The Ultimate Cheat Sheet On Travel For Diabetics

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet On Travel For Diabetics

Planning a great vacation with your family or have an important business meeting with your associates overseas?Then being a diabetic, surely you are in the grudges of worry right now and tensed too. Coming up with the ultimate cheat sheet on travel for diabetes is indeed a great idea.

Traveling can apparently fluctuate your blood sugar levels. This is because geographical factors like altitude, temperature, sunlight intensity influence the way your body utilizes the insulin. But this doesn’t mean you have to give up your hobby of traveling for the sake of diabetes management. You don’t need to cancel your meeting abroad either.

Traveling and healthy diabetes management can go hand in hand. The key is to prepare a strategic care plan prior to your trip. If traveling has always been a fearful topic for you as a diabetic, then your next few minutes are going to be very important.

It’s worth your time to scroll down through this article. We have prepared an impeccable diabetic cheat sheet for traveling convenience for the diabetic folks. For the sake of convenience, we have divided your travel activity into three prominent phases.

  1. Before the departure
  2. During the actual journey in the transport
  3. After the arrival

Checklist to consider somedays before the departure date

There are four essential notes to check before you declare yourself ready for leaving your hometown.

1.Consult your doctor

consult doctor

Start with booking an appointment with your doctor at least 15 days before your trip.Your doctor will tell you whether your blood sugar levels are stable enough for the change in physical location or not. Before your departure, you might need some additional medications. Be clear with few more things like;

  • How often to check blood sugar readings during your tour?
  • Any special adjustment needed to comply with the changing environment?
  • In what sense medication be modified keeping in mind time zone changes?
  • What are other precautions that need to be considered while traveling across the borders? For instance, if your body is allergic to certain environmental factors that are prominent in the place where you are hoarding too.

2.Travel insurance

Travel insurance for diabetic

Getting travel insurance is as important as everything others included in this checklist. As you know, rules and regulations pertaining to healthcare sectors vary from country to country. It’s a wise decision to get financially covered to avoid any undesired losses. In this case, you will be suffering a dual loss – your health as well as wealth, both are valuable. Why be lazy and regret later? A stitch in time saves nine. Who knows you might end up spending above your means after being ignorant towards having travel insurance.

Adverse circumstances never arrive with any sort of advanced warning. So, the only thing you can do is to keep control of things all by yourself. Surf across the internet about the hospitals in the place you are leaving for.  Research about the cost, location, and facilities provided by the hospitals in advance. This saves you from going through troublesome hustles afterwards. Use Google Maps to get familiar with the distance and duration.

3. Get a written diabetes care plan

 Don’t just note it down, but also follow it rigidly. Ask your doctor to write down all the essential prescriptions, medicines, special precautions, and alterations carefully. Once you are done with this step, head-on with the next one mentioned.

4.Pack a double dose of every medicinal equipment

Pack a double dose of diabetic equipment

There is no certainty, you can run out of medicine any time. Sometimes, sudden damages also occur with your suitcases. You need to be geared up for such situations. The only dominant way of dealing with such losses and hardships is keeping twin packets of all the medicines. Even doses of insulin, syringes, pump, test strips, lancets and every other instrument you possibly need to use to get control of your blood sugar levels. All those equipments must be in extra quantity before you get out of your home.

During the journey in the transport

When you are actually passing by the way with any mode of transport whether you’re in a car, train or airplane, you still have a lot of factors to take care of.

5.Insulin and travel – crucial points to keep in mind 

Insulin and travel – crucial points to keep in mind for diabetic

To inform you of good news, you can surely use an insulin pump during flight travel. Be responsible enough to disconnect it when the flight is about to take off and land at the airport. It is even better if you are turning on airplane mode while you are using Bluetooth connection for your medical devices. Never ever do a blunder of keeping insulin pump in checked luggage. This is because flights have a separate compartment to place all the checked baggage.

The insulin pump freezes under such conditions that dwell inside that compartment. Therefore, your presence of mind should be good enough to remind you of keeping your insulin pump, in fact, all your medical equipment in your personal hand luggage only. Moreover, if you have decided to cover the traveling distance by your personal transport, then too some stringent measures are required.

In case you stop in the middle of the way for some refreshments and relaxing purposes.  Don’t leave insulin pumps, monitoring kits and other devices under direct sunlight.  When the car is kept parked under sunlight for long hours, the interiors heat up which can damage your costly medications.

6.Dealing with food struggles 

food for diabetic patient

You will definitely be carrying your own cooked meals when traveling through road transports. This food needs to meet the guidelines laid down for a diabetes-friendly diet. Just don’t be careless about not having meals at the proper time. The right doses of medicine at the right schedules become even more necessary while traveling.

Airways don’t have a special menu for diabetics but they give full free to diabetic people for carrying their own food. There is one more safe and healthy option to go with. Air hostesses usually provide the menu list a few hours before the food is to be served. Immediately calculate the amount of carbohydrates in the foods you order eating.

This calculation can be done using diabetes apps which can be done prior to the commencement of your journey. After this, you can order the dishes whose calorific values lie within your permissible calorie range.  However, if you are reluctant to try some mathematical operations in the mid of your flight, you still have another active option ready. Carry your own menu which fits for high blood sugar.

7.Snacks to pack

Packing up a box with healthy snacks is really a great idea. Some people will even love this, especially if they are a foodie or enjoy some homemade eatables in the way. Being a foodie doesn’t mean, you are allowed anything. Only diabetes-friendly snacks should be carried.

Almonds – there can be no superior alternative to this. With abundant dietary fibers, vitamin E and B12, and magnesium, they are the safest and healthiest meal for travelers with diabetes.

Oatmeal – not much is needed to say about their benefits. Easy to carry and even easier to cook with little requirement of boiling water.

The best food partner for non-diabetic health-conscious travelers too.

Salad sandwich – club together broccoli, carrots, tomato, your favorite leafy vegetables. Assort them together between two bread slices.

