Having a healthy balanced diet is the cornerstone of treatment in the management of Type 2 diabetes. According to the Royal Children’s Hospital’s Diabetes Manual, the food pyramid is the ultimate guide for the diet of anyone with diabetes. Using the food pyramid enables a diabetic to follow a normal, yet healthy diet plan. Furthermore, this healthy kind of dieting method allows you some room for better weight management. The amount and composition of your usual meal is adjusted to have bulkier content, through the use of fruits and vegetables, but with lesser calories.
You may be wondering why your doctor and dietitian encourage you to eat three square meals per day including snacks in between when you really have to control your blood sugar. Is this contradicting the principles in the management of Type 2 diabetes? If you are on insulin or oral anti-diabetic medication, then these medication are the reason why your doctor is advising you to eat three square meals each day including your snacks. You see, your medications tend to lower your blood sugar levels. And if you try to skip a meal, you blood sugar may dip so low creating a complication called hypoglycemia.
What is hypoglycemia?
The National Diabetic Information Clearinghouse defines hypoglycemia as the state of low blood sugar level. Hypoglycemia may cause an array of symptoms such as:
- light-headedness or headache
- excessive hunger
- anxiety, and
- unusual sweating
In worst cases, severe hypoglycemia may lead to coma and even death.
When your doctor advises you not to take any medications for your Type 2 diabetes, do you still need to have three square meals and snacks?
If you are only using some lifestyle modifications to control your blood sugar, it is not necessary to include snacks in your healthy eating plan according to the Royal Children’s Hospital. The reason why snacks are needed is to have a consistently controlled level of blood sugar in Type 2 diabetics taking medication.
Also, researchers have concluded that eating irregular meals appears to produce a higher level of insulin resistance and higher cholesterol levels after fasting than does eating regularly scheduled meals.
It is always important to have the proper guidance of your dietitian in planning your meals and snacks. The reason for this? Different carbohydrate sources affect your blood sugar in different ways. Because of this, your dietitian needs to plan a diet that will ensure your blood sugar level will not become too high in the process or dip too low so as to cause hypoglycemia.