Why do you need to diet if you have diabetes?

People with diabetes need to ensure that their blood sugar and weight is in check so that it doesn’t lead to further complications. A healthy diet plan helps you control your blood sugar (glucose), manage your weight and control heart disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure and high blood fats.

When it comes to maintaining a healthy diet, the key factors to follow are finding the right diet for you and eating in moderation.

Finding the right diet for diabetes

With so many options to pick from and not enough information to make a decision, choosing the right diet plan when you are diabetic, is quite a challenge. The hardest part is to pick a diet plan that suits your lifestyle and is comparatively easy to prepare. 

The last thing you would want is a list of ingredients that you cannot find anywhere and the exhaustion that comes with trying to prepare the right food for you every day. To make your life simpler and health better, here are 3 diet plans with their pros and cons so that you can make an informed decision.

Low Carb Diet for people with diabetes

Carbohydrates are nutrients that have the capacity to raise blood sugar levels and require the most insulin to be produced by the body or taken externally. Lowering sugar levels can be done by reducing the amount of carbohydrate intake. A healthy low-carb diet includes a delicious variety of vegetables and vegetarian dishes. It is far from being a protein overloaded diet.

If you love a diet that has a strong inclination towards vegetables this is the right diet for you. This diet has helped many people with diabetes keep their diabetes in check and get their blood sugar levels into control without the help of medication. Vegetables, natural & real foods are central to this diet.

The Low Carb Diet is the perfect example of a structured cutoff from calories obtained from carbohydrate-rich food and a systematic replacement of the source of carbs and calories to be consumed.

Pros:

There is quite a bit of scientific evidence pointing to the fact that low carb diets result in an overall improvement of glycemic control in diabetic patients. It also facilitates weight reduction. Another important win for people on a low-carb diet is that there is less stress on the insulin cells due to it.

Cons:

One downside of being on a low-carb diet is that a sudden reduction in carb intake might result in hypoglycemia (sudden sharp reduction in blood sugar level) in people who are using diabetic medication.

Mediterranean Diet for people with diabetes

Known to have originated in the southern part of Italy, the Mediterranean diet is rich in fruits, vegetables and food with fibre. This diet is recommended by many health organizations as it contains a high portion of unsaturated to saturated fats and depends largely on foods that are not processed.

This diet also has a touch of olives, yoghurt and fish products to compensate for the non-existent fat sources in the diet. When on this diet you can still have your fair share of tasty carbs with some bread, cheese or pasta. But it is absolutely important to eat in moderation.

The following are the foods that are traditionally part of the Mediterranean diet-

  • Fish made in oil
  • Chicken or other poultry
  • Fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Bread prepared fresh
  • Pasta
  • Beans & Legumes

Pros:

This diet has never once been linked to vitamin or nutrient based deficiencies. Also, another great thing about the Mediterranean diet is that when coupled with exercise it has shown an overall improvement in cardiac health.

Cons:

It usually takes some time to get an understanding of the portions so as to not cause slight spikes in your blood glucose levels. Not everyone with diabetes can handle starchy foods as well as others so stick to portion sizes that won’t greatly raise your sugar levels.

Low Fat Diet for people with diabetes

A low-fat diet is structured around the consumption of lean meat, fish, vegetables and fruits. This diet systematically cuts off the fat consumed by us. And this helps because gram to gram fat has more calories than carbohydrates. The main objective for choosing a low fat diet is to improve cholesterol levels by reducing the overall calorie intake.

A typical low fat diet involves reducing consumption of butter, eggs, cheese, sauces, pastry and other foods that have relatively higher quantities of fat. It encourages consumption of whole grain foods, chicken, fish, low-fat yoghurt, vegetables, lentils and fruits. 

Workout and Diabetes

Working out is one of the easiest ways to keep healthy. And when combined with a healthy diet, exercise can go a long way. As diabetics, you have it a little difficult when compared to the rest of the world. You have to pay close attention to what you eat and how much of it you eat. It is essential for you to customize your diet with a healthy dose of exercise to give yourself that extra edge you need to manage as well as overcome your condition. So, here is a list of a few exercises that usually are a great help to diabetics.

Walking

A brisk walk will work wonders for anybody and everybody. But walking, in general, is one of the best ways to get some exercise especially for diabetic patients. Thirty minutes is enough to do daily walking, three times each week is enough to increase your physical activity. The best part about this exercise is the fact that it can be done anywhere with no special considerations.

Tai Chi

Tai Chi is the perfect tool to help reduce stress and to control the body’s blood sugar levels. This method of self-defense has evolved into a form of exercise that is very helpful and beneficial against a lot of ailments. Tai Chi has also reportedly helped in increasing the vitality, energy levels and mental health of the people who practice it regularly.

Weight Training

Weight training builds muscle mass which is important for people with diabetes. You can include resistance exercise or weight training at least twice in a week ensuring that there is a day of rest between workouts. You can do different kinds of lifting and build your strength slowly. Weight training is considered good because when you have lost muscle mass it makes it harder to maintain blood sugar.

Yoga

Yoga is a great way to regulate your body’s blood sugar levels and work towards achieving a sense of zen and some peace of mind. These age-old techniques have been proven to improve flexibility, strength and balance. Yoga also helps improve nerve function and reduces stress levels among people who practice it regularly, in turn, reducing the risks of mental ailments.

Swimming

Swimming is ideal for people with diabetes since it does not put any pressure on your joints and is easier on your feet than most forms of exercise.  Swimming improves cardiovascular fitness. This is very important because people with diabetes have higher risks than others for heart disease.

Know your food

Patients of diabetes have to make their food choices very carefully if they want to avoid complications. You have to be mindful of what you eat and what you avoid. However, this does not mean that you cannot eat anything at all. There is a vast range of options for you to choose from.

Some of them are listed below –

  • Green Vegetables
  • Fatty Fish
  • Chia Seeds
  • Berries
  • Beans
  • Nuts

The following food items must be avoided strictly by people with diabetes.

  • Sweet Drinks
  • Salty Food
  • White Bread
  • Rice
  • Breakfast Cereals
  • Packaged Snacks

Diabetes Friendly Dishes

Whoever said that diabetic people can’t have food that is healthy as well as delicious was certainly wrong. Listed below are a few diabetes-friendly recipes that taste so good that even those who don’t have diabetes will enjoy them.

  • BUTTER CHICKEN
  • LOW FAT CELERY SOUP
  • WHOLE WHEAT DOSA FOR DIABETICS
  • LOW FAT CHICKEN SHAWARMA
  • CHARGRILLED VEGETABLE SALAD
  • BAKED SALMON WITH TOMATOES, MUSHROOMS, AND SPINACH
  • SUGAR FREE BADAM BARFI