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People with diabetes have to be careful about what they eat, as their choice of foods can impact the quality and longevity of their lives.
Chairperson of the Heart Foundation of Jamaica (HFJ) Dr Andrene Chung and Rossana Pike, HFJ’s health education officer, told Loop News that finding a healthy balance among the food groups is imperative for diabetics.
Fruits in moderation
Both agree that while fruits are good, diabetics should not overindulge, as this can result in a sugar spike in the body, which is dangerous.
Fruits can also be had as juices, without added sugar. For Dr Chung, however, water should be a diabetic’s drink of choice.
Stick to complex starches
Dr Chung said that people with diabetes should stick to complex starches like sweet potato instead of Irish potato. She explained that sweet potato doesn’t cause a spike in the blood sugar level in the way Irish potato would.
Both Pike and Dr Chung agree that vegetables should be a regular part of a diabetic’s diet, as well as lean meats that include chicken and fish, such as salmon.
The two also agree that sugary foods should be avoided, with Dr Chung adding that there is no difference in substituting honey for sugar. She said honey is a carbohydrate and is still broken down into sugar in the body.
“When you look at your plate, half of your plate should be vegetables, another quarter should be healthy proteins – your chicken breast, your lean meat – and the other quarter would be complex starches like your sweet potato, brown rice that is broken down slowly in the body,” Dr Chung explained.
Pre-packaged, processed foods
According to Pike, people with diabetes should avoid pre-packaged, processed foods and those that contain unhealthy fats. These include saturated fats, trans fats, salt or sodium, and added sugars. She said diabetics should also avoid alcohol.
Video recorded and edited by Marlon Reid.
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