Next, sprinkle some salt and lemon juice and you have successfully created an amazingly wholesome recipe to aid your diabetes care plan. Remember the bread used here has to be brown bread and not the white one. Because small things matter a lot.

Yogurt – readily available, can be carried feasibly and eating is also a fabulous experience. The one thing you should bother is not adding table sugar. You are destroying all its advantages if you doing so.

In fact, sugarless Greek yogurt being a probiotic enhances your digestive activity. A highly suggested snack for people who face stomach related problems like indigestion, constipation, pains, etc. during the trips.

8.Being ready for emergency

Always keep medicines under your closest access irrespective of wherever you go. The areas of closest access can be the pocket of your outfit, your handbags, wallets, and so on. It is also advised to carry portable glucose monitors as the need for checking blood sugar levels might increase when you stay out of the station.

Be ready with some instant remedies like homemade bitter gourd juice to counteract the sudden occurrence of hyperglycemic situations.  You can easily carry one in reusable plastic bottles. If possible, you can stop to meditate and perform deep breathing exercises for a while. Then continue with the journey with positive spirits again.

9.Flight socks 

This extremely helpful tip is especially for flight passengers. People with diabetes are at high risk of blood clot formation. This risk increases twice during the journey time. Flight socks are of great significance for the individuals who are under the influence of diabetic neuropathy as these socks prevent clotting. There is no restriction for anyone for wearing such special flight socks. This is the reason that even people without diabetes also prefer wearing it for comfortable flight experience.

10. Keep drinking water

This is essential to keep up with the dehydration. When you are on the trip, you feel excited and when you feel excited, cortisol levels in the body rise. The rise in levels of cortisol can cause a siginficant heightening of blood sugar levels.  When you go without drinking water, these sugars get concentrated and rest you know yourselves. To add more information, dehydration also becomes persistent with an increase in altitude. If hilly regions are on your visiting tourism list, please be secure.

After the arrival So here you are, happily and safely arrived at your final destination. The list of precautions doesn’t end here. There are some little specs you need to look at.

11.Disposal of used supplies 

You are in another city or country. As a responsible citizen, it’s your duty to take care of other people’s amenities as well. Follow the instructions as mentioned for the safe and risk-free disposal of a particular medical instrument.

Don’t just throw them off in such a way that they pave a threat towards someone’s health. You might be wondering was this point really needed to be included in this checklist? Yes, it was. Think globally, act locally. Always carry good ethics wherever you go.

12.Direct sunlight 

Direct heat of sunrays is a great enemy of all your healthcare devices. It can damage insulin pumps, sugar monitors, test strips and other such equipment. Don’t leave them by the poolside, in taxies in the road, on the beach area and wherever you can possibly go.

13.Buying insulin and medicines

Suppose you have packed an extra dose of all your medications but alas! Bad luck yet followed you and you still lost them. We want to make you aware of the fact that not all insulins and other drugs meant for diabetes are the same.

They come with a difference in standards and speculations. You need to be extra careful while going for purchase. Check if that insulin has been labeled with the same and exact speculations as to the one you are already been using.  That is why extra supplies of all your medications are an utmost necessity before heading onto another city, town or country.  Perhaps, you may not be able to find everything in other countries.

Some factors to know

  • Your blood sugar levels may be out of the normal range when you arrive at the destiny spot in the beginning.

This behavior is not much concerning and your levels return to normal within 48 hours or so. Though, you might need to seek medical attention if disruptions in blood glucose levels persist for longer hours.

  • If you tend to be more active on holidays, you might need to adjust your insulin doses accordingly.

Changes in food and drinks may also be required.

  • Avoid doing physical activity beyond your normal time period.
  • Heat intensity affects insulin magnitudes of our bodies. Don’t work much in the heat of the day.

Concluding words

Diabetes is neither a huge obstacle for travel enthusiasts nor it hinders your business trips. The thing is you have to come out of your comfort zone to make up all the necessary preparations. Of course, your travel plans and activities may differ from other people but you can still have endless fun during the vacations. You have every right to enjoy a great family time and formal gatherings.

Once you have successfully marked all the points of checklist in green, there is nothing you need to worry about.  Although frequent uncertainties keep arriving every time, luckily you have proper stock of all your medicines and instruments to wipe them off. Hope you will not cancel your outing plan just because of the fear of distortion in diabetes management routine.

Happy journey folks!

Diabetes Meal Plan based on Glycemic Index

Diabetes Meal Plan based on Glycaemic Index

Healthful eating is a cornerstone of diabetes management. In fact, it is so important that your doctor will probably refer you to a registered dietitian (a health professional who is an expert in diet and nutrition) or a diabetes educator (a health professional who is certified to teach people with diabetes how to manage it). The dietitian or diabetes educator will develop a meal plan adapted to your specific needs that also takes into consideration your lifestyle and the kinds of foods you like to eat. He or she will probably also consider your ethnic and cultural background when developing your meal plan.

One of the most important things you will learn is when and how to eat the right kinds of carbohydrates, because carbohydrates have the biggest effect on blood sugar levels. Your meal plan will also focus on controlling calories to help you lose weight if you are overweight. For many people with type 2 diabetes, weight loss and increased physical activity are the most effective ways to bring their glucose down to a healthy level and keep it there.

Your Meal Plan

diabetes meal

When you have type 2 diabetes, the type and amount of food you eat and when you eat each affects your blood sugar levels. Blood sugar levels go up after eating. You should try to eat about the same amount of food at about the same time each day to keep your blood glucose near normal levels. If you eat a big dinner one day and a small dinner the next, your blood glucose levels may fluctuate too much. The following general eating guidelines can help you keep your blood glucose at a healthy level:

• Eat about the same amount of food every day.
• Consume your meals and snacks at about the same times each day.
• Don’t skip meals (or snacks if they have been recommended).
• If you take diabetes medication, take it at the same time every day.
• Exercise the same amount at about the same time each day.

