Be empowered for control: Defend against day to day diet disasters 

Be empowered for control: Defend against day to day diet disasters 

Be empowered for control: Defend against day to day diet disasters
Be empowered for control: Defend against day to day diet disasters
Be empowered for control: Defend against day to day diet disasters

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Know what you shouldn't eat but find yourself giving in to temptation? Learn more about how you can navigate through daily obstacles with confidence for long term glycemic control!

Food is fundamental to life. But, food does more than nourish the body. Life and celebrations revolve around food and eating. Having diabetes puts the brakes on our usual eating, living, and celebrating by governing what, when, and how much we can eat.

Most individuals with diabetes have some sense of what they should avoid and maybe some sense of what they should eat. But, keeping to the guidance day after day, 365 days of the year, is tough. No wonder despite all the red flags and the well-meaning nagging of family and friends, 1 in 3 people with diabetes are non-compliant2. Hunger, temptations, taste fatigue, and inconvenience are few of the reasons why people with diabetes experience day-to-day diet disasters.  

Learn more about how you can defend against these real obstacles to glycemic control.

Managing Hunger

“Polyphagia” or excessive appetite or eating, is a well-recognized symptom of elevated blood glucose. The poorer the glycemic control, the hungrier the individual feels, leading to overeating. In addition, many patients with diabetes report fear of hunger pangs and eat in anticipation of being hungry.

Why? When an individual has diabetes, the body either cannot produce insulin or does not use insulin properly. So, the glucose absorbed stays in your bloodstream longer and is urinated out instead of going into your body’s cells to provide energy to function properly. When this happens, your cells signal to the brain that you should continue to eat so they can get the glucose they need. So, patients with poorly-controlled diabetes experience excessive hunger. In addition, note that episodes of low blood sugar are dangerous minefields for a hunger rampage of your larder.

 

Breaking out of hunger.

This vicious cycle can only be broken by getting blood sugar within the acceptable range. Here are some practical tips to succeed:

  • Consult your healthcare team, and follow the guidance. Your physician may temporarily step up your medication.
  • Start or get back to your exercise regimen as exercise helps to make the cells more sensitive to insulin.
  • Get back your personalized diet plan, taking care to measure out portions. Include low GI and fiber-rich choices as they help improve the feelings of fullness. Also, select low-calorie items that require more time to chew and swallow, such as fresh salads, fresh fruit, and plain popcorn, as they are more satiating.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to fill you up and help you stay hydrated.
  • Keep a food diary to be more mindful of your food choices, portions, eating occasions, and emotions.
  • Share your challenges with family and friends so they can help comfort and even distract you from the thought of overeating.

Resist Temptation

With food stalls, restaurants, and vending machines everywhere, temptation to eat and overeat abound making life for people with diabetes very difficult. The new eating joints flaunt delectable foods high in simple sugars, highly refined carbohydrates, full of fat, especially saturated fat, and, or high in salt, making the lure even more challenging to stay away from.

Why? While everyone is tempted to over-indulge when there is such an abundant display of delicious foods, people with diabetes have it harder. It is a classic case of the proverbial forbidden fruit – as anything forbidden seems doubly tempting. 

Overcoming temptation requires a multi-pronged approach. Here are some practical tips to succeed:

  • Eat to plan.
    When you are sufficiently full, you tend to prevent yourself from overeating better or shop for things you do not need.

  • Avoid temptations, if possible. Know your weaknesses.
    Understanding your reasons for indulging will help you protect yourself from eating the wrong foods or indulging in generous portions. For example, if walking past a cookie shop is irresistible, take a longer route back home.

  • Don’t surround yourself with food or foodies.
    Buy just enough. Keep food out of sight. And find friends who have a variety of interests rather than a clique that goes food hunting.

  • Allow for some treats.
    Plan a controlled portion of a treat or two into your weekly eating plan. Then, when you feel empowered to indulge a little, the overwhelming feeling of being deprived will not have a strong sway over you.

  • Be creative.
    Learn new recipes that are very delicious and attractive but healthy as well. Adjust portions eaten to ensure you do not experience glycemic swings.

  • If you fail, do not give up.
    Time and again, you may give in to temptation and have a blood sugar surge. But that’s not the end of the world. Get back to your regular eating routine, and your blood sugar will stabilize soon. 

 

Overcome Taste Fatigue

Healthy menu ideas tend to front bland and plain foods. Most diet plans start with the proverbial ‘2 slices of wholemeal bread or a bowl of oats cooked in water’. Lunch and dinner are anchored by ‘brown rice, steamed fish and green leafy vegetables’. So, as they try to live with the plan 365 days a year, many people with diabetes experience taste fatigue, leading them to abandon their prescribed diet regimen.

Why? Presented repeatedly, such menus and recipes, while being very nutritious and healthy, tend to be rejected simply because there are few elements of delight nor variation. And the diabetes burnout syndrome will set in, amplifying self-pity to the point that the patient with diabetes rejects the entire eating plan.

