The Best Diabetes Diet for the Diabetic People | What to Eat and What to Avoid in Diabetes?

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Written By Afroze Gul

Skimming through several medical files in the Neurology ward, diabetes and hypertension were the most common diseases my pen had scribbled over the last few months.  Every day I had to make several diet plans focused on diabetes. Being a nutritionist, I attended to the dietary needs of several patients after going through their medical files and taking their detailed medical history. However, switching from the Neurology Department to the Surgery Department strengthened my view that people need to be educated regarding the diabetes diet. The diabetic foot- the open and leaking sores on the patient’s feet developed due to prolonged periods of high blood sugar levels- is one of the many reasons that a diabetic needs to be aware of the right food choices for him. Some patients with diabetes are at more risk than others leading to the surgical removal of the toe, foot, or part of a leg due to their high blood sugar levels. “We wish we had known earlier how to control diabetes by changing the diet and the lifestyle’’, said many diabetic patients in the Surgical Ward.

Thus, this blog comprehensively discusses the simple yet effective dietary and lifestyle changes that have helped my several clients deal with diabetes.  The following blog aims at helping you understand what to eat and what to avoid in the diabetes diet. So, you may not be among the many patients that regret not taking care of themselves.

What Kinds of Carbohydrates are Included and Avoided in the Diabetes Diet?

When South Asians think of controlling their carbohydrates, they tend to switch to soups and salads. It is not the healthiest choice. South Asians have been blessed with one of the most nutritious cuisines and have a wide variety of carbohydrates from which they can choose. Followings foods having carbohydrates should be included in the diet to control diabetes:

  1. Fruits :
  • Eat almost all fruits.
  • Limit the use of bananas, mangoes, and dates. Only limit them. Do not eliminate them from your diet.
  • Use watermelon in moderation.

2.  Are Fresh Fruit Juices Good For Diabetes?

  • Understand that one glass of fresh juice is made of almost four-five fruits or more.
  • So, limit the use of fresh fruit juices.
  • If you want to drink fresh juice, grind one seasonal fruit with one glass of water.
  • Do not add sugar to it.
  • You may add sugar, lemon juice, and salt.
  • Avoid bottled juices and powdered drinks.

3.  Vegetables to Eat:

  • Use green vegetables more often.
  • Eat sweet potatoes, raw carrots, and almost all vegetables.

4.  Vegetables to Limit:

  • Limit the use of potatoes, turnips (shaljam), Arwi, and deep-fried vegetables.

5.   Flours and Cereals to Eat to Control Diabetes:

  • Use whole wheat flour (chakki ka atta), barley flour (jo ka atta), whole cornflour (makai ka atta), or gram flour (chane ka atta).
  • You may use any of the above.
  • You may combine 1 part barley flour (jo ka atta) with two parts whole wheat flour (chakki ka atta).
  • Use sagudana, barley, or wheat porridge for breakfast.
  • Reduce the portion sizes of brown rice.
  • Use bran rusk, traditionally known as “Choker ke rus.”
  • Use bran bread.
  • Eat popcorns that are not commercially packaged.
  • Eat corn on the cob (sitta).

6.  Flours to Avoid:

  • Avoid white bread, refined rice, and flour.

 7.  Avoid Sweets and Junk Food:

  • Avoid sweets, canned food, mithai, desserts, and bakery items.
  • Avoid cold drinks.
  • To satisfy your sweet craving, have kheer with a moderate amount of brown sugar.

What Kinds of Proteins are Included in the Diabetes Diet?

In contrast to the general misconception, there is no strong evidence to suggest that plant protein is more beneficial than animal protein. Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, and milk products contain all the essential amino acids, and diabetic people should emphasize these protein sources of high biological value.

  1. Plant-Based Proteins for Diabetes:
  • Consume kidney beans (lobia), chickpeas (chane), lentils, and legumes (daal).

2.  Dairy Products for Diabetes:

  • Use Low-fat dairy.
  • Stain fresh milk before drinking.
  • Use homemade yogurt.
  • Use stained milk to make homemade low-fat yogurt.

3.   Animal Protein for Diabetes:

  • Use fish and poultry.
  • Do not deep fry.
  • Remove all the visible fat from beef and lamb.
  • Use eggs in any form.
  • Avoid frying eggs.

What Kind of Fats are Limited in the Diabetes Diet?

  • Limit intake of saturated fats– solid or almost solid at room temperature- by cutting back on processed and fast foods, beef, lamb, and full-fat dairy products.
  • To limit the intake of fat, try replacing lamb and beef with beans, legumes, nuts, poultry, and fish whenever possible.
  • Limit the intake of fat by replacing full-fat dairy foods with low-fat dairy products.
  • Eliminate trans fats, such as margarine and packaged butter.
  • Limit the use of raisins.

What Kinds of Fats are Included in the Diabetes Diet?

  • Eat almonds, peanuts, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, etc.
  • Replace commercial cooking oils with Mustard oil, Extra Virgin Olive oil, Coconut Oil, or Sunflower oil.
  • Consume flax seeds, basil seeds, chia seeds, or sesame seeds.

Why You Should Eat Fish, Nuts, Oils, and Seeds in the Diabetes Diet?

Fish, nuts, oils, and seeds are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. Observational studies have found that these have beneficial effects on lipoproteins, prevent heart disease, and are associated with positive health outcomes in diabetic people. So,  individuals with diabetes should use foods containing omega-3 fatty acids and omega-3 linolenic acid.

Is the Nutritional Intervention Same for Every Type of Diabetes?

The body gets sugar from food. When the body can not process it efficiently, high blood sugar accumulates in the bloodstream, and diabetes occurs.

In type 1 diabetes, the body does not make enough insulin or stops making it.

Contrarily, type 2 diabetes occurs when the body’s cells do not respond to insulin. It is a hormone that enables the cells to use glucose for energy. In the absence of insulin, glucose does not get into the cells and stays in the bloodstream. So, the blood sugar levels rise in both cases.

Another type of diabetes is gestational diabetes that occurs during pregnancy and is resolved after birth. But it needs to be well-controlled during pregnancy to avoid complications.

Also, an individual can have pre-diabetes having a high blood sugar level but not high enough to be called diabetic. A pre-diabetic individual is at greater risk of type 2 diabetes.

Moreover, the general nutritional guidelines to prevent or control the types of diabetes are more or less the same.

 In a nutshell, it is important to emphasize healthy eating to control diabetes and prevent the risks that come along with it. The above-mentioned general guidelines are important for changing your lifestyle and dietary habits. However, only a dietitian can recommend appropriate portion sizes, advise on suitable alternatives, and help you determine the best diet plan for diabetes according to its type.

About Miss Afroze Gul

Afroze Gul is an experienced nutritionist from Pakistan. She effectively creates personalized diet plans, as well as conducts comprehensive nutrition counselling for Weight Loss, Obesity, Malnutrition, Diabetes, PCOS, Cardiac Diseases, Hypertension, Chronic Kidney Diseases, Pediatric Nutrition, Prenatal and Postnatal Nutrition, Dialysis, etc. Having done Masters in Food and Nutrition, she has a profound interest in writing about health and beauty, wellness, lifestyle, cooking, and breaking nutrition myths as she aims to empower society via blogging.

Let’s connect with Miss Afroze Gul because she has the best diet plan you are looking for
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