How to make better food choices is one of the hardest things when you’re living with diabetes. We chatted to Thapelo Serumula from Dietitians24 based in Polokwane, Limpopo about her perspective on diabetes and the challenges people with diabetes face when it comes to healthier food choices. This is what she shared with us.
What’s the one thing you wish all people with diabetes knew about diet?
I wish people with diabetes knew that diabetes is a lifestyle condition, and adopting a healthy lifestyle can be helpful in managing the condition.
When adopting healthy eating patterns, some people with Type 2 diabetes can reduce their dependence on medication or the dosage of medication.
What advice do you give people who are newly diagnosed with diabetes?
I advise people with diabetes about how important portion size and the control of your portions are. (Check out our Healthy Food Guide for more information on portion control.) We speak about the low glycemic index (low GI) food guidelines. I explain the difference between simple and complex carbohydrates and highlight foods which are rich in fibre. I advise them to avoid sugar and sweet drinks, check food labels.
How can we support newly diagnosed people with diabetes?
We can support people with diabetes by strengthening nutrition education, giving them meal plans and encouraging daily glucose monitoring.
Do you think nutrition advice is different in different parts of the country? What advice is most helpful in Polokwane?
Most definitely. I think there is too much confusion around diabetes, what the public know and what dieticians know. There is a lot of different information released about diabetes which creates this confusion. The most helpful advice is portion size control and the importance of high fibre intake.
Remember! Foods high in fibre are vegetables, beans, lentils and chickpeas, some fruits like apples and avocado, wholegrain and wholewheat foods, oats and popcorn. Every person with diabetes will have to decide on their own eating plan that works for them and their blood sugar.
Could you tell us about Dietitians24?
Dietitians24 is a group of private practicing dieticians. We are registered with HPCSA and BHF. Our aim is to change people’s lives by connecting food to health. We have been in practice since 2013 and have been changing lives, one life at a time. We have learnt a lot from our patients and their stories.
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[…] How to make better food choices: advice from a dietician: How to make better food choices is one of the hardest things when you’re living with diabetes. We chatted to Thapelo Serumula from Dietitians24 based in Polokwane, Limpopo. […]