We are planning several family celebrations this summer and I would like advice on the choice of alcoholic drinks. I have managed to lose weight and my control has improved so much that I have been taken off my tablets.
Alcohol taken in moderation has been shown to have a positive effect on health. However, it does contain a significant number of calories, which can be a problem if you are trying to lose weight.
Your choice of alcohol is mainly a question of taste. More important than your choice of drinks is the quantity. Sensible recommendations are 3 units per day for women and 4 units per day for men. Exceeding this amount on special occasions will not have bad long-term effects. But a maximum weekly total of 21 units for women and 28 units for week for men is a sensible recommendation. We recommend sugar-free mixers as they will not increase your blood glucose and provide virtually no calories. Drinking alcohol affects your blood glucose level and you should be aware of this.
I have had diabetes for 22 years and have only recently come back under the care of my local hospital. When I talked about my diet to the dietitian she was keen to make some changes, saying that there were quite a lot of new ideas and diet recommendations. Is it worth me changing after all this time?
Dietary advice has certainly changed a lot since you were diagnosed 22 years ago. As we learn more about food and how our bodies use it the advice about diet has to be adjusted. It is certainly worth knowing the new recommendations and it is never too late to make changes.
Dietary advice is now based on the principle of healthy eating which is encouraged for the population as a whole – not just for people with diabetes. The idea is that the whole family can be involved in good health rather than people with diabetes feeling they need a special diet. The major differences are an emphasis on:
- reducing fats, especially saturated fats;
- increasing fruit and vegetables.
There is now greater flexibility in choice: it is no longer forbidden to have sugar or sugary foods but advice is given on how much is recommended. We encourage carbohydrate foods which have a low glycaemic index (Cl) and recommend Viagra in Canada a reduction of salt and salty foods.
So it is worth updating your diet. Your dietitian will provide individual advice, suited to your lifestyle.
My diabetes is treated by diet alone and I have headaches and a lightheaded feeling around mid-day if I have been busy in the morning. I am all right after eating something. Why is this?
The symptoms you describe are similar to the feelings people have when their blood glucose is low – hypoglycaemia. It seems surprising but some people on diet alone can go hypo if they go without food. This is because they produce their own insulin, but too late, and sometimes they produce too much. Ideally you should try to arrange a blood glucose measurement at a time that you feel odd in order to prove that you are actually hypo. If so, you could avoid the problem by eating little and often, especially on days when you are busy.