Proper Diet For Seniors With Diabetes

Nov 28. 2022

The increasing prevalence of older adults with diabetes has become a widespread social concern. According to the American Diabetes Association, at least one in four people 65 years or older have either type 1 or 2 diabetes. This is in comparison to one in 10 of those younger than 65.

Besides that, half of older adults also have prediabetes, a health condition with blood sugar levels higher than the normal healthy range. Prediabetes can easily lead to the development of type 2 diabetes unless a lifestyle and diet change is adopted to slow the onset and prevent the condition entirely.

As many probably know, diet is key to controlling diabetes, and it is no different for the management of this condition in older adults and seniors. However, as an added challenge, seniors frequently lose their appetite as their ability to smell and taste reduces, so they tend to opt for food that satisfies their taste buds. At the same time, they also need to maintain a nutrient-rich diet to keep them healthy with sustained energy levels and prevent disease. So maintaining a diet that balances these needs alongside making them diabetes-friendly takes careful meal planning.

Based on insights and recommendations from diabetes specialists at GluCare, here is how to incorporate a healthy diet for seniors with diabetes while balancing nutrient requirements.

Control Carbohydrates

Carbohydrate control is essential for both types of diabetes, as the body primarily turns carbs into glucose, raising blood sugar levels. However, too many carbs can also cause havoc in the body and make older adults feel overburdened, like feeling sluggish or tired easily. Especially for those who are inactive or who don’t maintain an active lifestyle controlling carbs is essential to regulate blood sugar levels at a healthy level.

A diet low in carbs featuring lean proteins like beans, poultry, fish, and whole grains can slow the release of sugar into the bloodstream. Now controlling carbs doesn’t mean cutting out carbs completely. Regardless of age, a healthy diet consists of at least 135 grams of carbs per day, depending on the person’s size and activity levels.

Understand Fats

It’s normal to see many older people, especially diabetic patients, completely eliminate fat from their diet, considering them unhealthy. However, it’s important to understand that fats are necessary for a healthy-diabetic friendly diet.

Fats found in avocados, nuts, and olives are healthy, and trans fats and saturated fats are the ones that should be avoided. Healthy fats help absorb fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, K, and E.

Keep in mind that fats also contain fatty acids that are important to control diabetes. A fat-free diet can easily lead to low blood sugar levels (called hypoglycemia) or feeling hungry between meals, which can easily cause seniors to binge eat foods high in carbs or sugar, again raising blood sugar levels.

Snack Right

One main thing older adults inherit when aging is overlooking the healthfulness and nutritional content of their snacks. They are also observed to be more prone to binge eating or developing a binge eating disorder partially influenced by higher levels of disability, psychosocial stress, and poorer quality of life.

Choosing the right snacks or something you eat in between meals comes with high fibre, protein, and healthy fats. Picking nutrient-dense snacks that promote overall health are also recommended. Many studies suggest almonds are a good source of protein and dietary fibre that makes a great snack option for seniors with diabetes.

Almonds have satiating properties that keep you full for longer without feeling hungry. It also helps to lower the impact of eating carbohydrate foods that affect fasting insulin levels and improve glycaemic and cardiovascular health.

Differentiate Good And Bad Food

Effective diabetes management in seniors demands the inclusion of more nutritious foods. Some of the choices that can help with this include,

  • Lean proteins – low-fat dairy, skinless fish and poultry (or a smaller portion with the skin of 3-4 oz), and leaner cuts of beef.
  • Good carbohydrates – whole-grain foods or legumes like lentils, beans, peas, and sweet potatoes.
  • Fiber – fruits, legumes, oatmeal, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Good fats – avocados, olives, butter, nuts/nut butter, and canola oil.
  • Fruits and vegetables – Green vegetables like broccoli, spinach, asparagus, brussels sprouts, and leafy greens. For fruits, consider colorful ones like tomatoes, grapes, apples, oranges, and cherries.

In parallel, it’s best to avoid sugary drinks, juice, sweet tea, lemonade, and excessive milk consumption. Cutting down alcohol, salt, and packaged or processed food and reducing cholesterol intake to 200mg daily also works best for a diabetes-friendly diet for seniors.

At GluCare,

We understand that the precise management of diet and other predominant factors influencing diabetes is challenging, especially for elderly patients and those who maintain a busy lifestyle. This is why our comprehensive GluCare.Health app allows our care team to be by your side 24/7 and manage your diabetes proactively by looking at trends relating to your diet and other key parameters that directly influence your blood sugar levels.

The GluCare.Health program helps to develop and push out relevant and personalized educational content and guidance to patients at the right time to nudge behavioral change. Senior patients can also rely on the care team to clarify information on a real-time basis, as the integration of AI into our app allows for continuous two-way communication between the diabetes specialist and the patient.

This has proven highly effective in closing the feedback loop that currently exists in diabetes management programs, especially among elderly patients who often tend to require professional assistance and careful monitoring of their blood sugar levels.

Need Help?

Our GluCare Team is always ready to assist.

800GluCare (+971 4 220 1570)
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