DIABETES, JUST AFTER DIAGNOSIS
After the diagnosis of type 1 diabetes, there is a lot to deal with, both for adult patients and (parents of) children. You'll have a lot to deal with, both mentally and physically. That's a huge task, but we're happy to help. After the diagnosis you have to start administering insulin immediately. You have to learn to interpret your blood sugars. You get a lot of explanation about nutrition and carbohydrates. Of course we will also pay attention to the processing and the mental part of the type 1 diabetes diagnosis.
It is important in the first phase of type 1 diabetes to take your time to understand the information and learn to fit it into your life.
The first year with your type 1 diabetes is decisive
Good guidance in that first period is incredibly important. Research has shown that the first year of diabetes treatment determines the next ten to fifteen years. If you receive good guidance immediately and know how to use all the information that comes your way, you will benefit from it for the rest of your life. We previously made a livestream about the importance of good type 1 diabetes care in the first year after diagnosis. You can find it here:
Nutrition After Diagnosis
Nutrition is important for everyone and especially in the treatment of diabetes. All of our body cells need energy. That energy comes from our food and our body uses it in the form of glucose. Diabetes does not require a special diet, but rather a healthy diet and a good distribution of food throughout the day.
Carbohydrates are important, because they provide energy to the body. Normally you get about 50% of all the daily energy you need from carbohydrates. But insulin remains indispensable. The carbohydrates do increase the glucose levels in your blood, but to convert that glucose into energy for the body, you need insulin. To properly determine how much insulin is needed you need to know (count!) how many carbohydrates are in the food and drink you eat. After a few weeks, you will learn how to manage a balance between food, insulin dosage and activities to optimally regulate glucose levels.
Just before you got diabetes you may have lost some weight. At the beginning of your insulin treatment you may notice that you feel extra hungry. This is normal; your body has to recover from a difficult period. Therefore, the treatment in the first phase focuses on recovery of the body and important nutrients. If you get more hungry, it is wise to eat more at the main meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner). If you have more appetite between meals, make sure that the food quiets the appetite/fillings, for example, choose a sandwich or fruit instead of candy and drinks. Only after this "survival" phase comes the phase in which we will further improve the diabetes regulation. Until then it is: recover and learn a lot.
Healthy eating advice - no diet
The dietary advice for type 1 diabetes is the same as for peers without diabetes and other family members. Our dieticians will teach you very quickly how to eat healthy with diabetes without a tedious diet. Read more about healthy eating here.
In the supermarket there are many products with the claim sugar free or suitable for diabetics, such as licorice, chocolate and jam. We do not recommend these products, because they are often sweetened with certain sweeteners (polyols) that can cause gastrointestinal complaints when used. Children in particular can quickly develop symptoms if they consume only a small amount of this type of sweetener.
Eating regularly is important to maintain normal blood sugar levels. Good snacks are:
- Fruit (all kinds)
- One slice of whole grain bread or whole grain crispbread
- Whole-wheat muesli roll
- Cup of semi-skimmed yogurt with some nuts or seeds
- Evergreen/sultana or house brand. They are often two in a packet, but not every child needs two cookies
Divide the food throughout the day into three main meals and three snacks. Often this was a habit on many days when you were not a diabetic, now it is important on all days. Usually you can just keep eating the amounts you were used to. Sugar is not forbidden, there are no 'forbidden' foods at all. Nutrition in diabetes is healthy food.
However, soft drinks and lemonade cause rapid spikes in glucose levels. So it is better to have light soft drinks and well-diluted sugar-free lemonade syrup. It is also smart to drink tap water and tea without sugar more often. Eating regular fruit is better than drinking fruit juice or smoothies. It may say "pure and unsweetened" on a pack of fruit juice, but it still contains fruit sugars. Later you will learn to fit juice and smoothies in.