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16 February 2018

Diabetes and cured meats

A healthy diet plays a very important role in treating diabetes.
“Buono a sapersi”(Good to Know) edited by Jessica Lops (Dietician)  

The name “diabetes” indicates a chronic illness characterised by a high concentration of blood glucose which is caused by a lack of insulin in the human body.
The diagnosis is made by performing blood tests and must be carried out as quickly as possible to avoid the onset of complications involving the retina, kidneys and heart.
Treatment is based on three fundamental principles:

  • Teaching diabetics to manage their disease on their own and control their blood sugar level at home
  • Diet therapy
  • Physical exercise

Diet therapy plays an essential part in treating diabetes and involves reducing simple sugars and saturated fats and increasing consumption of fibre. Diabetes sufferers should also eat complete meals consisting of carbohydrates and proteins, making sure complex carbohydrates like pasta, bread, biscuits etc. are equally distributed between the three main meals of the day.
When following these instructions, however, diabetics should always remember that a balanced diet means eating the right amount of each individual food and with the right frequency.
Although cured meats are much debated, they are not totally off limits, in fact lean cuts like ham (100 kcal per 50 g), bresaola and dry-cured ham (170 kcal per 50 g), with the fat removed and combined with a source of carbohydrates, are recommended and provide a balanced meal for diabetes sufferers. In fact, that classic – the ham sandwich – is without a doubt the favourite snack for diabetics. It goes without saying the key word is always “moderation”.

There are two types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2.
Type 1 diabetes is often associated with a genetic predisposition, the presence of autoimmune markers, the destruction of the beta cells in the pancreas and a serious insulin deficiency which calls for insulin therapy. It is very frequent in children and adolescents.
Type 2 diabetes, more common in adults, has several causes which interact with each other, like genetic predisposition and environmental factors. Environmental factors which can encourage the onset of diabetes include overweight and obesity due to an unbalanced diet which is rich in saturated fats and simple sugars.

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