There is no single diet that is right for everyone. Your doctor and dietitian or diabetes educator will develop a meal plan that is right for you. Consistent timing of your meals and snacks may not be as important as it is for someone with type 1 diabetes who is taking insulin, but keeping blood sugar levels near normal is just as important.

Carbohydrates are especially important because they have the biggest influence on blood glucose. Eat about the same amount of carbohydraterich foods at about the same time each day. Starches (such as wholegrain bread, cereal, rice, and pasta), fruits, milk, and starchy vegetables such as corn and potatoes are all good sources of carbohydrates. Make sure your starches come from whole grains because they contain fiber and many other nutrients and are digested and absorbed by the body more slowly than refined starches, helping to keep blood glucose steady.

While carbohydrates are an important focus of your meal plan, protein and healthy fats are also important. Your dietitian or diabetes educator will carefully calculate the correct ratio of these nutrients. The typical recommendations are 45 to 65 percent of total calories from carbohydrates, 12 to 20 percent from protein, and less than 30 percent from fat (including healthy fats). Depending on your circumstances, your doctor may recommend slightly different percentages for you.

How much of each type of food you need depends on how many calories you need each day to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight

Avoid high-fat foods and sweets because they provide a lot of calories but few nutrients. To make sure your food servings are the right size, use measuring cups and spoons and a food scale. Keeping track of your calorie intake can help you keep your blood sugar at a steady level and can help you make adjustments for reaching weight goals.

To develop a meal plan that fits your needs, your dietitian or diabetes educator will ask you questions about your lifestyle and your personal food preferences. He or she can help you plan meals that include foods that are not only good for you but that are also familiar foods that you and your family like to eat. The biggest dangers for people with type 2 diabetes are cardiovascular (heart and blood vessel) problems, which can lead to heart attack or stroke.

Circulation problems also cause poor blood flow to the legs and feet. To prevent these problems, your dietitian or diabetes educator will teach you about hearthealthy eating that can help you reduce your risk for or avoid heart and blood vessel disease. Your meal plan will probably include the following recommendations:

  • Eat foods that are low in saturated fat and have no trans fats; no more than 7 to 10 percent of your total daily calorie intake should come from saturated fat. Buy prepared foods with less than 1 gram of saturated fat per serving.
  • Limit your intake of foods that are high in cholesterol, such as egg yolks. Consume no more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol a day, or 200 milligrams if you have heart disease.
  • Don’t eat too much salt; buy reducedsodium or “no salt added”

prepared foods. Look for prepared foods with less than 140 milligrams of sodium per serving or 5 percent of the “daily value” for sodium on the food label.

  • Consume 9 to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables each day; whole fruits and vegetables are more nutritious and less calorie-dense than juices and dried fruit.
  • Boost your fiber intake by eating whole grains, dried beans (legumes), fruits, and vegetables.
  • Limit added sugars to less than 25 percent of your total daily calories. These sugars, which are added to foods (such as pastries, candy, and other sweets) and beverages (such as soft drinks and fruit drinks) during production, usually provide few nutrients but lots of calories.

 Carbohydrates Are Key

Carbohydrates for Glycemic Index and Diabetes

The goal of your meal plan is to keep your blood sugar level as close to normal as possible after and between meals. It is important to be aware of how much carbohydrate you are eating, because carbohydrates have the greatest effect on blood sugar levels. Careful carbohydrate planning to keep blood sugar balanced, combined with eating foods that are low in total, saturated, and trans fats, can help lower your heart disease risk and your risk of complications from diabetes.

Carbohydrates are supplied primarily by grains, starchy foods such corn and potatoes, fruit, and milk. Vegetables also have some carbohydrate content, but protein foods, oils, and fats contain very little carbohydrate. Always try to consume carbohydrates that are high in fiber because they are digested slowly and therefore tend to keep blood sugar levels more stable.

How much carbohydrate should you eat? The amount needed varies from person to person. Also important is the distribution of your carbohydrate intake throughout the day in both meals and snacks. Your doctor, dietitian, or diabetes educator will decide how much carbohydrate you should have at each meal or snack depending on your weight and height, activity level, age, and any medications you are taking. The results of tests for blood sugar and cholesterol and triglycerides will also influence your daily carbohydrate count recommendation.

To keep good control of your blood sugar levels, you will have to learn how to be consistent in the type, amount, and timing of the carbohydrates you eat throughout the day and from day to day. The two methods that people with diabetes use to keep track of their daily intake of carbohydrates and other nutrients are dietary exchanges and carbohydrate counting (see page 114).

 Fiber and Blood Sugar Control

 Fiber and Blood Sugar Control

You should definitely consume a lot more highfiber foods. Fiber  is especially beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes because it can help keep blood glucose levels steady. There are two types of fiber in the food you eat: water soluble and water insoluble. Neither type of fiber is digestible, but they both play an important role in your diet. Of the two types, soluble fiber has the strongest effect on blood sugar. Foods rich in soluble fiber are digested gradually, slowing down the absorption of glucose into the blood. The result is smaller increases in blood sugar after eating.

Soluble fiber has another possible health benefit: reducing your risk of heart disease. It lowers total blood cholesterol as well as harmful LDL cholesterol by absorbing cholesterol from the bloodstream and excreting it as waste. Soluble fiber may also reduce the amount of cholesterol your liver produces.

Foods that contain high amounts of soluble fiber include grains such as oat bran, oatmeal, barley, and rye; fruits such as blackberries, oranges, apples, and pears; beans and legumes (including kidney beans, black-eyed peas, lentils, split peas, and soybeans); flaxseed; and psyllium (a grass found in some cereal products and breads, some dietary supplements, and some over-the-counter stool softeners and laxatives).

