such food in any amount throughout the day unless a serving size is specified.
Six groups in exchange list are:
Starches and Bread: Each exchange under starches and bread contains 80 calories. A general rule is that a half-cup of cooked cereal, grain, or pasta equals one exchange and 1 ounce bread product is 1 serving.
Meat and Cheese: 3 ounces of cooked meat equals 4 ounces of raw meat.
Vegetables: Exchanges for vegetables ½ cup cooked, 1 cup raw and ½ cup juice.
Fruits and sugar: Sugars are included within the total carbohydrate count. Fruits contain sugar but it should not be more than 10% of daily carbohydrates.
Milk and substitutes: A milk exchange is usually 1 cup or 8 ounces. Diabetic patient should avoid artificially sweetened milks.
Fats: A fat exchange is generally 1 teaspoon, but it may vary. People with diabetes should avoid saturated fats and choose polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats.