4.9. Nutritional Rules vs the Elderly Diseases: Diet for Diabetics

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“Oh, he’ll be alright. Bee poison cures sweet tooth.”


Diabetes in the elderly is a serious issue, as seniors are one of the most at-risk group for the disease. Elderly care should encompass all aspects of physical and mental health, and dietary needs are an important factor to a senior’s well-being.

A diabetic diet is primarily aimed at controlling blood sugar levels. Preventing spikes in glucose levels helps to manage the level of insulin your body makes. It also allows to control body weight, as it is a large component of diabetes health, especially for seniors with limited mobility.

Recommended dietary changes:

Portion control
This is mostly in regards to carbohydrates. The carbohydrates are the macronutrient that affect blood glucose levels. The most important is to choose an adequate type of carbohydrate – rather than eating processed, refined carbs from foods like sweets and desserts, the better is to choose fruits, legumes, and vegetables instead. These are known as complex carbs, which are digested much slower and thus don’t cause a spike in blood sugar. This is one of the most important points for managing diabetes in the elderly.

Having regularly set mealtimes, not skipping meals
This will help regulate glucose levels. The time at which elderly eat is just as important as the food that they eat. To avoid sugar level fluctuations, tiem of eating the following meals should be the same each day. If an elderly affected by diabetes take mealtime insulin, eating every 4-5 hours is recommended in order to prevent hypoglycemia.

Limiting sugar intake
Sweets and desserts, soft drinks, honey, and other foods with a high glycemic index should be avoided entirely, or only eaten as an occasional treat in tiny amounts. For proper control over diabetes in the elderly, sugar cravings should be assuaged with fresh or frozen fruit. Cut out fruit juices from the elderly’s diet, as these are high in sugar. Low-fat foods, such as yogurt and other dairy products, should also be avoided, as they often have added sugar to compensate for the reduced fat content.

Fiber is an important element of an enjoyable diabetic diet. Dietary fiber has many health benefits for the body, including a slowed digestion of sugars and improvement of blood glucose levels. Seniors with diabetes should consume more high-fiber foods, such as fruits, vegetables and nuts.

A diet high in whole foods and low in processed foods is best
Highly processed foods often contain excessive sodium, sugar, and unhealthy saturated fats. Preparing the own meals is a good way to avoid unnecessary salt and sugar.

Avoiding excessive salt
Diabetics are more at-risk for heart disease than non-diabetics. Excessive sodium can lead to many complications, including high blood pressure, heart failure, and stroke.

Download infographic: Diabetic Diet
Downloads as PDF file. Source: MIS Foundation

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