Doctors recommend that most people-including those without diabetes-get 20 to 40 grams of fiber every day. Up to age 50, the recommendation is up to 40 grams a day for men and 25 grams a day for women. After age 50, men are advised to consume 30 grams and women 20 grams daily (because people usually eat less as they get older). Children should have a daily fiber intake equal to their age plus 5 grams per day; for example, an 8-year-old child should eat 8 plus 5 grams, or 13 grams.

These figures may seem daunting, but you’ll find that it’s not so difficult if you add fiber to your diet gradually. Start by buying some highfiber breakfast cereals that contain whole grains or flaxseed. Prepare more fiber-rich dishes such as bean soups, stews, and casseroles. Toss some chickpeas or other beans into your salads. For a side dish, serve black-eyed peas instead of a starch such as potatoes or rice. And, of course, eat lots of fruits and vegetables.

The same foods that contain soluble fiber also supply insoluble fiber in varying amounts. Insoluble fiber increases stool bulk, speeds up the time it takes stool to travel through the intestines, and improves bowel regularity. At the same time, fiber may also reduce your risk of colon cancer, hemorrhoids, and digestive disorders.

You should be aware, however, that dietary fiber can influence the effect of some common medications. For example, a high fiber intake can lower the body’s absorption of cholesterol reducing medications called HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, the heart medication digoxin, and lithium (prescribed for bipolar disorder). If you take any of these prescription medications, talk to your doctor before increasing your fiber intake.

 Dietary Exchanges

Dietary Exchanges

The dietary exchange system was developed by the American Diabetes Association and the American Dietetic Association to help people with diabetes plan their meals to gain better control over their blood glucose levels. The system divides food into three main groups: carbohydrates, meat and meat substitutes, and fats. Each group contains a subgroup of foods that are similar in calorie, carbohydrate, protein, and fat content to make the same foods in a list virtually interchangeable. For example, under carbohydrates, you’ll find that one fruit exchange supplies 15 grams of carbohydrates and about 60 calories. Fruits corresponding to one fruit exchange include 1 cup of blueberries, 1 small apple, or 1 medium peach. Under the meat exchanges category, one very lean meat exchange equals 7 grams of protein, 0 to 3 grams of fat, and 35 calories. For the very lean meat exchange, you can choose 1 ounce of chicken or turkey white meat with no skin, 1 cup of low-fat cottage cheese, or 2 egg whites.

A dietitian or diabetes educator develops a meal plan that contains a certain number of exchanges for each day depending on a person’s weight, height, age, medical history, and whether weight loss is part of the plan. Forty-five to 65 percent of total calorie intake each day should come from carbohydrates, your body’s main source of fuel.

Following is a chart showing the dietary exchanges that you can use to help you follow your meal plan and manage your diabetes. As you can see, choosing fat-free milk or very lean poultry instead of whole-fat milk and beef or pork cuts a lot of calories that you can save up for another meal or apply toward your weight-loss plan.

Carbohydrate Counting

nutritious foods

An alternative to the food exchanges method for managing food intake to regulate blood sugar is known as carbohydrate counting, which computes the grams of carbohydrates you consume throughout the day. The logic behind carb counting is that all carbohydrates-whether they’re nutritious foods such as whole grains and fruit or nonnutritious foods such as sugary soft drinks and candy-have a similar effect on blood sugar levels. For this reason, the total amount of carbohydrates is the most important factor, not the particular food.

With carb counting, you don’t have to figure out how each food corresponds to the traditional exchange meal plan; you just need to know how much carbohydrate it contains. Purchase a good pocket reference book or pamphlet that shows how many carbohydrates are in a serving of fresh or unpackaged foods such as produce. Using a food scale and measuring cups and spoons to measure food servings can help you learn to eyeball serving sizes (see page 119).

Counting carbohydrates can help make your carbohydrate intake more precise, leading to greater control of your blood glucose.

Counting the grams of carbohydrates you need each day makes it easy to plan meals because all you have to do is look at the nutrition label on a packaged food or the nutrient analysis box on a recipe to see how many grams of carbohydrates it contains. (Watch serving sizes so you don’t inadvertently consume more than one serving and miscalculate your carb count.) To simplify the task even more, many people count the carbohydrate content of one serving of starch, fruit, or milk as 15 grams.

Three servings of nonstarchy vegetables are also counted as 15 grams, and you don’t need to count one or two servings of nonstarchy vegetablesthey’re considered free carbs. Each meal or snack should supply a certain number of carbohydrate grams, according to your meal plan. Let’s say your meal-plan breakfast is supposed to have four servings of carbohydrates, which translates into 60 total grams of carbohydrates for that meal. Looking at your box of shredded wheat, you see that one serving contains 30 grams of carbohydrates (make sure you don’t exceed one serving).

One cup of milk adds another 15 grams, bringing your carb count to 45 grams. A small apple or pear adds another 15 grams, for a total of 60 grams. If you also eat a 2-ounce serving of cheese at breakfast, it will not add to your carbohydrate count because cheese contains little carbohydrate.

 Glycemic Index

 Glycemic Index

Another school of thought says that all carbohydrates are not created equal and that some that break down quickly in the intestine raise blood sugar too fast.

This ranking of carbohydrates is called the glycemic index, a system that rates carbohydrate foods by their effects on blood sugar. Carbohydrates that break down rapidly in the bloodstream have a high glycemic index; those that break down more slowly have a lower glycemic index. Eating lower-glycemic-index foods can result in a smaller rise in blood sugar after meals, the theory goes.

The following are examples of foods that are high on the glycemic index and, therefore, are thought to raise blood sugar levels quickly: • White rice

  • White bread
  • White potatoes
  • Saltine crackers
  • Orange juice
  • Pastas made from white flour

Examples of low-glycemic-index foods include:

  • Wholegrain breads and cereals
  • Oatmeal (not instant)
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Cooked dried beans, peas, and lentils
  • Fresh fruit

Many doctors don’t consider the glycemic index an essential tool for helping people regulate their blood sugar because the body’s response to eating is much more complicated than the glycemic index suggests. For example, different people digest food at different rates, so a given food can make one person’s blood sugar level go up faster than that of another person. Also, your body’s blood sugar response to eating a food depends on such factors as the type of food, how much you consumed, how it was cooked or processed, and whether you ate fat or protein with it. Age and activity level also influence how a certain food can affect blood sugar.