Healthy food does not have to be bland or boring. Here are some practical tips to prevent taste fatigue:

  • Speak up.
    Tell your healthcare team about what you are experiencing. Ask your dietitian about ways to add variety, flavor, texture, and color to your meals without having your sugars rage out of control.

  • Be knowledgeable.
    With the right knowledge, you can make diet swaps with confidence. So, never stop reading and learning to keep the joy of eating.

  • Be creative. Learn to cook.
    Look for attractive and interesting recipes, even healthy desserts – which may have been a ‘no-no’ in your initial plan. Spices and herbs are allowed in a ‘diabetic diet’. Experiment with different cooking methods to make your staple foods interesting and delicious. Keep on trying till you perfect your recipes and fine-tune the portion for your diet until you have a vast repertoire of foods to eat.

  • Shop with care.
    When shopping and eating out, look for healthier choices. Food labels of some foods highlight the Healthier Choice Symbol or GI symbol. You can buy these foods confidently, but you need to work out the portion allowed for your meals or snacks. You may need to study nutrition information panels and ingredient lists to avoid foods loaded with ‘added sugar’ or highly refined carbohydrates, fat, or sodium.

  • Eat out with confidence.
    Most people enjoy eating out, and you can too. So be brave – try the many cuisines available. Study the menu, ask questions to select healthier items, you can ask for the sauces on the side to be used as needed, and eat just enough. Any extras can be bagged for another meal or another day.

Overcome Inconvenience

Shopping, buying, and cooking with healthy eating in mind takes effort. While many not-so-healthy choices abound, it takes careful planning and some effort to eat to a nutritional plan.

Why? Look around. Most people do not eat with health in mind, and maybe because they do not have diabetes, they do not feel compelled to do so. As healthier foods are not the most popular choices, fewer varieties are on the supermarket shelves. Long queues at popular food courts and restaurants often are strong signals for tasty foods that most likely are not healthy choices. So, it is true that it is harder to find and buy and eat more nutritious options.

It just takes a bit of planning to overcome the inconvenience of healthy eating for glycemic control. Here are some practical tips to prevent taste fatigue:

  • Research.
    After learning about healthy eating for good sugar control, you will be on your own. Continue to read and learn from credible sources of information. Then, check your conclusions with your healthcare team. You can also go online to identify and even order healthier foods and beverages to cut down the need to travel around to purchase them.

  • Plan.
    Know what you need to get your meals and snacks organized. Think through your shopping list and buy the right foods in the right amounts. If you are eating out, check the menu before selecting the restaurant. You can pre-order your menu to ensure you get what you need.

  • Portion.
    Ultimately, what you eat and how much you eat can impact your blood glucose level. So, if you do not have a weighing machine or a measuring cup to portion out your food, learn to estimate food portions from memory.

  • Take ownership.
    Where there is a will, there is always a way. Your health is in your hands. If you are positively focused and engaged in achieving healthy eating for good blood sugar control, you can make it happen.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
    Family and friends will rally around you to help you succeed. Involve them in your quest so that they, too, will benefit from your healthy eating efforts.   

Be empowered with Diabetes-Specific Formulas (DSFs)

Eating healthy and well-balanced meals and snacks that are carb-controlled and made up of low GI foods is the right way to get your diabetic diet on track and enjoy and sustain it over time. However, suppose you are struggling with hunger, battling temptations and taste fatigue, or finding it hard to put all the guidance together. In that case, a diabetes-specific formula as part of your individualized meal plan may help you achieve better glycemic control with greater convenience and confidence.

Designed for people with diabetes, diabetes-specific formulas deliver complete and balanced nutrition and are scientifically designed with slowly absorbed carbohydrates to be low GI. Here’s how you may include it in your individualized meal plan:

1. Swap A Snack.
Are you tempted by the calorie and carb-laden empanada or pancit? Replace unhealthy, high GI snacks with an equal calorie portion of the diabetes-specific formula. This special formula may also provide a steady energy source between meals throughout the day and the night.

2. Do a Partial Meal Replacement.
A favorite meal choice sending your blood sugar out of whack? Eat only half the portion and top up the remaining allocated calories for the meal (if any) with a diabetes-specific formula.

3. Replace an Entire Meal.
Want to lose weight effectively to attain good blood glucose control? Find that you are either missing a meal or giving in to temptations at mealtime? How about giving up your roasted chicken rice meal (534 calories*) for a controlled portion of the diabetes-specific formula to save 309 calories immediately. Sustained over time, you will see the extra pounds peel off.

1 Source: Accessed on 23 November 2019 at https://www.diabetes.org.uk/Guide-to-diabetes/Life-with-diabetes/Diabetes-burnout

2 Epidemiology and Disease Control Division. Ministry Of Health. National Health Survey 2010.

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Glucerna® is the number 1 selling diabetes nutritional supplement in the Philippines*. It contains 35 nutrients, slow-release carbohydrates and 4x more inositol vs previous formulation, that delivers a dual action for tight blood sugar control.

* NielsenIQ Retail Index, Dietetics-Adult Segment-Diabetes Subsegment, July 2020 – June 2021