Even though many families won't be doing as much traveling this year for the holidays, people will still be gathering with loved ones locally to celebrate. This will, no doubt, lead to big meals, comfort foods, and risk for people with diabetes. Many common holiday dishes are not good for the balance of blood glucose (blood sugar) necessary to keep diabetics in good health. So, for diabetics traveling or having company over for holiday feasts, it’s important to know what to do and what to avoid.
Patients will need help managing conditions like diabetes. Dr. Rogers Walker and the staff at Walker Urgent & Family Care have years of experience helping the residents of the Little River, South Carolina area with diabetes and other illnesses.
Why diet is important for diabetics
Diabetes is the result of too much blood glucose in the body. In normal doses, blood glucose is important for fueling energy in the cells of muscle and tissue. It’s normally processed through the body by a chemical called insulin that regulates the amount of blood glucose that stays in the body. In diabetes, however, insulin production is hindered or blocked, making way for an overproduction of blood glucose and leading to many other dangerous conditions.
One of the common risk factors of type 2 diabetes is connected to the weight gain from eating high cholesterol and other fatty foods. The increase in fat tissue increases the body’s resistance to insulin. For people already suffering from diabetes, this is even more dangerous because it increases the chances of complications from the condition.
Why holidays can be dangerous
Over the holidays, many people tend to eat comfort foods in large amounts. A lot of these foods are high in cholesterol and fat. With less activity from staying in from the cold and the body slowing down from eating, the chances of getting diabetes are increased. For diabetics, it means the chances of things getting worse becomes a greater risk. Monitoring the diet for diabetics can mean the difference between life and death, especially at events with lots of tempting fatty foods.
What should diabetics do?
Here are some helpful methods of getting through the holidays healthy:
Start a routine
Since there is usually a lot of eating between November and January to pass the time at gatherings, maintain some healthy habits. Don’t skip meals to prepare for big meals, watch meal portions, and eat more healthy foods during meals.
Count your carbs
Too many carbohydrates during a single meal can be dangerous for diabetics. Spread out the amount of carbs eaten over a whole day, and try to maintain 30-60 grams of carbs per meal (15-30 for snacks).
Check blood sugar frequently
Checking blood sugar is important for diabetics normally. When there are more foods that create a higher risk for a spike in blood sugar, checking more often can help better monitor how much more or less food is healthy.
Preparation for holiday meals is everything for diabetics. Knowing what food is going to be available for consumption can help to know what to avoid or know how much or little you can eat. Asking to bring light healthy snacks can help to have diabetes friendly alternatives.
The holidays should be all about enjoying time with family and friends. Meals are a part of that experience, and for diabetics, making that a healthy experience is key to enjoying the experience with low risk. If you have concerns about managing diabetes through the holidays, make an appointment with Dr. Walker and Walker Urgent & Family Care to get help.