 Dietary Guidelines for Americans

 Dietary Guidelines for Americans

Much chronic illness in the United States, including type 2 diabetes, is linked to a poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, published jointly by the US Department of Health and Human Services and the US Department of Agriculture, are designed to provide common-sense recommendations to promote good health and reduce the risk of disease through a balanced, varied diet and regular physical activity.

A basic premise of the Dietary Guidelines is that nutrients should be consumed primarily through food. Healthful foods contain a variety of nutrients that have beneficial effects on health. Fortified foods and dietary supplements may be useful in providing nutrients that might otherwise be consumed in insufficient amounts, but dietary supplements can never replace a healthy diet.

The Dietary Guidelines advise taking action to improve your health by following these nine recommendations:

  1. Get adequate nutrients within your calorie needs. Choose a variety of high-nutrient foods and beverages. Limit your intake of foods containing saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, added sugar, salt, and alcohol.
  2. Manage your weight. To keep your weight within a healthy range, don’t regularly consume more calories than you expend each day. To prevent gradual weight gain as you age, increase your level of physical activity.
  3. Get 30 to 90 minutes of physical activity each day. Perform 30 minutes of exercise to lower your risk of chronic disease, 60 minutes to prevent weight gain in adulthood, and 90 minutes to lose weight.

Include aerobic exercise to strengthen your heart, stretching exercises to increase flexibility, and resistance exercises for muscle strength.

  1. Boost your intake of certain food groups. Each day, consume the equivalent of 2 cups of fruit and 2’/2 cups of vegetables for a 2,000calorie diet. Include plant foods from the dark green, orange, starch, and legume groups each week. At least half of your grain foods should come from whole grains. Consume 3 cups of fat-free or low-fat milk or other dairy products a day.
  2. Know your fats.
  • Maintain your saturated fat intake below 10 percent of total calories, and consume less than 300 mg of cholesterol each day. Keep trans fat consumption as low as possible.
  • Your total fat intake should range between 20 and 35 percent of calories, with most fats coming from the polyunsaturated and monounsaturated varieties.
  • Select lean meats and poultry and fat-free dairy products.
  1. Be smart about carbohydrates. Boost your intake of fiber from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Don’t add sugar to foods and beverages. Consume sugar-containing foods and beverages infrequently.
  2. Restrict sodium intake and get sufficient potassium. Limit your intake of salt to 1 teaspoon (2,300 mg) per day; 1,500 mg if you are middle aged or older, have high blood pressure, or are African American. Increase your consumption of potassium-rich fruits and vegetables (such as bananas, oranges, greens, peas, and tomatoes).
    1. Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all. Limit alcohol consumption to two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women. Don’t drink alcohol at all if you are alcoholic, pregnant, trying to become pregnant, breastfeeding, or a minor, or if you take medications that can interact with alcohol or you have certain medical conditions, such as liver disease.
    2. Prepare and store food safely.
    • Wash your hands before and after preparing food. Wash all fruits and vegetables before preparing.
    • Keep raw foods separate from other foods while shopping for, preparing, or storing them.
    • Cook food thoroughly to kill dangerous microorganisms.
    • Avoid unpasteurized milk and juices; raw eggs; undercooked meat, poultry, fish, and shellfish; and raw sprouts.

     

     Special Recommendations for Older Adults

    Special Recommendations for Older AdultsBecause older adults tend to eat less than younger people, many do not get sufficient amounts of some key vitamins, especially vitamin D (which maintains bone strength) and vitamin B12 (which maintains nerve function and oxygencarrying red blood cells). Some signs of vitamin 1312 deficiency include fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite, and weight loss, and neurological changes such as numbness and tingling in the hands and feet, difficulty maintaining balance, depression, confusion, dementia, and poor memory. To prevent these problems and maintain bone strength, which tends to decrease with age, the FDA recommends that older people do the following:

    • Consume extra vitamin D from fortified foods (such as milk) or supplements.
    • Get enough vitamin B12 from fortified foods (such as breakfast cereals) or supplements.
    • Get regular exercise to reduce the decline in function that can come with age.

     

     Special Recommendations for Pregnant Women

    food respect to Glycemic Index and Diabetes
    Pregnancy puts extra nutritional demands on a woman because her body is providing nutrients for the developing fetus. The following recommendations can help you stay healthy during your pregnancy and help ensure that your baby is born healthy:

    • Consume enough folic acid (a B vitamin) to prevent birth defects.
    • Get 30 minutes of moderate physical activity but avoid activities with a high risk for falls or abdominal injury.
    • Make sure you gain enough weight, as recommended by your doctor.

     Special Recommendations for Children

    Because lifestyle factors contribute to common chronic disorders, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease, the FDA is recommending that parents help children adopt healthy habits with the following recommendations. The focus is on helping children avoid becoming overweight, the most important step in preventing type 2 diabetes.

    • Get at least 1 hour of physical activity every day.
    • Avoid weight-loss diets (unless recommended by a doctor).

Instead, increase physical activity and limit highcalorie foods.

  • Don’t limit fat consumption until 2 years of age. Keep fat consumption between 30 and 35 percent for children between ages 2 and 3.
  • Give children ages 2 to 8 two cups per day of fat-free milk or dairy products; children over the age of 9 years should consume 3 cups.

Because carbohydrates, both simple and complex, have the biggest influence on blood sugar levels, it is important to keep track of the grams of carbohydrates you eat each day. But the type of carbohydrate you eat matters for a different reason. You should try to eat primarily nutrient-dense (“lowglycemic”) carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and fat-free dairy products. Limit refined and processed (“high-glycemic”) carbohydratecontaining foods such as white bread, white rice, pasta made with white flour, and cookies and other sweets primarily because they pack a lot of calories but provide few other nutrients.

 How Many Calories Do You Need?

It may be hard to figure out exactly how much you need to eat each day to maintain a healthy weight or to lose weight. The number of calories you need each day depends on your gender, your body frame, how much you weigh, and how physically active you are. Your doctor, dietitian, or diabetes educator will tell you how many calories you need to consume each day, but as a general rule the following guidelines can be helpful.

 Controlling Portion Sizes

Weighing and measuring foods with a food scale, measuring cups, and measuring spoons will help you eat just the right amount at each meal. The following tips can teach you how to eyeball serving sizes once you become familiar with a typical meal-plan serving:

  • Measure a serving of cooked pasta or rice or dry cereal into a bowl or plate. The next time you eat the same food, use the same bowl or plate and fill it to the same level.
  • Measure one serving of milk into a glass and see how high it fills the glass. Always drink milk out of the same size glass, filled to the same level.
  • One 3-ounce serving of meat or other protein is about the size of a deck of cards.
  • One ounce of meat or cheese is equivalent to the size of your thumb.
  • One teaspoon is about the size of the tip of your thumb.
  • One serving of starch is 1 slice of bread, 1 small potato, ‘/2 cup cooked breakfast cereal or 3/4 cup dry cereal, or 1 small (6-inch) tortilla.

 The DASH Eating Plan

Developed by scientists from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan is a sensible and proven way to lower blood pressure. Yes, you can actually reduce your blood pressure by following this diet, which is low in total fat, saturated fat, trans fats, and cholesterol; low in salt; and rich in fruits, vegetables, and fat-free dairy products.

At first, doctors could see that the DASH eating plan worked, but they did not understand how. Then researchers found that the diet appears to have the same effect on the body as diuretic medications (water pills) that help remove excess water the body retains. Diuretics are routinely prescribed for treating high blood pressure. Because sodium (salt) in foods tends to make the body retain water, the lowsodium component of the DASH diet may be a key factor in lowering blood pressure.

Blood pressure reductions often begin to appear two weeks after starting the DASH eating plan. Even people with normal blood pressure can reduce their blood pressure further under the plan.

The DASH diet is based on a 2,000calorie-a-day eating plan, so it is not strictly a weight-loss diet. But to reduce your calorie intake you can easily substitute lower-calorie foods for some that are recommended on the DASH diet.

This tactic, combined with a boost in your physical activity, can be enough to help you shed some of those unwanted pounds over time. For example, eating a medium apple instead of four shortbread cookies for dessert will augment your fruit intake while significantly reducing your calorie intake. The chart below shows the daily recommendations for a typical 2,000calorie DASH diet plan.

Adjust your servings per day according to your calorie intake.

The DASH diet provides evidence for the strong influence that dietary sodium can have on blood pressure. Most of the salt in your diet comes not from the salt shaker but from the sodium that food manufacturers add during processing. Most packaged and processed foods are laden with sodium. One cup of packaged rice pilaf or macaroni and cheese, for example, can contain about 600 milligrams of sodium, which is 25 percent of the 2,300-milligram recommended daily allowance. One tablespoon of reducedsodium soy sauce contains about 550 milligrams of sodium, or 23 percent of the daily allowance, while the same amount of regular soy sauce with twice the amount of sodium (1,100 milligrams) provides 46 percent of the daily sodium allowance.

Following are some processed foods that contain high amounts of sodium: • Canned vegetables

  • Frozen vegetables with sauce
  • Tomato juice
  • Soy sauce and other condiments, such as ketchup and mustard • Processed cheese
  • Canned beans (rinsing the beans removes a lot of the salt) • Canned soups and broths
  • Ham and other smoked meats
  • Bologna and other sandwich meats
  • Canned fish
  • Frozen dinners
  • Frozen pizza
  • Some breakfast cereals
  • Bread

 Reading Food Labels: A Healthy Habit

Reading food labels can help you choose foods that are better for you.

Labels on packaged food contain a section titled “Nutrition Facts,” which lists important information, such as:

  • Serving size
  • Calorie content
  • Fat and cholesterol content
  • Sodium (salt) content
  • Total carbohydrate content and the amounts of fiber and sugar • Protein content
  • Some vitamins and minerals

The serving size and the number of servings in the package are the keys to the nutrient breakdown for that food. The size of the serving determines the number of calories and the content of all the other nutrients on the label. In other words, if the label says a food has 12 grams of total fat, it means 12 grams in one serving. If the package contains three servings and you consume them all in one sitting, you will have eaten 3 x 12 grams, or 36 grams of fat.

It’s especially important to check the fat, cholesterol, sugar, and sodium content. These are the nutrients that people often consume in excess. Make sure that foods you are thinking about buying contain minimal amounts of these nutrients. If the label says that the food contains trans fats, don’t buy it. Trans fats have been found to be the most harmful kind of dietary fat.

Now look at the fiber (which is part of the “total carbohydrate” count) and vitamin and mineral contents. These are nutrients you need to eat more of. On the right side of the label, you will see a column called “% Daily Value.” This column tells you whether a food is high or low in a particular nutrient so you can tell which nutrients contribute a lot or a little to your daily recommended allowance. For example, if you look at the label on a carton of milk, you will see that one serving supplies 30 percent of your daily recommended intake of calcium. Keep in mind that the percent daily values are based on recommendations for a 2,000calorie diet, so if your calorie allotment is higher or lower, you will need to adjust the percentage the given nutrient represents in your diet. For more about how to read food labels, see page 66.

Instead of always relying on convenience foods, buy fresh foods whenever you can, or buy reducedsodium or “no salt added” canned and processed foods.

Cook foods without adding salt. Instead, use herbs and spices to add flavor to the dishes you serve. You can find out exactly how much salt is contained in packaged foods by learning to read food labels. Look for foods with less than 140 milligrams per serving, or 5 percent of the “daily value” for sodium.

Is Sugar Dangerous In Pregnancy ?

Is Sugar Dangerous In Pregnancy ?

If you ask for a one-word answer, then it has to be “yes”, a high intake of sugar can prove to be harmful in pregnancy. But wait, there’s a lot more to know about the consumption of sugar during pregnancy. Pregnancy triggers certain substantial changes in the body of a woman. Apart from nausea and vomiting, there are a lot of symptoms that come along.

When you are pregnant, tiredness and dizziness will accompany you the whole day. You might notice sudden hair fall, that huge number of strings of hairs entangled in the teeth of your comb. Most of the symptoms are normal and no stringent precautions are required to curb them, but as talking of sugar levels, you must be attentive towards carbohydrates utilization rate during the pregnant term. There is no doubt in saying that higher sugar levels during pregnancy can lead to undesired and devastating results.

Changes In Body During Pregnancy

Before we proceed further, you need to know about some usual changes which your body goes through. Some of these changes are necessary for carrying out a successful pregnancy. They assist the body to bear the developing baby and deal with the parturition process.

1. Hormonal changes –

Estrogen and progesterone are the two most important pregnancy hormones. These hormones secreted by ovary on females acquire their peak levels when pregnancy sets in. Estrogen is necessary for stimulating the contractions in the uterus while progesterone is required for maintaining the good health of both mother and child.

2. Development of mammary glands –

Mammary glands are groomed up well through various hormonal influences in order to boost the milk production for breastfeeding.

3. Increased metabolic rate –

A sudden increase in all the physiological processes is observed as a result of accelerated hormone secretion.

4. Pregnancy glow –

This happens as a result of increased blood circulation in the body.

5. Frequent urination –

You are most likely to experience this bt the end of the first trimester. This also a consequence of increased metabolic rate to some extent.

6. Vaginal changes –

You may observe mild bleeding and white discharge. The common experiences can be painful cramps which are more or less normal.

Why Is Sugar Dangerous During Pregnancy: All The Negative Impacts At A Glance

Sugars are obtained by the body in the form of carbohydrates. The food that we eat, like potatoes, rice, chapatis and so on, are a potent source of carbohydrates. These carbohydrates get broken down into simpler sugars by numerous enzymes to provide energy to our body.

Of course, we need sugars to fuel up our bodies. The energy to perform all the vital life processes is extracted through them. But when the amount of sugar to be consumed increases too much, then it will act as a driving cause for certain health risks.

Gestational Diabetes

If proper care of sugar intake amounts is neglected while pregnancy, then it may cause gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes further develops many complications during the delivery time.

Preeclampsia

This is when blood pressures are abnormally raised up during pregnancy. It is more likely to happen when blood sugar levels are high. This can affect vital organs like kidney, heart, and liver.

Fatty Liver Syndrome

This disease generally sprouts up during the third trimester. A diet exceedingly rich in glucose can cause fatty liver syndrome. Due to malfunctioning of fatty acid metabolism in mothers, liver cells acquire too much fat. Moreover, this can initiate several abnormalities in fetal liver too. Acute fatty liver symptoms are more common in first pregnancy or when the expectant woman is thin.

Constipation and Dehydration

The problems of constipation and bloating are usual during pregnancy. But inflated levels of glucose in the bloodstream for persistent time frame worsen the conditions. Dehydration can be a direct consequence of hiked up blood sugar levels. This can be prevented by drinking a plentiful amount of water. Water is indeed an elixir for people with elevated blood sugars.

Weight Gain

Gaining body weight during pregnancy can be harmful in manifold ways. It opens the gateway to certain critical health issues.

Blood Sugar Spikes

If your input levels of glucose are increased beyond safe boundaries, then your blood glucose levels will rise up.

Heartburn Symptoms

Fast foods and caffeine are primarily responsible for invoking heartburn related symptoms. Foods containing fatty acids can also cause similar symptoms.

Autism

Researches find that women with gestational diabetes have 42% more probability of having a child with autism. Not only this, but the cognitive development of the child is also hindered due to high sugar levels left unchecked during pregnancy.

What Causes Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is said to occur when your body unable to produce extra insulin required during pregnancy. The insulin hormone plays a key role in carbohydrate metabolism. It compels body cells to take up all the extra glucose and lessens its amount in the bloodstream.

In this way, it keeps a check on the blood glucose levels. Now, you can imagine that can happen when the body is incapable of producing a sufficient amount of insulin. Mostly, the body of pregnant women acquires the tendency to elicit more insulin production in order to cope up with the additional demands.

But in some cases, this may not happen. Such women whose body fails to boost up insulin production upon commencement of pregnancy undergo through the disorder of gestational diabetes. Moreover, because of the variation in hormonal levels and other changes, the body develops insulin resistance.

This means that cells cannot utilize insulin to an optimal extent even when it is being produced in the right amounts. Not to forget, chances of acquiring gestational diabetes are more in obese people than slim ones. Obesity can reasonably contribute to the advent of insulin resistance.

How To Prevent Gestational Diabetes

The positive side is that women with gestational diabetes can to have a normal delivery. It takes a little bit of extra effort to set everything into the right place.

  • When you are planning a child, make sure you are having a healthy weight.

If not so, then immediately switch on to the weight loss diet routine.

  • Don’t be feeble with your blood pressure as well as blood sugar levels. Be watchful towards them with utmost precautions.
  • Visit your gynecologist regularly so that you are diagnosed at the earliest and avoid any upcoming problems handily.
  • Gestational diabetes is said to occur by the 24th week of pregnancy. You have a good time to get everything sorted.

If you find yourself in conditions that may favor gestational diabetes, instantly come up with rightful measures. You can take the help of the internet or consult your doctor regarding this.

