People with type 1 diabetes must maintain a healthy diet, as what you eat is directly related to your blood sugar levels. Managing diabetes requires a thoughtful and intentional approach to diet, centred on what you can eat rather than restrictions. By making mindful choices, you can manage blood sugar levels effectively while enjoying a diverse and nourishing diet. We spoke to our expert Dr Rohini Patil, MBBS and Nutritionist, who listed a diet plan for people with type 1 diabetes to maintain their overall health.
Diet Plan For Type 1 Diabetes
Focus On A Balanced Plate
You should focus on creating well-balanced meals that include a mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats. “This can help to regulate blood sugar levels and provide sustained energy throughout the day. Opt for whole grains, lean proteins, and heart-healthy fats to compose a plate that supports overall health”, informed Dr Patil.
While carbohydrates directly impact blood sugar levels, they are a crucial source of energy. Dr Patil said, “Instead of avoiding carbs, it’s essential to choose complex carbohydrates with a lower glycemic index. Carbohydrate counting can be a helpful strategy to manage insulin dosage.” Whole grains, legumes, and vegetables provide fibre, promoting stable blood sugar levels and improved digestion.
Choose Healthy Proteins
You should include lean protein sources in your meals, such as poultry, fish, tofu, and legumes. Protein helps control hunger, and its slower digestion can minimise blood sugar spikes. Aim for a variety of protein-rich foods to diversify your nutrient intake.
Opt for Good Fats
Another dietary tip that you should adopt is to include sources of healthy fats in your diet, such as avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. These fats support heart health and can contribute to satiety. Also, pay attention to portion sizes to manage calorie intake effectively.
Fibre plays a key role in managing your blood sugar levels. Hence, add high-fibre foods, such as legumes, whole grains, and non-starchy vegetables into your diet. Fibre not only aids digestion but also promotes a gradual rise in blood glucose, preventing sudden spikes.
According to the data published by the National Institutes Of Health, US, consuming dietary fibre had a decreased all-cause mortality rate in people with diabetes.
Monitor Portion Sizes
Controlling portion sizes is a key aspect of managing blood sugar levels. “Pay attention to serving sizes to avoid overconsumption, and consider using measuring tools until you develop a good sense of portion control”, said Dr Patil
Hydration is essential for everyone, and for those with type 1 diabetes, it plays a crucial role in supporting kidney function. Therefore, opt for water as your primary beverage and limit the intake of sugary drinks that can lead to blood sugar spikes.
Regular Meal Timing
Establishing regular meal times helps create a predictable pattern for managing blood sugar levels. Consistency in meal timing also assists in the effectiveness of insulin or other medications.
“Every person with type 1 diabetes is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to diet. Work closely with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian to create a personalised meal plan that aligns with your specific needs, lifestyle, and preferences”, emphasised Dr Patil.
Dr Patil concluded, “Type 1 diabetes diet is not about strict limitations but about making informed and nourishing choices. By focusing on what you can eat and adopting a balanced approach, you can enjoy a fulfilling and varied diet that supports both your nutritional needs and overall well-being. Consultation with healthcare professionals ensures a tailored plan that promotes blood sugar management and a healthy lifestyle.”[Disclaimer: This article contains information provided by a registered healthcare professional and is for informational purposes only. Hence, we advise you to consult your expert for a dietary plan tailored to your body type and health condition.]