How Do I Eat With Diabetes and Ulcerative Colitis?
How do you deal with dietary requirements for managing diabetes when you are also on a diet for ulcerative colitis? This means no dairy products, no fresh fruit or vegetables, no chocolate, etc. Any ideas? Marilyn Lawrence, Woodridge, Illinois
Sue Robbins, RD, CDE, responds: Ulcerative colitis is difficult to live with, especially if you have diabetes, too. Diet and lifestyle may help you control symptoms and prevent flare-ups.
For starters, limit your dairy products, as you mentioned. Many people with ulcerative colitis are lactose intolerant as well. (Lactose is a sugar that is found in milk.) Cheese and yogurt are generally well tolerated because lactose is broken down in the processing. Adding a dietary supplement that helps you break down lactose is another good idea. Foods with fiber may be problematic as well. If fresh fruits and vegetables aggravate symptoms, try cooking, baking, or stewing them. You'll have to try a variety of vegetables because people vary in what their systems will tolerate. Be cautious of vegetables from the cabbage family. These include broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts, as well as cabbage.
Legumes, spicy foods, alcohol, and caffeine may be irritating. You should also focus on getting adequate protein. Fat may be problematic for your ulcerative colitis, though, so focus on lean meats, like skinless chicken, fish, lean ground beef, pork tenderloin, and egg whites. Take a multivitamin to supplement your diet, too.
Eating small meals may be helpful in balancing both dietary issues. And remember to drink plenty of fluids but to be careful with carbonated beverages. They may cause gas.
If your diet is very limited or you are losing weight, make an appointment with a registered dietitian who can help individualize a meal plan that will work for you.