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 Diet & Nutrition

May 2009

Diet for Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases

Dr Shikha Sharma

 
Metabolism is a collection of chemical reactions that take place in the body’scells to convert the fuel in the food one eats into the energy needed to power everything one does, from moving to thinking to growing.

What is Metabolism?
Metabolism is a complicated chemical process, so it’s not surprising that many people think of it in its simplest sense: as something that influences how easily our bodies gain or lose weight. That’s where calories come in.


What are Calories?
A calorie is a unit that measures how much energy a particular food provides to the body. A chocolate bar has more calories than an apple, so it provides the body with more energy - and sometimes that can be too much of a good thing. Just as a car stores gas in the gas tank until it is needed to fuel the engine, the body stores calories - primarily as fat. If you overfill a car’s gas tank, it spills over onto the pavement. Likewise, if a person eats too many calories, they “spill over” in the form of excess fat on the body.

What is BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate)?
The number of calories a person burns in a day is affected by how much that person exercises, the amount of fat and muscle in his or her body, and the person’s basal metabolic rate. The basic metabolic rate, or BMR, is a measure of the rate at which a person’s body “burns” energy, in the form of calories, while at rest. The BMR can play a role in a person’s tendency to gain weight. For example, a person with a low BMR (who therefore burns fewer calories while at rest or sleeping) will tend to gain more pounds of body fat over time, compared with a similar-sized person with an average BMR who eats the same amount of food and gets the same amount of exercise.

Metabolic Disorder
Diabetes is a metabolic disorder wherein human body does not produce or properly uses insulin, a hormone that is required to convert sugar, starches, and other food into energy. Diabetes mellitus is characterized by constant high levels of blood glucose (sugar). Human body has to maintain the blood glucose level at a very narrow range, which is done with insulin and glucagon. The function of glucagon is to release glucose from the liver to the blood stream so that it can be transported to body tissues and cells for the production of energy.

Diabetes mellitus is not completely curable but can be managed successfully. The control of diabetes mostly depends on the patient and it is his/her responsibility to take care of their diet, exercise and medication.

Diet plays a significant role in controlling the diabetes. The diabetic diet may be used alone or else in combination with insulin doses or with oral hypoglycemic drugs. Main objective of diabetic diet is to maintain ideal body weight, by providing adequate nutrition along with normal
blood sugar levels in blood. The diet plan for a diabetic is based on height, weight, age, sex, physical activity and nature of diabetes.

Diabetics must always need to take care of their diet and also about the food they eat. Care has to be taken because all foods contain not only carbohydrate, but also some energy value. Protein and fat available in the food are converted to glucose in the body. This glucose has some effect on the blood sugar level which has to be taken care.

Diabetes is not a disease in itself but is related to many other diseases like cardiovascular diseases. Cardiovascular disease refers to the class of diseases that involve the heart or blood vessels (arteries and veins). While the term technically refers to any disease that affects the cardiovascular system, it is usually used to refer to those related to atherosclerosis (arterial disease). Attempts to prevent cardiovascular disease are more effective when they remove and prevent causes, and they often take the form of modifying risk factors. Some factors, such as gender, age, and family history, cannot be modified. The combination of healthy diet and exercise is a means to improve serum cholesterol levels and reduce risks of cardiovascular diseases.
The best way to reduce saturated and trans fats in your diet is to limit the amount of solid fats — butter, margarine and shortening — you add to food when cooking and serving. Use low-fat substitutions when possible for a heart-healthy diet. For example, top your baked potato with salsa or low-fat yogurt rather than butter, or use low-sugar fruit spread on your toast instead of margarine. You may also want to check the food labels of some cookies, crackers and chips. Many of these snacks — even those labeled “reduced fat” — may be made with oils containing trans fats. One clue that a food has some trans fat in it is the phrase “partially hydrogenated” in the ingredient list.

When you do use fats, choose monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil or canola oil. Polyunsaturated fats, found in nuts and seeds, also are good choices for a heart-healthy diet. When used in place of saturated fat, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats may help lower your total blood cholesterol. But moderation is essential. All types of fat are high in calories.

Vegetables and fruits are good sources of vitamins and minerals; they are low in calories and rich in dietary fiber. A diet high in soluble fiber, the kind found in fruits and vegetables, can help lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease. Vegetables and fruits also contain substances found in plants that may help prevent cardiovascular disease. Eating more fruits and vegetables may help you eat less high-fat foods, such as meat, cheese and snack foods.

Whole grains are good sources of fiber and other nutrients. Whole grains are also a source of vitamins and minerals, such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, zinc and iron. Various nutrients found in whole grains play a role in regulating blood pressure and heart health. Eating a lot of salt can contribute to high blood pressure, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Reducing the salt in your food is an important part of a heart-healthy diet.
 


    
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