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Diabetics Information

DIABETES UK 10 Steps to Eating Well

1.  Eat three meals a day

Avoid skipping meals and space your breakfast, lunch and evening meal out over the day.  This will not only help control your appetite but will also help control your blood glucose levels.


2.  Include starchy carbohydrate foods as part of your diet

Examples of these include bread, pasta, chapatis, potatoes, yam, noddles, rice and cereals.  The amount of carbohydrate you eat is important to control your blood glucose levels.  Especially try to include those that are more slowly absorbed (have a lower glycaemic index) as these won’t affect your blood glucose levels as much.  Better choices include: pasta, basmati or easy cook rice, grainy breads such as granary, pumpernickel and rye, new potatoes, sweet potato and yam, porridge oats.  All Bran and natural muesli.  The high fibre varieties of starchy foods will also help to maintain the health of your digestive system and prevent problems such as constipation.


3.  Cut down on the fat you eat, particularly saturated fats

A low fat diet benefits health.  Choose unsaturated fats or oils, especially monounsaturated fat (eg olive oil and rapeseed oil) as these types of fats are better for your heart.  As fat is the greatest source of calories, eating less will help you to lose weight if you need to.  To cut down on the fat you eat here are some tips:


· Use less saturated fat by having less butter, margarine and cheese.

· Choose lean meat and fish as low fat alternatives to fatty meats.

· Choose lower fat dairy foods such as skimmed or semi-skimmed milk, low fat or diet yoghurts, reduced fat cheese and lower fat spreads.

· Grill, steam or oven bake instead of frying or cooking with oil or other fats.

· Watch out for creamy sauces and dressings and swap for tomato based sauces instead.


4.  Eat more fruit and vegetables

Aim for at least five portions a day to provide you with vitamins, minerals and fibre to help you to balance your overall diet.  One portion is, for example, a banana or apple, a handful of grapes, at tablespoon of dried fruit, a small glass of fruit juice or fruit smoothie, three heaped tablespoons of vegetables or a cereal bowl of salad.


5.  Include more beans and lentils

Examples include kidney beans, butter beans, chickpeas or red and green lentils.  They have less of an effect on our blood glucose levels and may help to control your blood fats.  Try adding them to stews, casseroles and soups, or to a salad.

6.  Aim for at least two portions of oily fish a week

Examples include mackerel, sardines, salmon and pilchards.  Oily fish contains a type of polyunsaturated fat called omega 3, which helps protect against heart disease.

7.  Limit sugar and sugary foods

This does not mean you need to eat a sugar free diet.  Sugar can be used in foods and in baking as part of a healthy diet.  Using sugar free, no added sugar or diet fizzydrinks/squashes, instead of sugary versions can be an easy way to reduce the sugar in your diet.

8.  Reduce salt in your diet to 6g or less a day

More than this can raise your blood pressure, which can lead to stroke and heart disease.  Limit the amount of processed foods you eat (as these are usually high in salt) and try flavouring foods with herbs and spices instead of salt.

9.  Drink alcohol in moderation only

That is a maximum of two units of alcohol per day for a woman and three units per day for a man.  For example, a single pub measure (25ml) of spirit is about 1 unit or half pint of lager, ale, bitter or cider has 1-1 ½ units.

Over the years the alcohol content of most drinks has gone up.  A drink can now contain more units than you think – a small glass of wine (175ml) could contain as much as 2 units.  Remember alcohol contains empty calories so think about cutting back further if you are trying to lose weight.

Never drink on an empty stomach, as alcohol can make hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose levels) more likely to occur when taking certain diabetes medication.

10. Don’t use diabetic foods or drinks

They offer no benefit to people with diabetes.  They will still affect your blood glucose levels contain just as much fat and calories as the ordinary versions, can have a laxative effect and are expensive.

Diabetes UK recommends that everyone with diabetes should see a registered dietitian at diagnosis, and then have regular reviews.  Ask your GP to refer you to a registered dietitian.



British Heart Foundation    Tel: 0300 3303311

So you want to lose weight …….. for good booklet

Cut the Saturated Fat booklet


Diabetes UK    Tel 0207 4241000


Weight creeping up on your booklet

Keeping active booklet

Driving and diabetes information sheet

15 Healthcare Essentials


Department of Health  Tel 08701555455


Your weight your health booklet


Food Standards Agency  Tel 08456060667

The little book of SALT


Online Lifestyle Change information - guide for healthy eating – guide for losing weight


http://www.change4life/ – advice on healthy eating and activity


Hertfordshire Walks Tel 01462459395


Hertfordshire Stop Smoking Service  Tel 0800 3893998


Beating the Blues – Beating the Blues – online cognitive behavioural therapy course.


Hertfordshire Partnership Foundation NHS Trust – single point of access for self referral.

 Tel 0300 777 0707

Hertfordshire Diabetes Support Groups

North Herts and Stevenage Diabetes Support Group

St Albans and District Voluntary Diabetes Support Group





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