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Question:

From Malaysia:

Can you could furnish me with a simple list of foods that I can eat and the ones I can't eat? I am a diabetic since earlier this year. My age is 25 and I am a Type 2. At the moment I don't have to take insulin.

Answer:

I'm no dietitian but I will attempt to give you the simple advice that you request. Food is divided into three main categories: carbohydrate, protein and fat.

A healthy diet contains all three but the proportions are important. Additionally, carbohydrate can be considered in terms of fast acting (sugary) foods -- I'll call them the "racing cars" -- and slow stodgy carbohydrates -- the "buses." Racing cars and buses are both sugars but the latter are not obviously sweet because the sugar molecules are stuck to one another and have to be broken down in the gut before they can be absorbed into the bloodstream. The result is that both types of carbohydrate end up as sugar in the blood but the racing cars get there fast and the buses get there eventually. This may all sound rather pedantic but a clear understanding will help you to make healthy food choices.

Examples of carbohydrate types are as follows:

Racing cars: Sugar, jam, honey, non-diet drinks, chocolate, syrup, candy, etc.
Buses: Pasta, rice, bread, potato
Protein: Meat, fish
Fat: Butter, milk, cheese, vegetable fats

The trick is to balance your diet so that you take most of your calories as carbohydrate of the "bus" category. Most foods contain carbohydrate, protein and fat. Read the label to decide what predominates and avoid those that contain a high proportion of "sugars."

One way to think is in terms of a plate. When you have a meal you should ensure that more than half of what you eat is slow acting, bus type, carbohydrate then you should fill most of the rest of the plate with vegetables leaving only about a third for your protein ie meat or fish. You don't have to deliberately look for fat because there's always enough in the meat or used in the cooking process. You will also get some from a normal intake of dairy products.

If you want to have some racing cars - and who doesn't - then try to have them at the end of a meal because they will be held up by the buses from rushing into your bloodstream. It's also okay to have a treat before exercise because your body will use up the sugar.

You may notice that I've not mentioned vitamins but you will get plenty if you eat fresh fruit and vegetables regularly. Basically, you should eat sensibly and -- as we say in Scotland -- stick to moderation in all things.

KJR

Original posting 3 May 97

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:54
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