How to Eat Right If You Are a Diabetic

May 15, 2008

Diabetes doesn’t stop you from eating….it wants you to eat right!

It seems that the number of diabetic specialists are rising with the disease to such an extent that each and every person that you know has probably given you some advice on eating habits in this condition. This has influenced you to such an extent that you now seem to hide the fact that you are a diabetic when talking to others.

Diabetes is not a disease; it is a condition where the glucose metabolism is affected. Hence as long as we can control the glucose level in the blood, all foods are right for the patient. What is more important is that we need to eat at regular intervals so that the food ingested is metabolised well before the next meal is taken. This calls for divided meals, at least five in a day.  A diabetic cannot survive with just lunch and dinner.

Diabetes can be type 1 or type 2. However, type 2 diabetes is more common where the receptors accepting insulin hormone lose sensitivity for the same and the sugar metabolism goes on a toss. This is because the glucose formed after the digestion of sugars and carbohydrates now cant be consumed by the cells as the transporter is unavailable. Hence, as a broad line sugars and starch are to be avoided for all diabetics to avoid sugar load in the blood and to ease the metabolism.

Whether to eat fruits and consume fruit juices is a question with variable answers. I would mention the most scientific rationale, which has nothing against consuming fresh fruits as long as you don’t gorge on them. Fresh fruits have fructose which is a natural sugar easily metabolized by the body. Moreover the fibre content in natural fruits helps in metabolism. However, the sugar content in some fruits like bananas, grapes and mangos is so much that they can give rise to peaks in blood sugar level, hence they can be had occasionally by a moderately diabetic patient. However, a banana is much better than a scoop of ice cream.

On the other hand, citrus fruits are very favourable in this condition and could be consumed liberally. What happens in practical life is that a patient zeroes down on sugars of all kind and then after a week or so craves for sugar as his tongue goes sour. He then gives up the meal plan and gorges on ice cream and pies which raise the blood sugar levels enormously. Instead, if the patient consumes a fruit everyday, the sugar control would be much better.

There are a few food items which are specially suited for diabetics like ginseng, jamun, bitter gourd, cinnamon,  aloe vera and magnesium. As a rule, where ever possible the entire fruit or vegetable should be consumed to take in fibre in addition to the nutrients. However, due to less palatability, juices may be consumed.

Eat Well , and take care…

- Gunjan

Additional Reading

11 Beneficial Yoga Asanas for Type 2 Diabetes!

Home Remedies and Ayurvedic Treatment for Diabetes

Medicinal Plants: Salacia in the Management of Diabetes

Skipping Breakfast Increases Diabetes Risk in Kids

6 Crucial Tests You Must Do If You Have Diabetes

The Current State of Diabetes Mellitus in India

Diabetic Diet

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