Healthy Eating

Important aspect of management of diabetes and one of the most important lifestyle modification is diabetes is healthy eating. It is not different from the normal dietary routine. The nutritional requirements of the person with diabetes are same as for a non-diabetic. It is advised to eat a healthy balanced diet that is low in sugar, fat and salt. High fiber fruits and vegetables are recommended. There are many different tips and strategies when it comes to making changes in what you eat. Even small changes can make a huge difference in managing diabetes.

Another important fact in healthy eating is what you eat, how you and when you eat will also impact the blood sugar levels. Food items from different food groups contain different nutrient items. In appropriate amount these nutrients can benefit your body in different ways. Nutrients include carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins as well as minerals. A balanced diet is the combination of all nutrients.

Carbohydrates constitute about 55-60% of total calories in Indian food, 15-20% is derived from proteins and the remaining calorie intake of the body is from fats which is around 20-25%. Vitamins and Minerals are required in small amounts and are essential as protective factors for the body.

What you should Eat

  • Eat Fiber:

    It is an important part of the diet and is present in cereals, legumes, fruits and vegetables. Intake of 25 g of fiber per 1000 calories is considered to be optimum in diet. Increase fiber intake in your diet by including variety of green leafy vegetables in the form of salads, fruits, bran cereals, dried beans and peas, wholegrain breads etc. They help in maintaining body weight and blood sugar level.

  • Restrict Simple sugars :

    Foods which contain high amount of sugars like jelly, jam, cakes, pastries, candies, honey sweet biscuits, soft drinks, fruit juices, Jaggery and sweets should be completely avoided. These Foods should make up only a small part of the diet. However, small amounts of these foods can be a part of a healthy diet, even for people who have diabetes. Learn how to fit the sweets you enjoy into your overall plan.

    • Reduce Salt Intake :
      Try to restrict the limit of salt intake in your daily food items. Daily intake of salt should not be more than 5gm.
    • Here are ways to cut down on salt intake:
      o Avoid processed food items like bakery products
      o Avoid canned, boxed or frozen foods with extra salt.
      o Avoid papad, pickle and chutneys
      o Use herbs, spice and salt- free seasoning mixes for added flavor, instead of salt.
  • Restrict high fatty foods :

    One should eat less amount of saturated fats (Vanaspati Ghee, Butter, animal fats Etc) as they tend to increase your cholesterol levels and affect your heart. Saturated fats needs to be taken in less quantity as compared to PUFA (Poly Unsaturated fatty oils) which includes Sunflower oil, Safflower oil and MUFA (Mono Unsaturated Fatty oils) which includes Palm oil, Olive oil etc. Restrict the fried food items like Vada Pav, Samosa, Kachori, Pakoda and Puri and they are high in calories and cholesterol.

  • Moderate Your Alcohol Intake and Avoid Smoking :

    Alcohol can dangerously lower blood sugar in people with diabetes who take insulin or diabetes pills. If is not advisable to drink alcohol, talk to your doctor or dietitian about how to drink it safely and in what proportion. Pregnant women should not drink any alcoholic beverages. Red wine is generally preferred occasionally on the advise of your doctor.

  • Have lots of fluids :

    Have atleast 8-10 glasses of water everyday throughout the day. Fruit juices and cold drinks needs to be avoided instead of it lime water is preferred.

  • Read Food Labels :

    Inculcate a habit of reading food labels on each packaged food product. They give the complete nutritional information of food items like calories, carbohydrates, proteins and fats etc per 100gms.