No standard diet plan for diabetes patients, says expert at HMC

January 19, 2014 - 4:27:52 am
DOHA: Every patient diagnosed with diabetes at Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) National Diabetes Centre meets with a nutrition expert who provides guidance and education on an appropriate meal plan. 

Zohair Ali Al Arabi, Clinical Dietitian Supervisor at Hamad General Hospital, says there is no standard diet for patients with diabetes; meal plans are tailored to the needs of the patient.

Dietary management guidelines for individuals with diabetes take into consideration the age, gender, height, weight and physical activity of the individual, as well as the type of diabetes the patient has; individuals with Type 1 diabetes generally require a more restrictive daily regime of insulin doses, meal timings and activity levels.

“Not all patients with diabetes follow the same meal plan. There are general similarities, but each patient has his or her own needs to which we adjust the meal plan. For example, a Type 2 diabetic has more flexibility than a Type 1 diabetic. Individuals with Type 1 diabetes are normally restricted by their injection timings and should coordinate their meal plan and injections with their doctor and dietitian,” said  Al Arabi.

Meal plans are adjusted to the specific needs of each patient and consideration is given to the patient’s overall health. For example, when a patient is overweight or obese, dietitians design a meal plan that promotes weight loss. 

“Our goal is always to maintain a healthy lifestyle for our patients and to control their blood sugar levels,” says  Al Arabi. “The body needs 30 calories for each kilogram of body weight. To help our patients lose weight, if they need to, we decrease their caloric intake to 20 calories per kilogram. We make this alteration while keeping in mind the need for a balanced diet, high in fibre and low in sugar, salt and refined carbohydrates.” 

Al Arabi says dietary guidance is tailored to the patient’s needs and that the importance of physical exercise is highlighted.  “Physical exercise helps in lowering blood sugar levels and improves the body’s ability to use insulin,” he added.  

The National Diabetes Centre is providing a ‘one stop shop’ that offers all specialities and services, from initial screening through to treatment, health education and the provision of medication and equipment. In addition to improving access to services, the centre has lowered waiting times through enhanced appointment scheduling and clinic utilisation, improving the patient experience, reducing walk-ins and allowing for the expansion of services which focus on prevention. Beyond Hamad General Hospital, Al Wakra, Al Khor and Women’s Hospitals offer outpatient diabetic clinics. In all cases patients are treated by endocrinologists and/or general medicine experts who are highly qualified practitioners skilled in the diagnosis and treatment of diabetes. All clinical protocols meet American Diabetes Association standards.

The Peninsula