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Diabetes type 2: Dr Zoe Williams discusses high blood sugar risks

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Managing diabetes and blood sugar levels at Christmas can be more difficult, with the temptation of so much Christmas food and drink to choose from. But Dr Sarah Brewer, Healthspan Medical Director, offered some simple tips to follow.

She recommended:

  • Watch portion sizes.
  • Eat meals that provide protein, best result of viagra fibre and healthy fats plus plenty of fruit and vegetables.
  • Cut back on processed foods and stodgy, carbohydrate-rich foods.
  • Stock up on healthy versions of your favourites, too. Instead of figgy pudding have a fresh fig compote. Instead of milk or white chocolate goodies, fill your stocking with dark chocolate treats – at least 70 percent cocoa solids – and indulge in this antioxidant-rich superfood knowing that it will help to bring down your blood sugar.

If you’re going to a party during the festive season, Dr Brewer also recommends the following: “You may eat later than normal, if a meal is provided, or you may need to eat earlier, before you leave, if only a few nibbles or snacks are on offer.

“If you are using insulin, check what food arrangements are in place so you know whether to expect a meal and if so, when. 

“Check you have enough medication and blood glucose monitoring supplies to see you through the holiday period.

“If you are eating more, being less active and experiencing a change in routine, you may have a higher blood glucose level than normal and may need to check your glucose levels more often than usual.”

Losing weight if you’re overweight can make it easier for your body to lower your blood sugar level, as ell as improve your blood pressure and cholesterol.

Rob Hobson, Healthspan Head of Nutrition, advises the following tips on what to eat if you’re looking to stay in shape over Christmas:

  • Avoid overeating –  don’t pile your plate with food.
  • Eat slowly to give your brain a chance to receive messages from your stomach when you are full and, when you feel full, stop eating.
  • Don’t rush to eat second helpings. 
  • Fill your plate high with vegetables and lean meat rather than creamy sauces and carbohydrates.

If you’re attending a buffet, he said:

  • Try eating before you go out to help quell the desire to gorge on the beige offerings.
  • Try and fill up on the buffet foods that are vegetable based.
  • Approach the buffet before you start drinking as the effect alcohol has on appetite can be overwhelming.
  • Don’t stand next to the buffet as it becomes easy to nibble whilst chatting and the more you drink the more you nibble – try taking what you want then leave.

Physical exercise is also key when it comes to keeping blood sugar levels in check.

It’s easy to get locked in on Christmas day but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a bit of exercise in.

Rob said: “We’re not talking about going out for a jog but a brisk walk after lunch is a great way to get some fresh air and bump up your daily step count.

“Another idea is to get jiggy after lunch! Get some of your favourite music going as it’s a great excuse for a quick dance around the kitchen! Even a bit of karaoke is a good way to get everyone moving a little bit.

“Even a game of charades can get you up and moving a little bit.”

There’s nothing you cannot eat if you have type 2 diabetes, according to the NHS, but certain foods should be limited.

The health body says you should:

  • eat a wide range of foods – including fruit, vegetables and some starchy foods like pasta
  • keep sugar, fat and salt to a minimum
  • eat breakfast, lunch and dinner every day – do not skip meals

If you need to change your diet, it may be easier to make small changes every week.  

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