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Diet and diabetes

To live a long and healthy life with Diabetes,  following diet and exercise are very important along with medication. Diabetic diet is not different from normal diet; however some modifications need to be done for the normal diet

Dietary Guidelines

  1. Eat more Vegetables: Eat more locally available and seasonal vegetables. Take them as curry, raita, and in raw form. Include green leafy vegetables regularly in the diet. Vegetables; contain fibre and many vitamins and minerals which are helpful in control of diabetes and to maintain good health.
  2. Eat variety of foods: for better control of blood sugar instead of using only rice include other grains like wheat, jowar, ragi or unpolished; rice in the diet, eating only white rice is not going to help to control Blood sugar.
  3. More of whole Grains: Include whole dals like moong dal and channa dal in everyday diet.
  4. Use less oil: Diabetic person is at higher risk of hear disease, it is advisable o reduce the consumption of oil for cooking. Restricted amount of oil for cooking and not preparing the vegetables in fried forms will help to consume less amount of oil. Traditionally used oils like groundnut and gingelly oil are good for health.  Ghee, butter, coconut oil contain different type of fats, (which may increase cholesterol) and should be taken in small quantities.
  5. Use less salt: usually Indian diet is rich in salt, especially when using pickles, papad and adding more salt to food is quite common.  Normally people with diabetes may also get Hypertension (B.P) and it is better to restrict the intake of pickles, papad and adding less salt while cooking food.
  6. Use of Eggs/ Non veg: Fish contains special type of oil which helps in blood sugar management, so consumption of fish is encouraged 3-4 times a week. Chicken also contain less fat than meat
  7. Simple sugars: Certain food increase blood sugar and sometime can cause health problems if taken in excess and without proper medical care, especially items like sweets, coffee / tea with more sugar or honey.  Some fruits also contain simple sugars in excess, like banana, mango, sapota, seethaphal, jack fruit and it is preferable to take less quantity of these fruits or avoid them. Take fruits but not fruit juices.
  8. Dietary Fibre: Dietary fibre is that part of food which is not digested by the body. Fibre present in vegetables, fruits, legumes and fenugreek seeds are effective in controlling blood sugar and also helps in reducing cholesterol
  9. Alcohol: Diabetic patients should avoid alcohol completely. Alcohol may lower the blood sugar. Remember Alcohol should never be taken with some anti diabetic drugs as it may make the diabetic very ill.

Wrong beliefs

There is a common belief that diabetics cannot eat rice and they can eat only wheat. This is not true. Both wheat and rice have almost same calories and same effect on blood sugar. But the advantage with wheat or roti is that it is quite convenient to count as well as to reduce the number of chapathis they eat, than to measure rice and eat.

Total Fasting is not good for those who are diabetic especially when on treatment it may lead to drop in blood sugar and health problems.

Diet Schedule

MealTypical DietModified for diabetics
Breakfast 8.00 A.M1 cup of coffee with buffalo milk 4 idlis or 1 plate upma with coconut chutney1 cup of coffee with cows/ Toned milk 3 idlils or 1 cup upma with more vegetables, 2 table spoons chutney(tomato or dhal chutney)
Lunch 12.30 P.M3 cups of white rice, 1 cup dal, I cup rasam, ½ cup brinjal fry, 1 cup curd, pickle, papad2 cups of brown rice, 1 cup sambar, 1 cup rasam,1 cup of brinjal; pulusu, fresh chutney prepared with vegetables and less oil.
Afternoon 3.30 P.M2 murukkus/Bhajji/pakoda 1 cup coffee1 cup murmura / chudwa / boiled moong 1 cup coffee
Dinner 8P.M3 cups of rice, 1 serving of fish/chicken, I cup of; dal, fried veg, I cup of curd, pickle, papad. 1 banana.2 cups of brown rice/ 3 rotis/1 serving of fish/chicken, 1 cup of vegetable curry 1 cup of curd. 1 orange

Advice on Cooking

  1. Use less oil for cooking, do not prepare fried vegetables like aloo fry, brinjal fry: instead prepare brinjal curry/ pulusu etc
  2. Instead of using pickles, use vegetable chutney with less oil and salt.
  3. Instead of using buffalo milk for the preparation of curd and coffee, use cows / toned milk.  If they are not available remove the cream to set the curds.
  4. Use less of fried papad.

Home remedies

We know there is no permanent cure for Diabetes, it can only be managed. Using home remedies is helpful in controlling blood sugar.  With regular medicines, these home remedies are included in the diet.

Food itemHow to take
Amla (usiri)fresh ones or dried powder with water
Fenugreek seeds (menthulu)Leaves and seeds, in case of seeds soak them in overnight.
Bitter gourd (kakara kaya)¼ cup of juice or cooked vegetables
Onion (ulligadda)take them in raw form or as raita regularly
Garlic (vellulli)Fresh(crushed) , use them in food preparations
Black jamun (neredu)Fruit or seed powder

Simple and easy way to control blood sugar levels is following plate method

plate method (diet and diabetes)

Source: International Diabetes Federation (IDF) ; National Institute of Nutrition (NIN)



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