TAKING CHARGE OF YOUR DIABETES
The word ‘diabetes’ is no longer a foreign term. Most people know at least one person who has been diagnosed with the condition. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the prevalence of diabetes among Malaysian adults is currently 16.6 percent. As of 2015, a staggering 3.5 million or 17.5 percent of Malaysians aged 18 and above, have been diagnosed with the disease.
Being diagnosed with diabetes can feel overwhelming. An important first step is to realise that you can live a happy and healthy life by empowering yourself with a clear understanding of the disease. This will support you in making informed and educated decisions regarding your lifestyle choices and allow you to manage diabetes with confidence.
Distinguishing fact from fiction and dispelling commonly held diabetes myths, will help you stay ahead.
Myth 1: Skipping Meals Helps to Control My Blood Sugar Level
This may sound logical, however skipping meals could cause an adverse effect and result in greater fluctuations in your blood sugar level3. A clinical trial found that people with diabetes who skipped breakfast experienced a 37 percent increase in their blood sugar level during their lunch hour as compared to days when they consumed breakfast.
Don’t skip meals, spread your meals throughout the day and consider balancing your blood sugar level with a specially formulated complete nutritional solution with low glycaemic index3.
Myth 2: Carbohydrate Counting is Not Important
False. Carbohydrates have an effect on your blood sugar level and are one of the core nutrients found in the food and drink we consume each day6. Carbohydrate counting is a meal planning method for managing your blood sugar level.
Carb counting as it is often known, ensures you keep track of your daily carbohydrate intake and supports you in managing your blood sugar level more efficiently. Your recommended daily carbohydrate intake depends on numerous factors, these include your level of daily physical activity and what, if any, medicines you take. Some people are active and can afford a higher carbohydrate intake, others must consume less to balance their blood sugar level.
Myth 3: Low-Carbohydrate Diets are Good for People with Diabetes
False. Low-carb diets tend to be higher in fat. Following a high-fat diet over a long period of time can be taxing on the heart. People with diabetes are already at risk of heart disease and this may exasperate the condition.
Carbohydrates are important sources of energy. Rather than avoiding carbohydrates, eat a selection of healthy carbs and in the right amount to help with diabetes management. Healthy carbs are carbohydrates that are rich in fibre and contain 100% whole grains.
Myth 4: Diabetics Can only Eat Bland Food
A person with diabetes need not forgo the foods they love nor live a life eating bland and flavourless food. Feel rest assured that you in most cases you are able to enjoy the food you love, just be conscious that like with most things in life, moderation is key8.
Ensure that your diet contains a variety of nutritious food sources while maintaining a low or reduced sugar intake8. Introduce a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein, low-fat dairy, and fibre in appropriate portions into your daily diet. If in doubt, seek advice from a healthcare professional to craft a personalised food plan.
Don’t forget, be creative and have fun by creating nutritious meals that are suitable for you and your family.
 Malaysia (n.d.). In International Diabetes Federation. Retrieved October 7, 2016, from http://www.idf.org/membership/wp/malaysia
 National Health & Morbidity Survey 2015- Non Communicable Diseases, Risk Factors & other Health Problems Volume II, pg 14
 Gordon, S. (n.d.). Skipping Breakfast Bad Idea for Type 2 Diabetics. In WebMD. Retrieved October 7, 2016, from http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/news/20150807/skipping-breakfast-a-bad-idea-for-people-with-type-2-diabetes
 Carbohydrate Counting and Diabetes (n.d.). In National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Retrieved October 7, 2016, from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/diabetes-diet-eating/carbohydrate-counting
 Diabetic Food: Debunking Myths (n.d.). In BistroMD. Retrieved October 7, 2016, from http://www.bistromd.com/articles/diabetic-food-debunking-myths
6 Guide to HbA1c (n.d.). In Diabetes.Co.UK. Retrieved October 7, 2016. Retrieved from http://www.diabetes.co.uk/what-is-hba1c.html