The diagnosis of diabetes brings with it many questions, doubts and anxiety. In simple terms, it is a metabolic disorder which causes increase in blood sugar levels.
Insulin, a hormone produced in Beta cells of pancreas is managing the glucose levels in blood. In case of diabetes, the insulin production is either inadequate or the human body is unable to use the insulin effectively. In either case, dietary changes along with the life style changes play a pivotal role in controlling the blood sugars and preventing the complications in the later years.
Accepting the disease and understanding the disease process is very important before you begin making the life style changes. Once you have understood why you need to make those changes, the journey becomes easier. The following three key changes are advisable in this regard.
- A regular exercise routine for at least 30 min/per day. It could be a brisk walk or jogging or cycling or a sport that you enjoy. While choosing an activity, make sure you enjoy it, and are able to be able to maintain it.
- Work towards achieving an ideal body weight. Weight loss in obese individuals could help make the diabetes take a U turn towards a non diabetic side.
- Understanding your food and its effect on your glucose levels.
- Choose complex carbohydrates (e.g. whole grains and pulses). Restrict refined and processed foods (e.g. all purpose flour, polished rice, white bread) as these add very less nutritional value to your diet. Choose foods low in glycemic index (e.g. vegetables, whole pulses).
- Fibre or roughage is important for not only in controlling sugars but also provide with satiety. Eating variety of vegetables and whole fruits, whole grains and pulses and lentils help in incorporating fibre.
- Protein is the new key nutrient in management of diabetes and weight loss. It is available to us in the form of beans, whole pulses, poultry, fish and meat. Proteins have minimal effect on glucose levels and provide good satiety. Hence, beginning a meal with a protein source not only helps in cutting down amount of carbohydrate eaten but also aids in weight reduction. Further, it improves insulin sensitivity and offers better health.
- Ensure good hydration by drinking water to keep your health in good shape.
- Portion size control is the key to enjoy variety foods and maintain good blood glucose level.
These basic tips can give us a broader picture about the life style changes that we are required to make. However, we have to consider individual preferences, level of activity, health condition, medication being used, and the goal to be achieved. So, there is no one size that fits all plan; diet in diabetes has to be individualised or tailor made.
We at Chinmayi Research and Consulting will assist you to to reverse the progression of diabetes by devising a good diet and modifying your lifestyle. You may please get in touch with us to have a thorough virtual consultation while enjoying the luxury of your home!
Mamata A H
Consultant Dietitian & Nutritionist
Chinmayi Research and Consulting