World Diabetes Day 2022: Diet plan for diabetic patients to maintain blood sugar

Updated on Nov 11, 2022 05:52 PM IST

World Diabetes Day 2022: Making the right food choices is critical to maintaining a healthy blood sugar level whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Here are diet tips on how to plan your meals and what you should eat if you are diabetic

World Diabetes Day 2022: Diet plan for diabetic patients to maintain blood sugar (Nataliya Vaitkevich)
World Diabetes Day 2022: Diet plan for diabetic patients to maintain blood sugar (Nataliya Vaitkevich)
ByZarafshan Shiraz, Delhi

Diabetic patients tend to have higher blood sugar levels hence, it is often assumed that a diabetic diet should consist of boring ‘off-limit’ items only but this is not true as diet for diabetes patients can be interesting and delicious too. Making the right food choices is critical to maintaining a healthy blood sugar level whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes and controlling your blood sugar reduces your chances of developing serious diabetes-related complications.

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Ashish Ranjan, Head of Medical Affairs at Flipkart Health+, talked about how food affects blood sugar levels and said, "Carbohydrates, also known as "carbs," raise blood sugar levels. Candy, sweets, pasta, bread and white rice are examples of carbohydrate-rich foods. Your blood sugar levels will rise as you consume more of these. Therefore, it is advisable to eat carbs that are rich in fiber and low in fats and added sugars. Eating carbs with protein, fat or fiber also slows the rate at which your blood sugar rises."

How to plan your meals?

To help decide on what should go into each eating portion, consider using the ‘Plate Method’ suggested by Dr Ashish Ranjan and structure an average 9-inch dinner plate as follows:

  • Fill 50% of the plate with fruits and vegetables such as salads, beans, and sprouts
  • Fill 25% with lean proteins. Include fish (low fat), chicken (without the skin), eggs and tofu
  • The remaining 25% can have servings of low–moderate carbohydrates such as rice, rotis, and bread

What should you eat if you have Diabetes?

Dr Ashish Ranjan highlighted, “Foods with a high glycemic index (GI) raise the sugar levels quickly in your blood. Therefore, diabetic diet can include foods with low GI (0 to 55) such as oatmeal, quinoa, carrots, low-fat milk or yogurt, apples and grapefruit.” He listed detailed macronutrient requirements as follows:

  • Carbohydrates

As carbohydrates impact blood glucose levels in diabetes, it is crucial to maintain a balance. Eating high-fiber carbohydrates from whole grains such as roti instead of rice is a better option for diabetics. Prefer brown rice to polished white rice. For breakfast use unprocessed cereals made from oats and barley. Stock up on different types of legumes (dal) such as rajma, chickpeas, red lentils (masoor dal), and Bengal gram to get your carbohydrate fix with proteins and fiber. Eat vegetables such as peas, and beans. One of the vegetables for diabetics to avoid is potato as it has a high glycemic index. Fruits with a low glycemic index such as pears, apples, oranges, and guavas should be preferred because they can provide necessary fiber as well (40g/day).

  • Protein

For people following a diabetes diet, 12 to 15% of energy should come from proteins. Low-fat dairy like a glass of milk or a bowl of curd can provide the necessary proteins for the body. Boiled eggs, pulses, low-fat fish or meat, and nuts are good sources of protein. For vegetarians, Indian foods that contain both cereals and pulses such as khichdi, idli, dosa, dhokla and missi roti can improve protein quality and keep you full for a longer time.

  • Fat

Fat consumption by diabetes patients can vary from person to person, depending on their body weight. The quality of fats is considered more important than quantity. A thumb rule for people with diabetes, is to avoid trans fats found in packaged foods and saturated fats such as butter. Oils such as mustard and rice bran could be preferred choices. Use a mix of 2 cooking oils to improve the fat quality. Nuts and seeds contain essential fatty acids, so walnuts, almonds, and flax seeds can be used for mid-meal snacking.

  • Sodium intake

For people who have diabetes, salt intake should be limited to 3 g/day. Avoid packaged food or preservatives like sauces, pickles, and packaged pre-cooked food as they are high in sodium content.

  • Alcohol

Alcohol contains empty calories, 7 kcal/g, and can cause hypoglycemia when consumed during the fasting state. Drink in moderation, but the best practice is to avoid it completely.

  • Dealing with long-term diabetic diets

Adopting a diabetic diet doesn’t necessarily have to mean bidding goodbye to comfort food. It simply means to plan meals and spread the intake so that blood glucose levels are maintained within normal limits and do not cause a glucose peak in the body.

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