Over the past few years, India has witnessed a surge in the number of diabetic patients. This is due to erratic eating habits, lack of physical activities, unbalanced lifestyle and more stress. According to research, out of 15 people, 1 person has diabetes. Diabetes mellitus or “madhumeh” has been known for centuries as a sugar-related disease. In other words, diabetes is a metabolic disorder characterized by high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) over a prolonged period.
In diabetes, either the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin or what is produced is not effective in controlling blood sugar. The lack of effective insulin leads to improper use and a consequent increase in blood sugar. This affects the metabolism of several nutrients, with varying adverse effects.
Symptoms often include frequent urination, increased thirst, increased appetite, sudden increase or decrease in weight, extreme fatigue, sores that do not heal. If left untreated, diabetes can lead to many health complications. Untreated high blood sugar from diabetes can damage your nerves, eyes, kidneys, and other organs.
1. A common and mistaken belief is that diabetes can be cured by medication, but the fact is that diabetes is a progressive disease or disorder. It can be controlled with the help of medication, by following a healthy lifestyle regime like yoga, meditation, exercise, healthy eating at the right time with proper proportions of carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
2. Eating too much sugar, candy, sweet food, mithai and ice cream can cause diabetes. This is not true because it is not directly related to sugar consumption, but it is very affected by the diet we eat in general, our lifestyle, genetics and obesity.
3. There is a huge misconception that Indian staple foods contain high amount of carbohydrates and sugar so that one cannot maintain a healthy lifestyle and cannot control blood sugar. On the contrary, there are plenty of SUPERFOODS that help manage your blood sugar.
4. A common myth about diabetics is that they can only eat wheat and not rice. It’s not true. Wheat and rice have an almost similar glycemic index and raise blood sugar to a similar extent. Therefore, it does not matter whether one takes wheat or rice as long as the total amount is limited. As many diabetics find it more practical to count as well as reduce the number of chapattis they eat than to measure the amount of rice they consume.
5. The person with diabetes should limit carbohydrates. It is recognized that carbohydrates should not be restricted and that the normal Indian diet, which provides 60-65% of calories from carbohydrates, is suitable for diabetics. High carbohydrate diets improve insulin action. The type of carbs we eat directly affects blood sugar levels, rather than the amount of carbs in the diet. Complex carbohydrates found in grains and legumes are better for diabetics than sweets containing simple sugars.
6. Eating bitter substances like karela, neem methi dana will reduce blood sugar level. But, the fact is that bitter substances have a minimal effect on blood sugar. Taking too much can cause serious gastritis problems.
7. Another mistaken belief is that if one eats less, blood sugar can be controlled easily. But, the fact is that if one eats less, one can feel weak, lethargic, which can hamper your daily activities or can lead to low blood sugar and lead to diabetic coma or loss of consciousness.
8. The diabetic diet is the same for everyone and one can follow the same diet. Everyone has a different body and therefore the dietary requirements are different from those of other members of your family. Not all diabetic diets are suitable for everyone. You should consult your dietitian before starting and consult a diabetes diet chart. This helps keep your blood sugar levels healthy and provide nutrients to fuel your body.
Nutritional management of diabetes
A healthy diet is a central part of diabetes management. In some cases, changing your diet may be enough to control the disorder. There is no doubt that dietary treatment and nutritional management is one of the cornerstones and one of the pillars in the management of all types of diabetes mellitus, it basically means educating the diabetic to follow the dietary advice and treatment. The goals of diet therapy are to maintain and prolong a healthy, productive, and satisfying life. Tailoring dietary therapy to the specific needs of each patient is essential. Here are some dietary tips:
1. Total calories should be limited in most people, especially if they are overweight. They require a lower calorie diet than normal (1400 to 1660 calories). Of this number, carbohydrates should make up between 60-65% of the total calories in the diet, unrefined carbohydrates and high fiber foods should be included given its many benefits.
2. Protein should be 15-20% of the total calories in the diet. Foods high in concentrated protein in large amounts can be avoided.
3. Fat should be 15-20% of total calorie intake with 1/3rdas mono unsaturated, 1/3rd as polyunsaturated and 1/3rd as saturated as it was deemed useful to include the advantages of each of them.
4. Fine sugars and rapidly absorbed sugars (sucrose and glucose) can be avoided or eliminated to avoid metabolic excursions, except in cases of low sugar, ie hypoglycemia.
5. Dietary fiber, approximately 27-40g, may be beneficial for maintaining gastrointestinal function and for treating or preventing several mild gastrointestinal disorders related to diabetes.
6. Emphasize more seasonal vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins such as poultry and fish, nuts and seeds.
7. Eat small frequent meals, every 2-3 hours take something.
8. Have healthy snacks like roasted peanuts, makhana, channa, dhokla, sprouted salad, lobia or channa salad.
9. Take plenty of fluids in the form of fresh coconut water, green tea, fresh lime soda, clear soups, buttermilk, shakes, sugar free smoothies.
10. Limit your consumption of alcohol and tobacco.
11. Avoid eating junk food like pizza, burgers, noodles, hot dogs, sausages, etc.
12. Avoid consuming canned juices, canned soups, squash as they contain artificial flavoring agents, sugar and preservatives.
13. Don’t skip breakfast. Your body becomes vulnerable to metabolic disorders by skipping meals, especially breakfast. This causes your body to gain weight and disrupts insulin function.
14. Yoga and meditation help you overcome physiological fluctuations.
Diabetes management focuses on keeping blood sugar as close to normal. The main ways of treating diabetes are healthy diet, exercise, walking, proper medication and education. Diabetics can lead a normal life provided they make certain changes in their lifestyle, including their diet. Healthy eating habits can keep your blood sugar levels within a normal range. Diabetics should maintain blood sugar and lipid levels above normal limits to prevent acute and long-term complications.