Since diabetes is already a global epidemic, it is not surprising to find foods and other supplements ideal for the recipe of a blood sugar patient. However, many physicians will tell you that purchasing such diabetic food products without planning can be detrimental as well. If you don’t look closely, these products could be high in fat, and worse, even expensive.
The chief concern while monitoring and controlling diabetes is to see that the sugar level does not cross the normal range. This means that one needs to cut down on certain types of food and consume regularly those foods, which are good at regulating diabetes.
People with diabetes should try to maintain a healthy weight and eat a diet that is:
- low in fat
- low in sugar
- low in salt
- high in fruit and vegetables (at least five portions a day)
- high in starchy carbohydrate foods, such as bread, chapatti, rice.
There is no such food that people with diabetes should never eat. In addition, there is no need to cut out all sugar. But, people with diabetes should try and eat only small amounts of foods that are high in sugar, fat. So, if you have diabetes you can treat yourself to cakes and biscuits once a blue moon, as part of a balanced diet.
What foods to eat?
- A diabetic patient must eat lots of fruits and vegetables in which fibre content is very high. Such type of food lowers the requirement for insulin, the reason being it releases energy into the body cells slowly. A high fibre diet means more chromium, which is very helpful in the treatment of diabetes.
- As for vegetables, onion, garlic, ginger, radish, spinach, kale, cucumber, carrot, tomato, cabbage and cucumber are excellent in the treatment of diabetes. Moong, kidney beans which have been sprouted, and unripe banana which is cooked, are also recommended.
- Fenugreek seeds which have been soaked in water are good for diabetic patients.
- For fruits, take guava, Indian blackberry (jamun), fig, kiwi fruit, apples, citrus fruits and pomegranate juice. Let these things be a part of your morning breakfast. Since, fruit juice is high in fructose (fruit sugar) and can cause blood sugar levels to rise quickly, it’s best for diabetics to drink fruit juice with a meal and avoid having more than one small glass a day.
- Replace white sugar with palm sugar, dates and honey, if you want to have something sweet.
- Unpolished rice, sprouted grain should be taken in moderate quantity.
- Fats like olive oil and peanut oil are good in diabetes.
- Drink plenty of water, at least 8 to 10 glasses per day.
- Single helping of fish or seafood, as it provides omega 3 fatty acids.
- Condiments such as pepper, chilli, mustard, herbs and spices.
- Raw vegetables need to be taken in large quantity, as cooked food raises the level of blood sugar fast.
- Eat non-fat dairy such as skim milk, non-fat yogurt and non-fat cheese, plain yoghurt, avoid cottage cheese a sit is high in carbohydrates.
- Some herbs and vegetables are specifically prescribed for diabetes, like Bitter Gourd and bitter melon juice.
What to avoid?
- Processed foods, white sugar, white flour and junk food, must be totally given up. Avoid sweets, glucose, fruit sugar, cakes, ice cream, chocolates, soft drinks, cream and fried foods.
- Anything that contains harmful preservatives and too much salt should be avoided.
- Avoid smoking and alcohol.
- Try and abstain from sweets, ice-creams and chocolates, including the so-called sugar-free types.
- Foods made from white flour, rye, corn, polished rice, bread, pasta, pastry, cakes, biscuits, pies.
- Starchy vegetables such as potatoes in particular; and go easy with beet, carrots, peas, beans.
- Avoid concentrated dairy products, such as khoya, kheer, cheese, cottage cheese.
- Fruits such as bananas, mango, grapes, strawberry, custard apple, date.
- Cottage cheese (except in small amounts)
- Avoid commercially packaged foods such as fast foods, chips, ready-to-eat foods, snack foods and “health foods.”
- Fruit juices, as these are much higher in carbohydrates than fresh fruit. Moreover, they also lack in dietary fibre.
When on a diabetic diet, you should stay away from red meats, eggs, as well as whole-milk dairy products. Diabetic diets work better when the dairy in your life comes from low-fat or fat-free selections.
10-20% of your daily calories on a diabetic diet should come from proteins in foods, such as lean meat, fish, and low-fat dairy products. The rest of a diabetic diet should consist of carbohydrates coming from whole grains, beans, as well as fresh vegetables and fruit.
Overall, there is no official diabetic diet to follow and it really depends on the individual diabetic. If you are able to work closely with a dietician, doctor, or nutritionist, you will be able to find a balance within your diabetic diet and exercise routine.