Healthy eating is an essential component of diabetes health care. Following a suitable diet can have a beneficial effect on weight, glucose control and wellbeing. It can also reduce vascular risk through improving the lipid profile, lowering blood pressure and reducing central obesity.
Dietary counselling involves a number of different stages. These include an assessment of current diet and readiness for change, discussion of change, the setting of realistic patient-centred goals and regular monitoring and support.
Dietary advice is an area of enormous complexity and disagreement and this can cause
confusion for patients and health care professionals. When giving dietary advice balance needs to be struck between reducing the risk of disease complications and ensuring a healthy balance of food types and nutrients. One simple agreed model for good health is ‘The Balance of Good Health’ (Leicestershire Health, 1997).
This model divides food into 5 groups:
- Fruit and vegetable
- Dairy products
- Fatty/sugary foods
It is recommended that those with diabetes eat five portions of food and vegetables daily, eat five portions of high fibre bread/cereal/potatoes, eat lower fat dairy products, including milk eat a maximum of two portions of low fat meat/fish and reduce intake of fatty or sugary food.
Meals and snacks should be spaced appropriately throughout the day to avoid fluctuation in glycaemic control. In those who are overweight, dietary advice should aim for a reduced energy intake in order to facilitate weight loss. Patients should be advised to avoid the intake of foods that are energy-dense, particularly fatty foods and alcohol. It should be remembered that weight loss is not a normal physiological state and is, therefore, difficult and frequently unsuccessful.
E201 – Managing Diet in Type2 Diabetes – www.diabetic.today