A Certified Dietician-Diabetes Diet

As a diabetic, you know that a healthy diet is one of the most important methods of managing your disease. A dietician can help you manage your diet and control your blood sugar levels. Whether you have type 1, type 2, or even gestational diabetes, knowing what to eat – and when – is vital.

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes you may already have a professional team on board to help you manage your diabetes. Professional management teams often include your primary care manager and a diabetic specialist. Adding a dietician to this team can make a huge difference in the successful management of your condition.[1]

A registered dietician is an expert in food and nutrition. Registered dieticians have academic and professional credentials and many are certified through local or national governments.

Diabetes: Diet Does Play a Role

There are three distinct types of diabetes. The food you eat plays a major role in each one:

Type 1 Diabetes: A type 1 diabetic does not produce enough insulin. This type of diabetic is required to take medication to control spikes in blood sugar and excessively low dips in blood sugar. However, the amount of medicine required can be reduced with a proper diet.[2]

Type 2 Diabetes: A type 2 diabetic is often able to control his or her condition through diet alone. Exercise is also important.[3]

Gestational Diabetes: A woman can have gestational diabetes during pregnancy. Diet is an essential part of keeping this type of diabetes under control during the pregnancy.[4]

A Dietician Can Help

A quick glance at the three types of diabetes reveals that what you eat can make a difference in how well you keep your blood sugar in control. Sometimes, just eating the wrong foods can lead to serious diabetic complications and other health issues. There are numerous ways that a registered dietician can aid in your diabetes management.

Meal Plans: When you first visit a dietician he or she will discuss your lifestyle. You will be asked questions about your current dietary habits, your exercise habits, and your goals. You may be asked to keep a food journal for a few weeks to give the dietician an idea of your daily food intake.

Once the dietician has information about your eating and lifestyle habits he or she can develop a meal plan catered to your specific needs. The diet, or meal plan, will take into account whether you are a type1, type 2, or gestational diabetic, and whether or not you take medicine for your condition.

Meal plans, including breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks, will be designed to help you keep from having blood sugar spikes. Plus, the dietician can give you valuable hints on specific snacks to eat if you have a spike or dip in your blood sugar levels. The goal of the meal plan is to keep your blood sugar at optimal levels and reduce the amount of medicine, if any, that you take.

Carbohydrates: In addition to creating a meal plan designed just for you, a dietician will show you how carbohydrates work in your body. Not everyone is used to counting carbs, however it necessary for diabetics. A dietician will teach you the difference between good and bad carbs and tell you how many you can have per meal. You will also learn to count carbs in food and read food labels.

Losing Weight: Maintaining a healthy weight is critical for diabetics. A registered dietician will discuss exercise options with you based on your lifestyle and overall health. The dietician can help you explore the amount of calories you take in every day and compare them to your current ‘burn output’. Many diabetics are astonished to discover how simple, daily exercises can vastly improve the management of their disease.

Self-Monitoring: A dietician wants you to be successful with the program he or she designs. One of the best ways to know whether or not the program is working is to monitor your progress every day. A dietician will encourage you to keep a food journal and write down everything you eat. You can add information about how the foods make you feel and if they are attached to any emotions.

Your journey with your registered dietician will not end once your personal plan is designed. A registered dietician will want to see you several times a year to track your progress and to make changes if necessary.

References

[1]  The Team Approach to Diabetes Management. (n.d.). Retrieved from Journal of Diabetes: http://journal.diabetes.org/diabetesspectrum/98v11n1/pg33.htm

[2]  Diet and Exercise in Type 2 Diabetes. (n.d.). Retrieved from Health Vermont: http://healthvermont.gov/prevent/diabetes/diabetes_plan.aspx

[3] ibid

[4] ibid

[5] This article was originally published July 12, 2012 and last revision and update of it was 9/10/2015.