Diabetes patients are advised to cut down on alcohol and maintain a healthy BMI. The Department of Dietetics at Singapore General Hospital gives some advice.
6. Consider using artificial sweeteners instead of sugar
The use of non-nutritive sweeteners (alternative sweeteners) can serve as a good alternative to sugar because they generally do not raise blood sugar levels (or if they do, the effect is much lesser than with regular sugar).
Those artificial sweeteners approved by the American Diabetes Association for use in a diabetes diet include:
- Acesulfame potassium
They are generally considered as safe for consumption if levels do not exceed Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI).
Acesulfame potassium is typically found in carbonated drinks and protein shakes in Singapore. You can also consider using Stevia and xylitol. However, it is best to try to do without sweeteners and to acquire a less sweet taste.
Do note as well that honey is simple carbohydrates and will increase your blood sugar levels like sugar.
7. Limit your alcohol intake
Alcohol can interfere with your meal plan and blood glucose control, especially if you’re taking insulin or medication for your diabetes. If you must drink, limit yourself to one drink a day (for women) or two drinks a day (for men). If you have nerve damage from diabetes or are still working on getting your blood sugar under control, you should abstain from alcohol.
It is important to note that alcohol consumption can increase your risk of hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar levels). This is dangerous particularly when coupled with some diabetes medications. Consult your doctor or dietitian before consuming alcohol.
One drink is equivalent to 220ml of beer, 100ml of wine and 30ml of spirits.
8. Don’t fall for the “miracle food” trap
You may stumble across websites saying that a given food, such as green tea or soy milk, does miracles in terms of blood sugar control. So far, medical research has yet to prove that any such miracle food exists.
9. Lose weight
The heavier you weigh, the higher your diabetes risk. So strive to maintain a body mass index (BMI) in the healthy range by following a sensible diet and doing regular exercise. Get professional advice from your doctor or dietitian.
10. Seek help from a dietitian
It’s easy to be overwhelmed and confused with all the diet information that’s out there. Consulting a dietitian can help you dispel myths and better understand your carbohydrate requirements.