Healthy Eating In Diabetes
Eating right is important for each of us, but it becomes even more important in persons with Diabetes. In this disease, the ability of the body to handle the glucose gets disturbed. Food that contains carbohydrates breaks down into glucose. In response to this, β cells of the pancreas release insulin, which carries this glucose into the cells for proper utilization, and extra glucose gets deposited in the liver or muscles. So if the carbohydrate load is reduced, the work done by β cells will be decreased, and these cells will be preserved for longer.
The common foods that most of us consume, like chapatti, rice, breads, and biscuits, or foods preferred by our younger population, like pizza, pasta, noodles, fries, or chips, are mainly carbohydrate-rich. Soft drinks and juices are full of sugar. So the simple way is to replace these simple carbohydrates with complex carbohydrates like chapatti made with whole wheat+ black gram + soybean + Jau/ jowar flour, whole-wheat breads, brown rice, replacing starchy vegetables like a potato with sweet potato. Replace soft drinks and juices with coconut water, lemon, vegetable juice, or buttermilk.
Reading the labels of packaged food items is also important, as what is sold as “healthy” may have lots of sugar.
Diabetes is the risk factor for heart disease, stroke, hypertension, kidney diseases, etc., so avoid foods with high saturated fats, Trans fats, cholesterol, and sodium.
A simple formula for eating right is the Diabetes plate method recommended by American Diabetes Association.
Opt for a small plate to eat around 9 inches across.
Divide the plate into two halves. Fill half the plate with nonstarchy vegetables in cooked and uncooked forms. Fill a quarter with a protein-rich item like beans, paneer, tofu, sprouts, chicken, fish, etc. Another quarter should be food rich in complex carbohydrates like brown rice, multigrain chapatti, or starchy vegetables like green peas and fruits.
This meal doesn’t always fit neatly into the sections of the plate, so combination foods can be tried.
Acquire knowledge regarding what to eat and what not to eat is very much accessible to all of us now. What matters more are the behavioral changes in the form of first accepting the disease, understanding the basic underlying science of diabetes, and how the changes in diet shall be helpful for one’s health. Once all these points are clear, the acceptance of the dietary changes increases and is sustainable.