Diabetes

Diabetes and its Relationship to Nutrition

Overview

Diabetes is a condition that requires individuals to make some changes in their lives, especially in their eating habits. Healthy nutrition is one of the cornerstones of diabetes treatment. Blood sugar is mainly formed by foods containing carbohydrates.

Diabetes does not affect the energy and nutrient requirements of children and adolescents. It is important that children and adolescents meet their energy and nutrient requirements, which vary according to their individual characteristics such as age, gender, and activity level, by consuming various foods and gaining healthy eating habits. Only with such a practice can they maintain their growth and development and protect their current and future health.

Adequate and Balanced Nutrition

Adequate and balanced nutrition is the adequate intake of nearly 50 nutrients in sufficient quantities and their proper use in the body, which are necessary for the growth and development of the individual and to maintain a healthy and productive life. In cases where any of these nutrients are not taken or taken more or less than necessary, growth and development are disrupted and health deteriorates.

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Nutrients

The nutrients in our food are categorized into 6 groups according to their chemical structure and their functions in the body. These are carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water. Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are the nutrients that provide energy to our bodies. For example, 1 gram of carbohydrate contains 4 calories, 1 gram of protein contains 4 calories, and 1 gram of fat contains 9 calories.

Vitamins, minerals, and water do not contribute to energy. Within the framework of the principles of balanced nutrition, 55-60% of daily energy intake should be provided from carbohydrates, 12-15% from proteins and 25-30% from fats.

Carbohydrate

Carbohydrates are the most important nutrient that affects blood glucose levels. Carbohydrates, which are the main source of energy for our body, are classified as sugars, oligosaccharides, and polysaccharides. Cereals, starchy foods, legumes, milk, yogurt, fruits, and vegetables are examples of foods containing carbohydrates. After the carbohydrates in foods are digested, they pass into the bloodstream as sugar and form blood sugar levels.

Although not as much as carbohydrates, proteins and fats also have effects on blood sugar. A meal with a high fat and protein content slows the rate of gastric emptying and may delay postprandial blood sugar spikes. Therefore, it is important to know not only the carbohydrate content but also the protein and fat content of the foods consumed.

Protein

Nutrients that promote growth, development, and repair of body tissues when necessary. Animal foods such as red meat, fish, chicken, eggs, milk, yogurt, cheese, legumes, and grains contain protein.

Fat

It is the food group with the highest energy content. Solid fats such as butter, margarines; oils such as olive oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, soybean oil; meat products such as cream, cream, mayonnaise, salami, sausage, bacon; nuts such as walnuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds.

Oils are categorized in 2 groups according to their solid-liquid state at room temperature. Fats that are solid at room temperature are called saturated fats. Butter and margarine are in this group. Fats that are liquid at room temperature are known as unsaturated fats. Olive oil, sunflower, corn, and soybean oils are in this group.

Excessive consumption of fats in the daily diet is a risk factor for obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and some types of cancer. Therefore, it is recommended to consume fats with caution. In order to reduce fats in the diet, visible fats added to meals and consumed at breakfast and invisible fats in the composition of foods such as meat, milk, yogurt, cheese, eggs, olives, walnuts, and hazelnuts should be limited. Instead of frying, foods cooked in pots, ovens, steamed or grilled should be preferred, and half-fat or fat-free products should be preferred instead of full-fat dairy products.

Vitamins and Minerals

All foods, especially vegetables and fruits, contain various vitamins and minerals. For example; fruits such as oranges, tangerines, kiwi are good sources of vitamin C, milk, yogurt, cheese are good sources of calcium, red meat, and eggs are good sources of iron and vitamin B12. Adequate and balanced nutrition provides all the vitamins and minerals the body needs.

References

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5426415/

2 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279012/

Author

 Yash Batra

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