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Type 2 diabetes – a chronic condition whereby blood sugar levels are often unstable – can be fiendishly difficulty to manage at Christmas time. That’s because the temptation to gorge on unhealthy dietary items is greater than usual. Diet plays an integral role in managing blood sugar levels and lapsing into bad dietary habits can make the job a lot harder.
One of the most important yet lesser-known dietary tips to follow on Christmas day is to stop eating by 8pm, according to Dr Michael Mosley, founder of FAST 800.
From 8pm onwards, do not eat anything with calories, he advises.
As Dr Mosley points out, the gravest temptation is obviously cheese and biscuits – the evening staple.
As he explains to the Express.co.uk, although the idea that cheese will give you nightmares is a complete and utter myth, it will pile on the calories late at night.
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“And we know the fat and sugar you eat late at night, it just hangs around in your system for much, much longer because your body is just closed down for night,” Dr Mosley warns.
To make matters worse, your digestive process will be closing down, and it really will not appreciate that late night snack, he said.
Calorie restriction on Christmas is no small feat but Dr Mosley does provide some ways around it.
“I think you might do something like time restricted eating, particularly ending your evening meal earlier,” he says.
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“Typically, what we do is we have a kind of reasonably big Christmas lunch, go for a longish walk, do some exercise, and then have a sort of very light evening meal, which is sort of leftovers and then play lots of vigorous Christmas games running around,” said Dr Mosley.
Why specifically is late night snacking so risky if you have type 2 diabetes?
If you have diabetes, late-night snacks aren’t necessarily off-limits — but it’s important to make healthy choices.
As the Mayo Clinic points out, late-night snacks add extra calories, which can lead to weight gain.
“And, if you snack after your evening meal — especially on foods with carbohydrates — you may wake up the next morning with a high blood sugar level,” the health body warns.
“If you’re feeling hungry after dinner, try drinking a glass of water first,” it suggests.
How long does it take to undo the effects of an indulgent Christmas day?
According to Dr Mosley, you can consume anything up to three to 4,000 calories in total on Christmas day, which is probably about at least 2,000 more than you need.
But, as he points out, it’s the build-up to Christmas that can be tricky.
“You start eating lots of chocolates in the build up to Christmas and a lot of alcohol as well, which has lots of calories,” says Dr Mosley.
“So I think you could certainly undo the damage in a couple of days of restricting your calories.”
Type 2 diabetes – what are the symptoms?
Many people have type 2 diabetes without realising – this is because symptoms do not necessarily make you feel unwell.
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:
- Peeing more than usual, particularly at night
- Feeling thirsty all the time
- Feeling very tired
- Losing weight without trying to
- Itching around your penis or vagina, or repeatedly getting thrush
- Cuts or wounds taking longer to heal
- Blurred vision.
See a GP if you have any of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes or you’re worried you may have a higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes, advises the NHS.
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