The promotion of the idea that people with diabetes should only follow a ‘diabetic diet’ is now redundant and considered a mistake by most experts. This is because scientific research does not support the idea that a diabetic diet is particularly beneficial. People with diabetes can eat a range of good and wonderful foods. In fact you should be able to eat everything, it is only a matter of quantity.
A basic appreciation of nutrition is however fundamental to the management of diabetes. It is one of the first areas a newly diagnosed patient will be concerned about. The sugar free diet or diabetic diet was recommended many years ago but this concept for everyone has not been supported by long-term scientific follow up studies. There do not appear to be any particular benefits to long-term health.
The recommendation of strict diets for people with diabetes also plays straight into the hands of our tendency in society to be judgmental without very good reason. Thus the patient who snacks occasionally on chocolate is considered at best to ‘cheat’ and at worst is consistently labeled in clinics as ‘non-compliant’. It was therefore a relief to many people with diabetes when research demonstrated that small amounts of sugar in the diet did not adversely affect diabetes control.
The foods currently recommended to people with diabetes should be based on exactly the same nutritional principals as those recommended to maintain the general population in good health. With this one statement, out will go the old fashioned concept of a so-called ‘diabetic diet’. We will be promoting healthy good food with the focus very much on taking responsibility to assess your diet and to make the necessary changes for your food choices to be in keeping with current principals of the Mediterranean diet.
You don’t have to live around the Mediterranean to eat a Mediterranean diet as most food groups or similar will be available in your area. Rather than rather depressingly thinking a list of ‘banned’ foods it will be obvious that the diagnosis of diabetes may actually be the trigger for you and your family to look forward to eating really great food and wine.