World Diabetes Day: Eat well to fight diabetes

ByDr Amit Khandeparkar | Edited by Parmita Uniyal
Nov 13, 2021 05:52 AM IST

World Diabetes Day: Eating healthy and being active most of the time can not only help your blood sugar levels but also keep your weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels in check.

World Diabetes Day 2021: Diabetes is a major public health problem worldwide that seems to be approaching epidemic proportions. In India, it is on the rise affecting the urban as well as rural populations. As per the IDF Diabetes Atlas Committee, globally, in 2019, 463 million people had diabetes and if estimates are to be believed, by 2030, diabetes will affect 578 million and by 2045, 700 million people will be reporting high blood sugar levels. The situation in India is no better – As per IDF, 77 million Indians have this metabolic condition.

World Diabetes Day 2021(Unsplash)
World Diabetes Day 2021(Unsplash)

Diabetes is a lifestyle disorder and there are couple of important pointers to keep in mind, to prevent and manage it -– eating a healthy diet and being physically active. If you are overweight, weight loss should be your first goal. If you are pre-diabetic, losing 5-10% of your weight can lower your chances of developing diabetes by 58%. Even if you have been diagnosed with diabetes, losing 5-10% can improve your blood sugar levels significantly.

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Eating a healthy diet could be challenging especially in the festive season when one is surrounded by savoury snacks and delicious sweets. Consuming such items by people with diabetes can lead to blood glucose spikes, thereby causing increased diabetes complications. Hence, the key is to smartly choose foods that will not cause the blood glucose levels to go haywire.

ALSO READ: World Diabetes Day: 10 common diabetes myths busted

Remember- Your diet is a powerful tool to defeat diabetes and pre-diabetes

The concept of glycaemic index or GI helps us understand how soon food causes an increase in blood sugar levels. The reading ranges from 0 to 100. Foods that raise blood sugar rapidly are given a higher number, for example the glycaemic index of white bread is 75. Apple, on the other hand, has a GI of 28. Protein foods like Greek style yogurt has a GI of 11 and peanuts have a GI of 7. Those having diabetes can therefore choose low GI foods.

People with diabetes are generally encouraged to eat food with high fibre and protein. This is because both these foods are low in GI. Research finds when people with diabetes consume high fibre foods; such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables that also provide vitamins and minerals; their blood sugar and blood lipid levels can be well within control.

Protein rich foods provide energy and help in muscle repair without raising the blood sugar much meaning less requirement of insulin. Consuming dairy & plant-based protein foods along with meat & fleshy foods can help this cause.

The diabetes plate and how it can be a guiding factor

The American Diabetes association notes that eating smart by pairing high GI items with low GI foods reduce the overall GI of the meal. Following the diabetes plate method will help control portion size and eat healthy all at once. Simply fill half the plate with non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, greens, mushrooms, peppers, and tomatoes – one quarter with lean protein foods like chicken, fish, all plant proteins and the other quarter with whole grains, starchy vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potato, yam, green peas coupled with adequate intake of water.

Eating healthy and being active most of the time can not only help your blood sugar levels but also helps keep your weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels in check. It can energize you and keep you feeling healthy

(Dr Amit Khandeparkar, Head, Healthcare and Nutrition Science Danone India; views expressed in this column are author's own )

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