What are the main differences in diet for Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics?
Dear doctors, I will like to know the main differences in dietary restrictions and diet that Diabetics Type 1 and Type 2 will have to adhere to.
The general dietary advice is similar in terms of recommending sufficient amount of grains (particularly wholegrains), eating more fruit and vegetables, eating food with less fat (especially saturated fat), avoiding sugary foods and drinking alcohol in moderation.
A person with type 1 diabetes doesn't produce any insulin and is hence dependent on insulin injections to keep blood glucose in check. Carbohydrate is the main nutritional consideration for glucose control in type 1 diabetes. Controlling blood glucose involves matching the amount of insulin to the amount of carbohydrate eaten. If you are on a fixed insulin regime, consistent amount of carbohydrates on a day-to-day basis is recommended to avoid wide fluctuations in your blood glucose levels. You can also learn how to count your carbohydrates and titrate your insulin dose for each meal depending on what you're eating. This will give you better flexibility.
The difference in type 2 diabetes is that people with type 2 diabetes are insulin resistant. There is a lot of insulin circulating around, but you are unable to respond to it. Losing weight will help you use your insulin more effectively. As a large proportion of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight, the dietary plan usually focuses on weight loss and healthy eating. The focus should be on the total calorie intake rather than the source of calories. Furthermore, people with type 2 diabetes may have other associated medical conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, so the diet has to contain less salt and less fat too.
It is not a one-size-fits-all prescription, rather an individualized meal plan tailored to each person's needs. If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, it would be beneficial to have a discussion with a dietitian and come up with a meal plan that is most suitable for you.