Most of us know that eating healthy foods is important for a healthy life. But for people with certain health problems, proper nutrition is more than just a good idea. Today, experts know that nutrition is an essential part of managing many health problems, including diabetes.
Therapeutic nutrition—or the use of specific nutrients and food products in the right quantity to help manage a health problem—is a good way for you to take care of your own health or the health of a loved one. Therapeutic nutrition cannot prevent health problems, but it may help reduce medical care, complications and hospital stay.
Therapeutic nutrition works by making sure that your body gets the balanced mix of the nutrients it needs as part of your diabetes management plan. It also can help you or your loved one manage blood glucose levels and weight.
Nutrition is an important part of diabetes care. Diabetes occurs when the body is unable to use or make enough insulin, a hormone that controls blood sugar in the body. People with diabetes must carefully plan the amount and type of foods that they eat. They also must carefully plan the timing of meals and snacks to avoid high levels of sugar in the blood. High blood sugar levels can lead to other problems, including nerve damage, eye damage, kidney failure, heart disease, and problems with blood flow. Often, with some types of diabetes, people also must control their cholesterol, blood pressure, and weight.
Therapeutic nutrition products can help individuals with diabetes manage their diets. Glucerna® shakes and bars can help meet the nutritional needs of people with diabetes. These products contain unique blends of carbohydrates that are slowly digested, which helps minimize blood sugar spikes. Products such as Glucerna are easy, nutritious alternatives to meals, snack foods, or fast foods, which often are high in calories and low in nutrients. These products also help take the guesswork out of meal planning and make portion control easier. Use Glucerna products under medical supervision as part of a diabetes management plan.
Everyone should try to eat a balanced diet to help maintain good overall health, even if you do not have a chronic health problem. However, therapeutic nutrition is different from simply choosing healthy foods for yourself and your family. It provides important nutrients that can help you manage diabetes. You may use therapeutic nutrition in addition to regular meals or choose to occasionally replace some foods with these products.
Some people use therapeutic nutrition products to help them heal faster, stay stronger in the face of illness, and respond better to medical care, such as chemotherapy and surgery. Talk to your health care professional to make sure that therapeutic nutrition is right for you.
Always start by talking to your health care professional. Your doctor may refer you to a registered dietitian (RD), who will review your medical information, help you create a special diet, and show you how to use therapeutic nutrition products to meet you or your loved one’s specific needs. You can find an RD in your area by visiting the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics online at www.eatright.org and clicking on “Find a Nutrition Professional” or look in your phone book under “Registered Dietitians.”
Some insurance companies may cover the counseling an RD provides when recommended by your doctor. Contact your doctor’s office to see if an RD is on staff.
Many of these products are available to purchase online for home delivery. You also can find many therapeutic nutrition products at your local food or drugstore or ask your pharmacy to order them for you. Speak to your doctor or registered dietitian to learn which products are best for you.
To learn more about therapeutic nutrition products for specific health problems and for a store locator, visit www.AbbottNutrition.com or call 1-800-227-5767 Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM EST. You also can chat live with a registered dietitian online at http://glucerna.com/ask-a-dietitian.
Here are trustworthy sources of general information about diabetes: