Sunday, July 13, 2008

Diabetes Diet

There is no such thing as a "diabetic diet."

A balanced diet is recommended. All foods cause a varying insulin response in our bodies. Eat plenty of foods such as green vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and fibre that influence the release of sugar into the bloodstream. Foods that should be avoided are refined sugar, processed food, junk food, pastries, and cookies.

When checking labels, watch out for hidden forms of sugar, such as dextrose, glucose, sucrose, corn sweeteners, fructose, dextrin, lactose, maltose, malt, fruit juice concentrate.

Protein snacks should be eaten in between meals.

Alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine should be avoided.

Foods that are high on the "glycemic index" cause the blood sugar level to rise quickly, than those with a lower rating. Essentially, the glycaemic index is based on how quickly a particular food is digested, metabolized and then released into the bloodstream as glucose.

Higher glycemic index foods are white bread, sweets, packaged foods, pastries, frozen desserts, dried fruit, whole milk, burgers. Lower glycemic index foods are most vegetables, leafy greens, 100% whole grain bread, skim milk, buttermilk, chicken, fish, and many nuts. Many factors go on to influence the glycemic index of a food, such as preparation and consumption method.

Tips for planning a healthy diet for a diabetic patient:

- Eat a variety of foods - A platter of different-coloured foods give you nutrition from all the food groups. Include more of high-fibre foods, such as fruits, leafy green vegetables, and whole grains.

- Limit salt intake - which affects blood pressure. Avoid packaged snack foods, chips, pickles. Sodium intake of no more than 3000 mg per day is suggested. For people with high blood pressure, sodium should be limited to 2400 mg per day or as advised by a physician.

- Avoid saturated fats - like butter, ghee, and cheese. They increase "bad" (LDL) cholesterol. Instead, go for good fats, like omega-3 fats in fish, and vegetable oils made from plants such as groundnut oil, safflower oil etc.

- Eat good quantity of fibre - Rich sources of fibre are whole wheat breads, high-fibre cereals, green vegetables, and fibre supplements such as isabgol. Foods with fibre also help one manage blood sugar level as they reduce the need for insulin and also lower the level of fats in the blood.

- Fix up on portions you eat -. Eat about the same amount of food each day. Do not keep fluctuating your diet, or the quality of meals.

- Do not skip meals. Eat small meals about every four to five hours.

- Eat meals at regular times every day. If you are on a diabetes medicine, eat your meals and take your medicine about the same time each day.

- Include in your diet all foods which you like to eat. Even sweets can be eaten occasionally in moderate amounts. If your diet includes foods that you dislike, or if something you like eating is left out, you're less likely to continue with the meal plan.

A simple diet plan -

A proper diet for a diabetic patient is one that is low in fat and simple sugars, and high in fibre and complex carbohydrates, so that it helps balance the blood sugar and control weight. The goal of a diabetes nutrition plan is to provide a mixture of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins at each meal at an appropriate calorie level to provide both essential nutrients as well as create a smooth release of glucose into the blood.

Choose a diet so that the approximate calories from the various components of the food is as follows:

Proteins - 20 percent

Fats - 20 percent

Carbohydrates - 60 percent

* Diabetics should fill up on leafy vegetables, bitter gourd (Karela), papaya, oranges, lentils, legumes with strings and skin intact, whole grain cereals, pulses, sprouted moong, and 10 to 20 grams of guar ki phali (from cluster beans).

* Eat apples and other fruits which are high in pectin. One can go for a midmorning and afternoon snack of fruit such as apple to keep blood sugar stable.

* Get protein mostly from vegetable sources, such as grains and legumes. Fish and low-fat dairy products (buttermilk, low fat yoghurt, skimmed milk) are also acceptable sources of protein. Try and avoid fatty meat.

* Eat more carbohydrates.

* Do not take large doses of vitamins B1 (thiamine), B3 and C, as excessive amounts may inactivate the insulin. These vitamins should, however, be taken in normal amounts.

Being recommended a diabetic diet is nothing to be frightened of. It is neither a torture nor a nightmare; a little bit of planning and one can make it into a much-looked forward meal. So if diagnosed with diabetes, take it in your daily routine and just pay a little more attention to your diet from now on!

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