DIABETES symptoms include frequent urination and unexplained weight loss. One of the best ways to control the condition is through diet changes.
Christmas can be a difficult time for those suffering from diabetes, as tempting and often unhealthy food seems to be constantly on offer.
It is estimated that more than 4 million people in the UK have diabetes. Around 90% of peopled diagnosed have type-2 diabetes, while the remaining 10% have type-1.
Type-2 diabetes is a common condition that causes the level of sugar in the blood to become too high.
It’s caused by problems with a chemical in the body called insulin, which is responsible for controlling the amount of glucose in the blood.
With type-2 diabetes the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin or the body’s cells don’t react to insulin.
The condition is often linked to being overweight or inactive and can be controlled and prevented through diet and lifestyle changes.
But the festive season can be testing for those suffering from the condition.
To help sufferers avoid blood sugar spikes, diabetes.org have offered some helpful tips on how to manage it over Christmas.
Although it can be tempting to snack all day long when you’re off work, they strongly recommend sticking to your usual three meals a day if you can.
The site states: “The best approach is to stick to the principles of your usual healthy, balanced diet, and to eat regularly throughout the day, having breakfast, lunch and dinner, as you would during the rest of the year.
“Keeping to your regular meal times will help you to avoid grazing between meals, and will help you to balance your blood glucose (also called blood sugar) levels.”
What can I have for Christmas breakfast?
They recommend sticking to eggs or porridge, muesli or wholegrain cereal for breakfast.
The American Diabetes Association believes eggs are a great choice for people with diabetes.
Eggs are high in protein and contain about half a gram of carbohydrates, so are not likely to raise your blood sugar levels.
What about Christmas dinner?
“With all those veggies, the traditional roast turkey meal can be very well balanced,” diabetes.org claims.
Diabetes suffers should make sure they pile their plates high with Brussels sprouts.
In addition to their impressive nutrient profile, the tiny green vegetables can also help maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
Several studies, published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, have shown an increase of Brussels sprouts can lead to a decreased risk of diabetes.
The vegetables are full of fibre which moves slowly through the body and therefore slows digestion of sugar into the blood.
They also contain alpha-lipoic acid, an antioxidant that’s been researched extensively for its potential effects on blood sugar and insulin.
While the vegetables and lean vegetables are beneficial for diabetes suffers, there are a few swaps you might want to make.
Diabetes.org recommend swapping pigs in blankets for low-fat cocktail sausages or chipolatas wrapped in lean Serrano or parma ham and sausage meat stuffing for lower-fat apricot and chestnut stuffing.
Can I have Christmas pudding?
Christmas pudding is high in sugar and calories so it’s best to stick to a small portion.
Try swapping brandy butter for low-calorie custard, vanilla yogurt or crème fraiche.
Are mince pies okay for diabetics?
Again this seasonal treat is stuffed with sugar so it’s best to avoid or consume in small portions.
Opting for mince pies without a pastry lid is a good way to cut calories.
Making your own mince pies from scratch will also give you a better idea of what they contain.
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