To prevent heart disease (and other complications) from arising, it is important for diabetics to manage their sugar levels well. A good diabetes management plan looks at controlling your blood sugar levels in three ways: diet, exercise and compliance with medication. While it may seem difﬁcult to diet and exercise, small steps are better than none.
Start by cutting back on reﬁned sugars and starches. It does not need to be an ‘all or nothing’ approach. After all, it is not too hard to take a few less teaspoons of sugar in your morning coffee or tea, or one less soft drink a day. You can also simply swop reﬁned grains for wholegrain food to make an impact on your sugar levels.
As your taste buds get accustomed to less sweetness, try cutting back even more. Physical activity is an important part of managing diabetes well and exercise need not take up too much time or effort. You don’t have to start running marathons or lifting heavy weights. Take a short 30-minute walk everyday or climb the stairs instead of taking the escalator. Any activity is good because it uses up sugar (glucose) in the blood, which means lower blood sugar levels.
Regular activity also improves the body’s sensitivity to insulin. Even daily activities – housework, gardening or walking – can lower blood sugar levels. The key is to be consistent. Many patients beneﬁt greatly from losing just a few kg. In fact, a 10% weight loss in the obese can already lower the risk of diabetes complications.