As the global travel industry sees a gradual boom in interest – as more and more people take flight to other lands – others are preferring to take a vacation here in the UK.
Dr Sarah Brewer offers her expertise on how diabetics can stay safe on our small little island.
No matter where you choose to venture in England this summer, caring for your diabetes is extra baggage you can’t drop off at your accommodation.
1. Know your limits
Off somewhere where you can enjoy a tipple or two? Dr Brewer explained: “When you have diabetes, drinking alcohol can cause your blood glucose levels to either rise or fall.”
This totally depends on “how much you’ve eaten” and “how much alcohol you consume, how quickly, and the amount of carbohydrate present in the drink or mixer”.
In particular, “sweet wine and beer can cause blood glucose levels to rise”.
Did you know that alcohol can interfere with the beneficial effects of anti-diabetes medications? Dr Brewer says so.
And alcohol stimulates your appetite, making it more likely you’ll over eat and put on weight – especially as alcohol is seen as “empty calories”.
Those empty calories “are readily converted into fat in the body, raising triglycerides levels and contributing to fatty changes in the liver and pancreas” – both of which are associated with insulin resistance.
Another thing is that alcoholic drinks also make it more difficult to lose weight.
Dr Brewer added: “Moderation is key.” Diabetics may be recommended, if they do choose to indulge, to sip one to two units of alcohol per day.
Two units is equivalent to two single (25ml) shots of spirits, or a pint of lower-strength (3.6 percent) lager, beer or cider.
One small glass (125ml) of red, white or rose wine is equivalent to 1.5 units. Another option to enjoy 1.5 units of alcohol is one alcopop.
Dr Brewer added:”Only drink alcoholic drinks when your blood glucose levels are well controlled, drink alcohol with food, drink slowly and avoid sugary drinks as mixers.”
2. Have a curry
“Numerous spices such as cinnamon, ginger, fenugreek, turmeric, cumin, coriander, mustard seed and curry leaves all have evidence for improving glucose control,” said Dr Brewer.
3. Snack on fruits
Perfect for a light and nutritious bite to eat, fruit can be enjoyed while visiting the local attraction or laying down on the beach.
“Although fruit contains natural sugars, most have a low to moderate glycemic index and don’t raise blood glucose levels excessively,” stated Dr Brewer. However, she does caution against excessive dried fruits.
4. Be careful when you sunbathe
“Heat can lead to dehydration,” Dr Brewer began. “and it affects glucose levels.”
She continued: “Drink sufficient fluids to maintain good hydration. Avoid prolonged sunbathing, which can raise blood glucose levels and always keep medication cool.”
Speaking of medication, Dr Brewer advises people to “carry twice as much medication as you would normally need to cover for unexpected delays or losses”.
Dr Brewer highly recommends continuing to take your regular medication while on vacation.
In addition, she is a big supporter of CuraLin – a type 2 diabetes supplement.
“CuraLin is made from 10 natural ingredients that work with the body to help balance the blood sugar profile,” she said.
Dr Brewer added that it can also reduce sugar cravings and is “the ideal travel companion for type 2 diabetics”.
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