There is estimated to be over 4 million people living with diabetes in the UK at present. This represents 6% of the UK population or one in every 16 people.
Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high.
Most people with type-1 diabetes are born with the condition, while type-2 can come on at any time.
With type-2 diabetes the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin or the body’s cells don’t react to insulin.
The hormone insulin – produced by the pancreas – is responsible for controlling the amount of glucose in the blood.
Type-2 diabetes can be controlled through diet and lifestyle changes.
(Image: AMERICAN DIABETES ASSOCIATION)
The American Diabetes Association has come up with a simple meal plan that can help lower blood glucose levels.
The experts recommend filling 50% of your plate with non-starchy vegetables, 25% with protein and 25% with grains and starchy foods.
Non-starchy vegetables include spinach, asparagus, carrots, cauliflower, mushrooms, broccoli, beetroots, cucumber, aubergine and celery.
While healthy sources of protein include eggs, milk, beans, hemp seeds, chicken, tofu and fish.
“Round out the meal with healthy choices — whole grains, nuts and seeds, lean protein, fat-free or low-fat dairy, and small portions of fresh fruits and healthy fats.” the website states.
Following this diet plan can help you lose weight and prevent diabetes.
They also provide seven top tips for people with diabetes to follow:
1. Using your dinner plate, put a line down the middle of the plate. Then on one side, cut it again so you will have three sections on your plate.
2. Fill the largest section with non-starchy vegetables. See this list of non-starchy vegetables.
3. Now in one of the small sections, put grains and starchy foods. See this list of grains and starchy foods.
4. And then in the other small section, put your protein. See this list of protein foods.
5. Add a serving of fruit, a serving of dairy or both as your meal plan allows.
6. Choose healthy fats in small amounts. For cooking, use oils. For salads, some healthy additions are nuts, seeds, avocado and vinaigrettes.
7. To complete your meal, add a low-calorie drink like water, unsweetened tea or coffee.
The meal plan works well for lunch and dinner, but what about breakfast?
Research published in the Journal of Dairy Science shows that milk can benefit those with type-2 diabetes.
The study found that drinking a high-protein drink at breakfast can help to moderate blood sugar levels.
Lead author Dr Douglas Goff, of the University of Guelph, explained: “This study confirms the importance of milk at breakfast to aid in the slower digestion of carbohydrate and lower blood sugar levels.
“Nutritionists have always stressed the importance of a healthy breakfast, and this study should encourage consumers to include milk.”
Tomatoes have also been shown to lower blood sugar levels so you could try opting for tomatoes on toast to start your day.
The diabetes.org.uk website also suggests avoiding sugary drinks and fruit juices, because they can increase blood glucose levels very quickly, and can make you gain weight in the long term.
Healthy breakfast ideas for people with type-2 diabetes: