MANILA, Philippines — Managing diabetes takes vigilant effort from monitoring blood sugar and taking medication to making healthy food choices and being active. It can be an everyday challenge causing people with diabetes to often feel overwhelmed and stressed with the constant demands of managing their condition.
While there are a number of factors that people with diabetes have to take into account on a daily basis, nutrition is a key area that can help them take control of their health and make a positive impact on their lives.
Riding the emotional waves
People with diabetes can experience an emotional journey as they navigate their condition. That journey starts when they first hear their diagnosis. Learning that they have diabetes can generate a swirl of emotions from sadness or denial that they have the condition to guilt or shame that maybe they did this to themselves to feel like they are alone in the struggle.
Diabetes is a complex condition that requires daily self-management. People with diabetes must continuously think about their condition and plan ahead. They have to regularly monitor their blood sugar and make sure their numbers aren’t too high or too low. They have to learn about healthy eating such as how to count carbs, develop meal plans, and how to read food nutrition labels.
They also have to find ways to be active, as exercise can help them manage their blood sugar and positively impact overall health. This constant management and the daily decisions required can be overwhelming.
Throughout their journey, people with diabetes may also experience feelings of failure and frustration. For example, they may feel like they failed if they have eaten food that caused their blood sugar level to spike or if they forgot to eat and their blood sugar level drops. They may feel frustrated about not having the freedom to eat the foods they want or having to constantly think about their diabetes multiple times per day.
Further, people with diabetes learn that when their condition isn’t managed, it can lead to more serious health complications like stroke, kidney disease, eye damage or blindness and foot complications, which can add additional pressure and stress.
For all these reasons, quality of life can be diminished in people with diabetes. In fact, a study showed that 4 out of 5 adults with type 2 diabetes said their quality of life suffers because of their condition.1 This is why diabetes is linked to negative impacts on working life, health status, family life, sex life, dietary habits and future perspectives.2
While managing blood sugar is important, maintaining or improving quality of life is essential to wellbeing. Research shows that following a nutrition food plan is associated with improved quality of life in people with diabetes, including self-confidence and freedom to eat and drink.3
By learning about the role of food and nutrition in diabetes management, individuals can help empower themselves to improve their dietary freedom.
Speaking with a healthcare professional, such as a registered dietitian nutritionist or taking a diabetes nutrition class through their hospital or a healthcare provider can help people with diabetes learn that eating healthy doesn’t have to mean sacrificing good food.
It can be as simple as making healthy food swaps or building healthy clothes. For example, using brown rice instead of white rice, drinking water instead of soda or simply cutting down portion sizes.
Glucerna, as part of a lifestyle intervention, has been shown to help manage blood glucose and give people with diabetes the freedom to replace meals or snacks to satisfy their hunger.4
People with diabetes also can learn and adopt healthy coping skills to manage the impact of their condition. For example, being active can be doubly beneficial in helping people manage their blood sugar levels and help boost people’s moods.5
While people with diabetes experience a wide variety of emotions in their journey to manage their condition, making positive lifestyle choices such as healthy eating and exercise can help diabetes management, boost mood and improve their quality of life.
1. Wang HF, Yeh MC. Qual Life Res. 2013;22(3):577-584.
2. Papazafiropoulou AK, et al. BMC Res Notes. 2015;8:786.
3. Alcubierre N, et al. Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2016;14:1-6.
4. Devitt, et al. Clinical Nutrition Week. 2014.A68.
5. Chekroud SR, et al. Lancet Psychiatry. 2018;5:739-746.
ASC Reference No. A079P072722GS