How to Manage Your Fat and Cholesterol to Prevent Diabetes

Dolores had a harder time controlling her intake of fat than of sugar. This is probably true of many of us because fat, even more than sugar, is what makes things taste good. You hardly ever hear people say that they would rather eat low-fat cheese or salad dressing than the regular kind. Fat molecules carry the fla­vor of foods, and when their globular little selves are removed from ice cream or cheese or cookies, much of the flavor is re­moved also. Beware of packaged products touted as “low fat.” The manufacturers usually add extra sugar to compensate for the absence of fat. Later I will explain how to determine if this is what has happened by reading the nutritional labels on food packages.

Most people know there is a difference between saturated and unsaturated fat. The former is generally solid at room tem­perature and comes from animal products (milk, eggs, meat), ex­cept for palm oil and coconut oil, which come from plants but are saturated. Unsaturated fat is a vegetable product (olive oil, corn oil, safflower oil) and is liquid at room temperature.

Fat and Cholesterol

Cholesterol, which is not a fat but works in conjunction with fat in your body, is a waxy substance that gets into your blood­stream via two major routes: it is manufactured normally by your liver and intestines, or it enters through the food you eat. Fatty red meat, whole-milk dairy products, and eggs are examples of foods high in cholesterol.

Cholesterol is deposited on the walls of your arteries, where it builds up over the years, gradually narrowing the lumen (inside passage) of these blood vessels, limiting the amount of blood that can get through. Eventually, the artery may become completely clogged, resulting in a heart attack or stroke.

Your body manufactures two types of cholesterol: high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). HDL is often called “good” cholesterol because one of its actions is to remove cholesterol from the arteries and carry it back to the liver where it is reprocessed and sent on its way to be eliminated. LDL is deposited into the arteries, and is the kind of cholesterol you want to minimize in your diet.

Fats work in concert with cholesterol in the following ways: Saturated fat raises the level of LDL, which increases your chances of clogged arteries. Unsaturated fat is believed to lower LDL lev­els and may even help raise HDL. For this reason, you should make an effort to eat more polyunsaturated than saturated fats. Try not to eat more than 300 mg of cholesterol each day.

There are a number of reasons why you need to limit your intake of fat and cholesterol. For one, fat is a significant factor in the development of cardiovascular disease (heart attack and stroke), and as a diabetic you have an increased risk of these health problems. To reduce the risk, reduce your fat intake.

Eating a high-fat diet is also one of the things that makes you overweight. One of the best ways to lose weight is to cut way down on fat in your diet. Each gram of fat you eat has twice the calories of each gram of carbohydrate or protein. If you were to eliminate fat completely from your diet (which is not healthy to do) you would automatically cut your caloric intake in half.

Finally, muscle tissue has more insulin receptor sites than your body chemistry is able to accommodate. Therefore, when you lose body fat, which lies close to the muscle, you eliminate one of the factors that may be interfering with insulin receptor sites.

One way to reduce fat intake is to keep track of the grams you eat. This is easier than you may think and you don’t have to be a mathematician to do it. All you do is keep a daily running to­tal, using a chart showing the grams of fat in various foods. Then you choose foods that add up to your daily total. It’s exactly like calorie counting—only with fat grams.

How do you find out how much fat is in various foods? You read the label of prepared foods and you buy a book that has a list of the fat content of other foods. Any big bookstore will have a wide variety of them, or you can write to the U.S. Government Printing Office for a copy of “Nutritive Value of Foods,” a free pamphlet.

Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins and minerals are an integral part of the nutritive value of food, and if you eat a balanced diet, you do not need to take additional vitamins in the form of pills. Taking megavitamins (huge doses of selected vitamins) has been touted as a cure-all for a number of ailments, but megavitamins can be extremely harm­ful, and in some cases, fatal. The same holds true for minerals such as calcium, potassium, iron, and zinc. Having diabetes does not increase your need for vitamins and minerals.

Cholesterol Prevent Diabetes

  • If you are not a seasoned traveler and find yourself in a job where you will be taking frequent business trips, or if you de­cide to take a major vacation, give yourself some practice be­fore the big event. Start out with a day trip away from home, perhaps to a state park you’ve always wanted to see, or give yourself a day at the beach. Then go away for a whole week­end, stay at a hotel or inn, and eat all your meals in restau­rants. Make notes of problem areas and devise creative ways to solve them.
  • When you travel in a foreign country (and even in some re­mote areas of the United States), when you see a bathroom, use it. You never know when you’ll find another one.
  • Test your blood glucose about twice as often as you do at home. The stress of travel, changing time zones, and mixed-up eating times all have an effect on blood glucose, and you want to catch hyper- or hypoglycemia before is becomes a problem.

Filed Under: Health & Personal Care


About the Author: Andrew Reinert is a health care professional who loves to share different tips on health and personal care. He is a regular contributor to MegaHowTo and lives in Canada.

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