Let us know what diabetes is before going into what food a diabetic patient should take.
Diabetes is a condition in which your body doesn’t produce enough insulin or your body cannot take the insulin which is produced (insulin resistance).
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas. Insulin helps the glucose present in the blood to enter every cell in our body.
So in patients with diabetes, since the insulin produced is low or the body doesn’t respond to the insulin produced, the glucose present in the blood doesn’t enter the cells of our body. Thus resulting in higher levels of glucose in the blood.
If the blood glucose remains higher for longer periods, it results in a condition called hyperglycemia. If it’s left untreated, it leads to problems and failure of kidneys, liver, etc.
So it is very important for a diabetic patient to consume the right kind of diet so that the blood glucose always remains normal.
So in this article let us discuss the food choices that a diabetic patient should include in his diet
What is a diabetic diet?
A diabetic diet involves eating a moderate amount of food that is less in glucose at regular intervals.
It is recommended to talk with your doctor and dietitian before planning your diet. They help you with the diet which is suitable for your body according to your lifestyle.
Nutrients that a diabetes diet should contain
There are two types of Carbohydrates. They are simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates are relatively easy to digest and release glucose into the blood quickly.
On the other hand, the complex carbohydrates relatively take more time to digest and gradually release the glucose into the blood.
So, a diabetic diet should contain complex carbohydrates as they steadily increase the Glucose level whereas simple carbohydrates show a sudden spike of glucose in the blood.
As diabetes patients have problems with insulin, a steady rise in blood glucose is desirable.
Examples of foods that are sources of complex carbohydrates are whole grains, legumes such as beans and peas, and low-fat dairy products like milk and cheese. Diabetics can also consume some of the healthy carbohydrates which are available in fruits and vegetables.
Having fiber-rich foods
Foods that are high in fiber help in the better digestion of food in our intestines and also that they are known to help control your blood sugar levels.
Foods that are high in fiber are vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes such as beans and peas, whole grains, etc.
People generally have a misconception that fat is not at all good for health. But there are different kinds of fats in general. They can be classified into good fats and bad fats.
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are good for your body and help lower your cholesterol levels. Foods that are rich in these parts are avocado, nuts, Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, olive, peanut, etc.
Foods that a diabetic diet should not contain at all
The type of foods that a diabetic diet should not contain at all are:
Saturated fats result in increasing your cholesterol levels and this increases the risk of heart disease. So saturated fat should not be a part of a diabetic diet. