Dietitian – Nutritionist PhD
The aim of dietary management in people with diabetes mellitus (DM) is to keep the blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible, avoiding acute and chronic complications of the disease, such as hypoglycaemia or ketoacidosis, while at the same time maintaining good quality of life.
In people with DM, eating habits significantly affect glycaemic control.
Carbohydrates are an integral part of your diet. To start with, they are a necessary source of energy for the body, especially the tissue of the central nervous system. At the same time, they are useful as a structural component in animals and contribute to the absorption of vitamins and inorganic minerals. Low-carb diets are not recommended for people with DM, as they lead to extensive decomposition of body proteins, loss of bone density and ketogenesis. However, it is necessary to distribute carbohydrates among as many meals as possible, depending on a person’s dietary plan.
The glycaemic index (GI) is a necessary measure for controlling the levels of blood glucose in people with DM and reflects the normal effect of carbohydrates on the blood glucose levels. Meanwhile, the GI ranks food rich in carbohydrates depending on how much it increases the blood sugar levels compared to a reference food. Low-GI foods cause a small increase in the blood glucose level, while high-GI foods cause a higher increase. Consequently, it is best for people with DM to mainly consume foods with a low glycaemic index.
In addition, people with DM must also choose foods with a low glycaemic load (GL). The GL ranks food based on its GI and the quantity consumed. Low-GL foods almost always have a low GI, while foods with a medium or high GL vary as to the GI.