November 14 is World Diabetes Day, a day set aside to raise awareness and provide education concerning a disease that affects over 400 million adults internationally. It is also the day that marks the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting who co-discovered insulin in 1922.

World Diabetes Day provides an opportunity to raise awareness of diabetes as a global public health issue and what needs to be done, collectively and individually, for better prevention, diagnosis and management of the condition. (Diabetes Mellitus)

Diabetes mellitus, commonly known as diabetes, is a metabolic disease that causes high blood sugar. Diabetes occurs when the body is unable to take up sugar (glucose) into its cells to use it for energy .

This results in a buildup of extra sugar in your bloodstream. The hormone insulin is responsible for moving sugar gotten from food from the blood to our cells. With diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t effectively use the insulin it makes.

There are majorly 4 types of diabetes

  1. Type 1 or Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus
  2. Type 2 or Non Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus
  3. Pre diabetes
  4. Gestational diabetes

In most people with type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system, which normally fights infection, attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin and as a result, your pancreas stops making insulin. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day to stay alive as the name implies Insulin dependent diabetes mellitus and this type of diabetes is mostly common in children.

Type 2 diabetes is not insulin dependent and it is the most common type of diabetes. It majorly happens when your body doesn’t make enough insulin or doesn’t use insulin well. Too much glucose then stays in your blood, and not enough reaches your cells.

Prediabetes occurs when your blood sugar is higher than normal, but it’s not high enough for a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. It is however better to be careful with prediabetes as there are chances of it developing into type 2 diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that occurs only during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes can cause health problems in both mother and baby. Managing your diabetes can help protect you and your baby.

The most common symptoms of diabetes are increased hunger, increased thirst, weight loss, frequent urination, blurry vision, extreme fatigue, and sores that don’t heal. So it’s better to visit your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms so as to check your blood glucose level.

Gestational diabetes often has no symptoms, or they may be mild, such as being thirstier than normal or having to urinate more often.

Now lets talk diabetes and diet management

There are so many schools of thoughts concerning what to eat and what not to eat when managing diabetes mellitus. Some of these come with either the consumption of protein foods for the dietary management of diabetes or the discontinuation of eating carbohydrate foods.

All these are untrue and should be ignored. This is because most of the foods we consume have glucose (sugar) as the end product and hence still contributing to the sugar level in the blood.

So what then should a diabetic patient do to manage diabetes, Follow a healthy meal plan.

A diabetic healthy meal plan simply means eating the healthiest foods in moderate amounts and sticking to regular mealtimes

To manage your blood glucose, you need to balance what you eat and drink in line with whatever medication you have been put on (if there is any) as well as physical activity. This is because nutrition and physical activity are important parts of a healthy lifestyle when you have diabetes.

So to manage diabetes with diet you need an individualized meal plan by a dietitian which will cut across the following food groups

  1. Vegetables which includes broccoli, carrots, greens, peppers, and tomatoes
  2. Fruits which includes oranges, watermelon, berries, apples, bananas, grapes and so on

3. Grains: at least half of your grains for the day should be whole grains e.g wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley, and quinoa

4. Protein which includes lean meat, chicken without the skin, fish, eggs, nuts and peanut, meat substitutes, such as tofu

5. Dairy (nonfat or low fat) e.g. milk or lactose-free milk if you have lactose intolerance, yogurt

It is also important to note that foods with heart-healthy fats should be eaten and they mainly come from these foods:

  • oils that are liquid at room temperature, such as canola and olive oil
  • nuts and seeds
  • heart-healthy fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel
  • avocado

So Diabetes is a condition that can be effectively managed by making healthy food choices, staying at a healthy weight, moving more every day, and taking medicine regularly.

So join this year’s World Diabetes Day by sharing this information and keeping people globally aware of how to manage diabetes with diet.

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