It has been estimated that one-third of all babies born in the year 2000 will develop Type 2 diabetes at some point in their lives.
Diabetes and heart disease are, unfortunately, intimately linked. Most diabetics have high blood pressure and high cholesterol, two of the main risk factors for heart disease. According to the statistics, 65 percent of people with diabetes die from heart attack. But this is far from a foregone conclusion. By managing blood glucose levels, monitoring high blood pressure, and working to keep LDL cholesterol levels down, diabetics call reduce their risk. Along with exercise and stress management, a healthy diet for diabetic patients is a crucial component to preventing, controlling, and healing diabetes. This article takes a closer look at how food choices impact health for those with diabetes.
Diabetics are at an increased risk for heart disease as compared to the general population, so it’s important to control cholesterol levels. Since the body can manufacture all the cholesterol it needs, a healthy diabetes diet includes foods low in cholesterol, specifically LDL levels, which have been identified as the main cholesterol-induced risk factor. The LDL deposits in diabetics bond with the excessive glucose and stick to arteries more readily, increasing the chances of plaque deposits and damage to the arterial wall. A healthy amount of LDL in the blood is less than 100 mg/dL.
Aside from lowering the LDL levels, raising HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol) also lowers the risk of heart problems, since HDL is responsible for moving cholesterol from all parts of the body back to the liver for eventual removal from the system. People with diabetes have lower HDL levels to begin with. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), an HDL level of 40 mg/dL and above for men, and 50 mg/dL and above for women, is considered protective against heart disease. Lowering triglyceride levels is also instrumental. Triglycerides are fats carried in the blood stream that are associated with low HDL levels. The triglycerides should be below 150 mg/dl for both sexes.
Since it is more difficult for the cells to interact with insulin in a person who is overweight, a low-fat diet is important for diabetics. The ADA makes some dietary recommendations for maintaining healthy cholesterol and triglyceride ranges:
· Eat less fat, especially less saturated fat (found in fatty meats, poultry skin, butter, 2% or whole milk, ice cream, cheese, palm oil, coconut oil, trans fats, hydrogenated oils, lard, and shortening).
· Choose lean meats and meat substitutes.