Q: If I'm using medication and insulin to manage my diabetes, why do I have to worry about my diet?
People with diabetes are not able to process carbohydrates or sugars as effectively as someone who does not have diabetes. To process carbohydrates, our bodies need insulin, a hormone that opens the door to our cells so that carbohydrates can move from our blood into our cells. Diabetes medications assist our bodies by making more insulin, improving the insulin we have, or providing more insulin. However, if we don’t control the amount of carbohydrates we eat, we continue the cycle of having more sugar than the insulin needed to process it and we will continue to have high blood sugar. Our diet is also important because it affects our blood pressure and cholesterol which can also have significant effects on diabetes. A healthy diet can improve your blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure and help you keep a healthy weight.
Your blood sugar level can be affected not only by the type of food you eat, but how much you eat and what combinations of food types you eat together. Eating a diabetes friendly diet prevents high blood sugars which can damage organs. It can also prevent low blood sugars which can cause fainting and wooziness. Skipping meals can cause dangerous low blood sugar.
In summary, together with medications, a healthy diet can help prevent many complications from diabetes.