Control through diet
Dietary modification depends upon the type of food the patient is exposed to; and the correct balance of proteins, fats and carbohydrate is to be taught. Generally, a low fat, high protein diet with normal carbohydrate intake is advised. If the patient does not exercise regularly, carbohydrate content is to be reduced.
Protein is important unless renal disease is present. A young active diabetic needs around 1800 to 3000 kcal per day. The elderly diabetic needs around 1000 to 1800 kcal, and an obese middle-aged patient needs 1000 to 1600 kcal.
In most diabetic diets, calories derived from carbohydrate is around 45% to 55%, from protein 15% to 20%, and from fat 30% to 35%. This is not a strict classification and there are any number of modifications possible from patient to patient.
The intake of protein may be around 60 to 110 gm. That of fat is around 50 to 150 gm and of carbohydrate around 200 gm. For obese patients, reduction in weight is important as blood sugar level improves with loss of weight.
Strict monitoring of this regimen is necessary. A measured diet is healthier than an unmeasured one. Fibre lowers the absorption of sugar from the intestine and reduces post-prandial increase in blood sugar.
Beans, legumes, guar gum and bran help to control and reduce absorption of the LDL type of cholesterol. Though artificial sweeteners can be used, they are better avoided as they are chemicals. Non-vegetarian food, with its high fat content, is not recommended. Alcohol is strictly prohibited.