The Plate Method is the easiest healthy meal planning tool, effective in diabetes management, suggests Nutritionist

The Plate Method is the easiest healthy meal planning tool, effective in diabetes management, suggests Nutritionist

RAK Hospital educates Diabetes Challenge 2022 participants on Diabetic Diet in its second session of ‘Diabeat’ Webinar series

Weight loss of just 7-10% of current weight can help lower glucose

Getting portions under control is really important for managing weight and blood sugar

Ms Ruba Elhourani, Senior Dietician and Head of the Nutritional Department at RAK Hospital

12th October 2022, Ras Al Khaimah, UAE: Developing a healthy-eating plan can become the most important tool in the effective management of diabetes. At their second ‘Diabeat’ webinar, organized as part of the RAK Diabetes Challenge 2022 informative series, Ms Ruba Elhourani, Senior Dietician and Head of the Nutritional Department at RAK Hospital spoke about diabetic diet, food choices, and diet plan while guiding the participants on strategies to control blood glucose level.

Talking about the Diabetes diet, Elhourani stated, “You’ll want to plan for regular, balanced meals to avoid high or low blood sugar levels. Eating about the same amount of carbs at each meal can be helpful. Counting carbs and using the plate method are two common tools that can make planning meals easier too.

Aside from managing your diabetes, a diabetes diet offers other benefits, too. Because a diabetes diet recommends generous amounts of fruits, vegetables and fibre, following it is likely to reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases and certain types of cancer. And consuming low-fat dairy products can reduce your risk of low bone mass in the future”.

Recommending the Plate Method, she said, “The Diabetes Plate Method is the easiest way to create healthy meals that can help manage blood sugar. For this, all you need is a 9-inch plate (about the length of a business envelope).

Fill half with non-starchy vegetables, such as salad, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and carrots. One quarter is to be filled with a lean protein, such as chicken, turkey, beans, tofu, or eggs and another quarter with carbs. Foods that are higher in carbs include grains, starchy vegetables (such as potatoes and peas), rice, pasta, beans, fruit, and yoghurt. A cup of milk also counts as a carb food. Then choose water or a low-calorie drink such as unsweetened iced tea to go with your meal.

Using this method, you can create perfectly portioned meals with a healthy balance of vegetables, protein, and carbohydrates—without any counting, calculating, weighing, or measuring.”

Elaborating on portion and serving sizes ElHourani advised, “We must also note that Portion size and serving size aren’t always the same. A portion is the amount of food you choose to eat at one time, while a serving is a specific amount of food, such as one slice of bread or 8 ounces (1 cup) of milk.

These days, portions at restaurants are quite a bit larger than they were several years ago. One entrée can equal 3 or 4 servings! Studies show that people tend to eat more when they’re served more food, so getting portions under control is really important for managing weight and blood sugar.” If you’re eating out, have half of your meal wrapped up to go so you can enjoy it later.

At home, measure out snacks; don’t eat straight from the bag or box. At dinnertime, reduce the temptation to go back for seconds by keeping the serving bowls out of reach.”

Carbohydrates in the food you eat raise your blood sugar levels. How fast carbs raise your blood sugar depends on what the food is and what you eat with it. For example, drinking fruit juice raises blood sugar faster than eating whole fruit. Eating carbs with foods that have protein, fat, or fibre slows down how quickly your blood sugar rises. When you eat extra calories and fat, your body creates an undesirable rise in blood glucose. If blood glucose isn’t kept in check, it can lead to serious problems, such as a high blood glucose level (hyperglycemia) that, if persistent, may lead to long-term complications, such as nerve, kidney and heart damage.

Further, guiding on weight-loss strategies to lower glucose levels, she said, “Weight loss of just 7-10% of current weight can help lower glucose. Helpful modifications are low fat intake and high fibre intake. Exercise: 5-7 days/week with the goal of 150 minutes/week or 10,000 steps per day.

High fibre intake increases satiety, slows carbohydrate digestion and modifies postprandial glucose intake of at least 25 grams/day, up to 35 grams/day to optimize cardiac benefits. Good sources of fibre are whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables.”

Commenting on the subject, Dr. Raza Siddiqui, Executive Director of RAK Hospital said, “We want to encourage people to follow a healthy lifestyle and control diabetes by adopting holistic treatment approaches. They must understand that diabetes is a lifestyle disease and most cases of type 2 diabetes are preventable and some can even be reversed. You can reduce your symptoms and risk of complications from the disease by bringing positive changes to your lifestyle: eat healthy, lose weight and become physically active.”

RAK Hospital as part of its Diabetes Challenge 2022 is conducting a series of webinars aiming to provide comprehensive information on the medical aspects of the disease, advice on therapeutic diets, exercise, stress management and holistic medicine amongst other things.

To know more about the challenge and to access the webinar logon to www.rakdiabeteschallenge.com/webinar-arch.php

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