  • Your doctor will check for gestational diabetes along with other prenatal tests.

Or else, you must prefer to go for an oral glucose tolerance test to assure that everything is well in control.

  • If you are prediabetic, your carbohydrates’ inputs need to be declined to the minimum limit possible for a risk-free pregnant term.

What To Avoid to Keep Blood Sugar Levels In Control During Pregnancy

Artificial sweeteners

Never go for artificial sweeteners while you are pregnant. Instead, opt for natural alternatives like coconut sugar and raw organic honey.

Caffeine

Caffeine is known to cause some bad impacts on the health of a growing fetus. Caffeinated coffee and cold drinks hinder the mental development of the baby and are responsible for low birth weight during delivery.

Alcohol

Alcohol can be the driving cause of miscarriage and stillbirths. Apart from this, the baby can suffer through facial disfigurement, mental deformities, and even heart-related defects.

Junk foods

Street foods can significantly pave the threat for developing gestational diabetes. They can result in the birth of an overweight child which in turn imposes long term health hazards on your child.

Unpasteurized milk

Raw milk often comes contaminated with numerous harmful bacteria that deteriorate your health. Before you consume milk in any form, make sure it is boiled for sufficient time to kill all the pathogenic agents.

Packaged Beverages and Bottled Juices

During pregnancy, even teeth and gums need special attention to protect them against enamel  erosion.  Furthermore, bottled juices come with extra added sugars and preservatives which are not at all a good choice. They just provide a large number of calories without any nutrition making you lethargic.

What To Adopt To Keep Blood Sugar levels In Control

Find healthy sugar alternatives

Natural fruits are an excellent source of natural sugars with ample calories that provide good nutrition. The fruits like mango, strawberry, apple, and pineapple can offer you immense benefits. Custard apple is another such fruit that is remarkably beneficial for both mother and fetus and helps to cope up with certain troubles arising during pregnancy. Avoid taking fruits in the morning when you are pregnant. It is not preferable during the term.

Vegetables And Whole Grains

Green leafy vegetables are the best thing to include in your diet. Whole grains contain healthy carbohydrates and not refined ones. They can help you to stabilize your blood sugar levels.

Probiotics

These are nothing but a living bacteria to boost up your health. They aid your digestion process without any side effects. Probiotics enhance carbohydrate metabolism and reduce the risk of preeclampsia to a fairly good extent.

One of the greatest sources of probiotics in day to day life is natural yogurt, made from dairy milk. But don’t add table sugar to it while eating. Its nutritional content will decrease by doing so, otherwise, it serves as a decent food choice for pregnant women.

Fiber Foods

Fibers offers multifarious health benefits. They deter obesity, regulate blood sugar levels and promote better digestion. Taking fiber-rich food along with your regular diet can prevent blood sugar spikes after meals.

Protein-rich diet

Your body demands somewhat additional proteins to sustain the changes accompanying pregnancy. Therefore, it becomes extremely important to level up the proportion of proteins in your meals through pulses, dry fruits, milk, and eggs.

Exercise

You don’t need to join big gyms or yoga classes for this. Just find a peaceful corner in your home. Place a mat there in the early morning or evening hours and perform simple deep breathing exercises.

While you are outdoors, you can try swift walking whenever possible. Besides, cycling and jogging for short distances along helps a lot. However, if you are really enthusiastic about fitness, you can join yoga classes especially meant for expectant mothers near your house.

Some Frequently Asked Questions Related With Sugar Levels In Pregnancy

Let’s have a quick sneak peek into the answers to the questions widely asked by most of the expectant mothers.

Q. Is eating sugar safe in Pregnancy?

Yes, you can eat sugar in pregnancy but to a limited range. You should completely avoid having foods that contain refined sugars. These can be processed snacks, packaged beverages, and caffeinated drinks.

Q. How much sugar is safe during pregnancy?

Normally, up to 30 grams of sugar is ideal during an expectant stage. For better clarity, you must get yourself diagnosed well regarding blood sugar levels, metabolic rates, and body weight.

Then decide your appropriate calorie levels accordingly. This is the best way to deal with sugar levels during pregnancy.

Q. How can excessive sugar harm the baby?

Extra sugar during gestational diabetes or other disorders crosses the placenta and entries the fetus’s blood. This causes increased insulin production in the fetus’s body. The size of the fetus grows larger than normal, the condition termed as macrosomia. This may require premature delivery or C-section delivery.

Q. Can I eat jaggery during pregnancy?

You can eat it in lesser amounts if you are perfectly healthy without any risk of developing diabetes.

But if you are prediabetic or diabetic, better to neglect it and keep it away from your plate.

Q. Are dates good for pregnancy?

Yes, dates are completely fine for pregnancy. Even though they are sweet, they don’t alter blood sugar levels. Besides, they aid healthy delivery by shortening the time of labor. But as it advised to limit sugar inputs in any form, be careful of the consumption amounts of dates too.

Q. Can high blood sugar in pregnancy lead to miscarriage?

No, high blood sugar levels in pregnancy are related to many health complications but no case of miscarriage due to hyperglycemia has been reported till date. However, both mental and physical development of your child can be disastrously affected.

Concluding Words

There are enough facts and figures to exemplify that high levels of blood sugars are harmful during pregnancy duration. It also depends on the previous history of your health. Whether you are already diagnosed with any other disease or not. Many women can develop diabetes during pregnancy. Those who are obese with cumbersome body weight are even more likely to fall prone to it.

The conclusion that comes out is –  the way to have a healthy pregnancy is by putting a limit on sugar consumption levels. Don’t follow all your cravings blindly as some of them might prove dangerous for your baby. Find a complete list of healthy menu and stick to it for the nine precious months.

The crux of the entire article is that sugar has to be limited in any form. Whether it is table sugar in your daily morning teas or refined undesired sugars in candies, both have their own health crises when consumed beyond secured lines.