There is a lot of myth and half baked information out there on the internet about diabetes food charts and menu planning. Diabetes, as you perhaps know already, is a metabolic condition where the body is unable to manage the carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates are released into the bloodstream as glucose, and for a person with diabetes, the body is unable to bring the blood glucose level below the maximum permissible level.
Many people stop eating carbohydrates as a way to manage their blood glucose levels. Some resort to food choices that may bring down the blood glucose, but may be adding up a lot of calories and ends up increasing triglycerides!
Here are a few do’s and don’ts about your diabetic food plate!
Honey for diabetes
Honey is definitely a healthier option than table sugar, because it contains antioxidants, minerals and few vitamins. So is Jaggery! However, both honey and jaggery are to be avoided if you are diabetic. All the three – table sugar, honey and jaggery are very high in glycemic index, which means they are immediately released to the blood as glucose, there by spiking blood glucose levels.
We have seen many diabetic people, also on a path of weight loss having green tea and using honey as a sweetener.
If you are diabetic and would like to still have something sweet or a tea or coffee with a bit of sugar, then try sugar free or artificial sweeteners. Stevia is yet another option that you can try, if you want something organic
Brown rice for diabetes
Yes! Brown rice has comparatively more fiber and a slight amount of protein as compared to the white rice. Hence, all things being equal, brown rice is better than white rice. That does not mean you need to stop eating white rice if you like it better!
White rice with enough green leafy vegetables, and a portion of protein like egg, meat, pulses etc is a much better option than say, brown rice with sambar and curd!
Our body understands food as a whole during digestion, and it is the combined fiber and protein content that decide the glycemic index of the food you have eaten. In short – you do not have to eat something that you do not like just because you are diabetic
Brown bread for diabetes
Similar to the white rice vs brown rice conundrum is the white bread vs broad bread debate. The brown bread is multigrain and has the husk and the germ of the seed and hence is more nutritious and has more fiber and slight amounts of protein.
As explained earlier, the combined protein and fiber intake can be improved even with white bread, if had along with vegetables and protein.
Besides, thanks to easy mass manufacturing, some of the brown bread in the market is nothing but white bread mixed with some caramel for colouring
Chapati for diabetes
This is yet another commonly misunderstood option. Wheat has a low glycemic index as compared to rice and hence the glucose release to blood is much slower. However, as earlier mentioned, it is always the combined glycemic index of the whole food that matters. With some amount of commonsensical planning, you can still manage the blood glucose level to a great extend
Diabetic Cookies and Biscuits
Such cookies and biscuits are made without sugar and instead sugar free is used. While this definitely will make sure that the blood sugar does not increase, they are often laden with fat calories. The total calorie intake will be higher in such cases and leading to many other issues like high cholesterol, high triglycerides etc
Next time when you buy a cookie, do check the calorie composition and look for the total calories.
Diabetes Food to eat
So what exactly should be the food plan for a diabetic person? Here is a sensible way of planning your food plate if you are diabetic
- 50% of half of your plate should be vegetables! It can be in the form of curry, fried vegetables, salad, sabzi etc. Avoid too much oil if you are frying it and also reduce coconut milk/coconut paste if you are making a curry/gravy format. Avoid starchy and tuberous food like – potato, yam, colocasia, radish, chinese potato etc. Also avoid corn and baby corn
- 25% of the plate, i.e one-fourth has to be protein based such as egg, egg whites, fish, chicken, etc. Try to include lean meat, i.e meat lower in fat and higher in protein such as chicken, turkey, etc. Reduce the intake of red-meat like mutton, beef etc. For vegetarians, the protein sources can be soy chunks, dal, lentils, pules, paneer, tofu etc
- The remaining 25% of the plate can be carbs such as cereals, rice, chapati, bread, etc.
A word of caution –
Before increasing the protein intake, it is advisable to check the Renal Function test (Creatinine) and also the urine micro-albumin. This is especially important if the person has been diabetic for a long duration, impacting kidney leading to more serious diabetic-nephropathy. In such cases, protein intake has to be managed and should be done only based on your doctors inputs.
About NuvoVivo –
NuvoVivo is an online health and fitness company and we help our clients anywhere in the world become healthy through our 3-month diet and exercise programs. We help them lose body fat, pack some muscles and manage lifestyle disorders such as diabetes, cholesterol, thyroid, pcod, fatty liver, uric, hypertension etc!