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Updated: June 16, 2012 17:00 IST

No sugar worries

Dr. C. M.  BATRA
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Stay stress-free when you fly
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Stay stress-free when you fly

How to manage blood sugar levels while travelling.

Today travelling, whether as part of a holiday or on work, has become common. But, not every one is happy about having to travel. One main reason for this is health issues. Given the increasing number of lifestyle disorders like obesity, diabetes and heart ailments, a pleasant trip may be a far cry especially for people with diabetes. Travelling, that too frequently, may be an emotional and physical burden. They worry about their food and blood glucose management and, more often than not, end with fluctuating blood sugar levels because of erratic meal timings and unhealthy binging.

Actually, it is simple and easy for people with diabetes to avoid complications of blood glucose fluctuation. A little planning and early preparation can help them focus on their destination rather than on diabetes.

Strategies for healthy eating:

Healthy snacks that are fibre rich, low fat and low calorie taken in between main meals are ideal for people with diabetes, especially while travelling

Stick to basics instead of binging on fat rich preparations

Baked dishes are better than fried ones.

Keep a watch on portion sizes when eating out

Opt for fibre rich foods including whole grain preparations and salads

Drink plenty of water and avoid sugary drinks and alcohol

Snacking is a lifesaver for people with diabetes. Not only does it curb the hunger pangs by enhancing satiety, but it also preventsabrupt ebb and flow of blood glucose. Whole grain snacks are rich in fibre, have a low glycemic index (GI) and release the sugar gradually in the blood stream unlike simple carbohydrates which promptly raise the blood glucose levels.

Oats and ragi, being good sources of soluble fibre, have been found to have cholesterol lowering effects, thus diminishing the risk of cardiac disorders. It is best to have baked snacks that have minimal fat rather than fat and calorie dense fried ones. Baked snacks enriched with grains like oats and ragi are fibre rich, low fat, trans-fat free and low calorie are the best pick for people with diabetes. Keep a stock of such snacks while travelling.

Must do

See a doctor to assess current level and to get guidance on management issues

Those who take insulin should store it in a safe place, away from direct sunlight. Insulin loses its potency when subjected to extreme temperatures

Take care in making right food choices

Avoid long gaps between meals

Avoid skipping meals. It may lead to hypoglycaemia

Keep some snacks handy

Flying high

Tips for frequent fliers.

Contact airline early about special meal options

Pack necessary medication in hand luggage not check-in baggage

Consult doctor about time zone changes, jet lag and drug/insulin dose

Get travel itinerary showing departure/arrival times and time difference between points of arrival and departure

Keep doctor's letter for Customs officials handy

Prepare a list of suitable foods in advance to ease meal plans

Remember to test your blood glucose level during the flight

Keywords: blood sugardiabetes

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