Friday, December 1, 2023 | 02:58 WIB

Nutrition management for diabetics


Jakarta, IO – According to International Diabetes Federation 2020 data, 10.5% of adults worldwide are diabetic, and 81% of them live in low-middle-income countries. We expect a 51% increase of the number of diabetics in 2045 worldwide, from 463 million diabetics in 2019 to 700 million by that time, with 152 million of them located in Southeast Asia. Meanwhile, Indonesia has 19.47 million diabetics in 2021, with 236,711 deaths from the disease in that year. 

The biggest risk of contracting diabetes is genetic, with children of diabetics having a 25% of inheriting the disease. However, it is not cross-inherited from mother to son or father to daughter. The second major cause is lifestyle, for example frequent consumption of foods and drinks high in sugar and fat, and a sedentary lifestyle. 

“Nutrition management is the main pillar of diabetes management. Adopt a diet based on the ‘3J’ guidelines – the jumlah (how much), jenis (what), and jadwal (when) you eat. The amount is based on the calorie requirement for your body weight and height, age, physical activity, sex, and health condition. The type must be selected so that the total will give you complete and balanced nutrition – carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.

Choose ingredients and dishes with low glycemic index to prevent excessive blood sugar level. The eating schedule is 3x meals and 3x snacks. Morning meal should cover 20% of your calorie need for the day, while morning snack, afternoon meal, afternoon snack, evening meal, and evening snack should each cover 10%, 30%, 10%, 20%, and 20% of your needs respectively,” declared dr. Dimas Erlangga Luftimas, Sp.GK, M.Kes., nutrition specialist from the Padjadjaran University Bandung Faculty of Medicine Community Health Department’s Nutrition Sciences Division, in the “Tips for Proper Nutrition to Control Blood Sugar Levels” WhatsApp seminar on Tuesday (26/9/2023). 

Fresh Fruit Slices is Best 

Adults on average need to ingest 2,100-2,650 kkal a day. However, contact your doctor for the best calculation of the number of daily calories you need. When managing a diabetic’s nutrition intake, we need to ensure that they have sufficient protein and fibers, and we need to be selective about the type of carbohydrates they ingest. Total daily carbohydrate need calculation considers the person’s height, weight, and level of activity. 

In general, diabetics only need 45-60 grams of carbohydrates in a meal, or about equal to 100 grams of red rice, 50 grams of bihun (rice vermicelli), or 120 grams of cassava, as a single gram carbohydrate contains 4 calories. A third of a cup of low glycemic index rice (50) contains 15 grams carbohydrate and ± 1 gram fiber. The same amount of white rice, which has a higher glycemic index of 70-74, contains the same amount of carbohydrate without the fiber. 

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“Pay attention to snacks too – make sure you choose the type that contains much fiber and protein. Let’s say, for example, that you are considering to have fruit juice or fruit slices for a snack. Which one is better? In the juice, the fiber is mashed and the glycemic index is higher, which means that it will raise blood sugar levels faster. On the contrary, fruit slices retain the complexity of their fiber and have a lower glycemic index, which means that it raises blood sugar levels gradually,” dr. Dimas said.

“There is no such thing as a ‘diabetes cure’. Diabetes treatments only maintain the stability of blood sugar levels in the normal range, in order to prevent health complications such as heart attacks, strokes, kidney disorders, and nerve system disorder. Therefore, please constantly maintain your medication treatment according to the doctor’s recommendation. Don’t stop your medication routine out of boredom or something, as it keeps your blood sugar levels under control.” (est)


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