Diet is an integral part of diabetes management. Dilemmas around diet are among the most common questions asked by diabetics. Have you too wondered what you can include in your daily diet to win over high sugar levels? Let us decode the secret of diabetic diet for you.
So, whether you’re trying to manage diabetes or are planning to eat healthy, your nutritional requirements mostly remain the same. However, you may need to pay a little more attention to your food choices whether they are carbs, proteins, fats or processed foods. And at the same time make sure all your nutritional needs are met either through diet or supplements.
There is no need to add any special foods to your meal plan or emit any foods from your diet as the rule is quite simple — opt for a balanced diet.
If you are a diabetic and are wondering what your diet should consist of, then here is a quick sneak peak on what the diet of a diabetic should be to keep their blood glucose level under control.
Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates have the most impact on your blood glucose level, so the first and foremost goal in the management of diabetes is to pick the right carbs and regulate its intake through diet. This is the reason the diet of diabetics should comprise complex carbohydrates rather than simple carbs and foods which have low glycemic index (GI). Unlike simple carbs which cause instant release of glucose in the blood, complex carbs aid in slow and sustained release of glucose into the blood helping to maintain blood glucose levels in the body.
1. Choose roti instead of rice as rice has higher glycemic index (GI) than roti and will cause a more rapid and instant spike in blood sugar levels.
2. If you can’t think of anything but rice in your meal, then opt for brown rice instead of white rice as it has more fibre and low GI.
3. Choose multigrain atta as it is rich in fibre content.
4. You can even mix wholewheat flour, bajra flour or chickpea flour together and use it to make rotis for added flavours and nutrition.
Proteins: Proteins form a major part in the diet of a diabetic as they can increase insulin response without increasing the glucose levels in the blood. Ideally, it is recommended that people with diabetes should opt for proteins which are high-fibre content to meet their nutritional needs.
1. Make sure 15-20% of the daily calories should come from proteins.
2. A glass of skimmed milk is what you need to start your day with to ensure a good amount of proteins.
3. Consume raw vegetables and unprocessed grains as they are high in fibre as well as protein content.
4. Stock your kitchen with different varieties of pulses such as green gram, red gram, black gram, bengal gram and lentils.
5. Include low-fat dairy, lean meats or legumes rich in protein in every meal.
6. If planning to take protein supplements to boost your protein intake, then opt for sugar-free health foods or drinks.
Fats: Unlike popular belief, fats are an essential part of a balanced diet as they aid in the absorption of vitamins and minerals and are also essential for brain development. However, it is the quality of the fats rather than the quantity which should be taken into account when it comes to eating healthy. Consuming foods that are high in fats can not only induce insulin resistance but also promote weight gain, which in turn is a known risk factor for diabetes and poor diabetes management.
1. Eat nuts if you are hungry to curb your mid-morning or evening cravings. Opt for unsalted dry fruits and nuts for snacks as they help fill you up while keeping your blood sugar low.
2. Instead of using only a specific type of oil, it is advised to use a blend of different types of oils for cooking.
3. Say NO to deep-fried foods and do not use olive oil for deep-frying as it has a low-heating point. Use it only in salads.
4. Avoid processed foods as these are loaded with unhealthy fats, sugar, and salt.
Fruits & Vegetables: Having diabetes doesn’t mean you can’t have fruits. Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants and are also low in calories, which make them a perfect addition to every meal. However, you need to include the ones that have a low glycemic index to make sure your blood glucose level remains in control.
1. Pick low-carb fruits like apples, strawberries, oranges and melons.
2. Check the portion size of fruits high in GI index such as bananas and mangoes.
3. Make sure to choose fresh supplies instead of packaged or canned ones.
4. Prefer whole fruits and veggies (in the form of salads) over fruit or vegetable juice to control diabetes. Juices lack the fibers and have concentrated fruit sugars.
5. Do not have fruits post meals as it can lead to a sudden spike in the blood glucose level.
Vitamins & Minerals: These are the essential micronutrients that play a key role in glucose metabolism. Lack of these nutrients could make supplementation necessary to manage and prevent diabetes-related complications. Due to abnormal glucose metabolism in diabetics, there is an excess production of free radicals, which can cause a deficiency of vitamins such as A, C, and E, which are potent antioxidants. Lack of minerals can impair glucose metabolism, raising the risk of health complications.
1. Intake of antioxidants such as Vitamin C/Vitamin E either through natural food sources or through supplements, can help to prevent the risk of diabetic complications.
2. Minerals such as calcium, zinc, magnesium can help regulate glucose levels and prevent diabetic complications.
3. If your diet fails to provide the necessary vitamins/supplements, then supplementation either in the form of health drinks or food is recommended.
4. Before you start using any supplements, keep in mind that certain supplements might interfere with your diabetes medications, so consult your doctor.
Diabetes is one of the common lifestyle disorders that should not be taken lightly. However, making simple changes in your food habits and dietary pattern can help you to manage the condition in a better way.