Special foods for people with diabetes

Ideally, people with diabetes eat ordinary foods with their family or friends, omitting only the foods unsuitable because of a concentrated sugar content.

There may be times, however, when they will miss some of the high sugar content foods, particularly as relishes or spreads or sweets. Fortunately, there are many alternatives which have been specially manufactured for persons with diabetes and people who want to lose weight by reducing sugar intake.

Examples of such special foods are tomato sauce, jams, pickles, jellies, soft drinks, chocolate, preserved fruits and some sweets. To be acceptable, they must be clearly labeled on the package, stating their carbohydrate content. In some cases they are not ‘free’ to take but must be measured or taken in moderation. In some cases they contain sorbitol, and if this is taken in excess it may cause abdominal discomfort and diarrhea.

There are some products on the market labeled ‘Suitable for Diabetics’ which are not recommended by dietitians and may be unsuitable for your child. It is always wise to check with your dietitian about any product before buying it.

The main place for special products for persons with diabetes in the diet is as additions to add variety, rather than as the main foods.

It is not really necessary to buy any special diabetic products. It is certainly not necessary to spend a lot of money on diabetic products. Fortunately many of these are available for a similar price to sugar containing products.

The co-operation of other relatives and friends

Relatives and friends may need to be told about the diet

Although you will be familiar with details of your child’s diet, and understand the reason for restrictions on certain foods, you will realize that sometimes other people may not be so well informed, or understand the need for the diet. Occasionally friends or neighbors may, with the best intentions, offer your child food, or perhaps a grandparent may not agree with the diet system.

It may be useful to tell some neighbors and friends that your child is not allowed extra foods and sweets, and this may save them embarrassment and your child disappointment. It will certainly be important to explain as fully as possible the need for the diet to relatives who have close contact with your child.


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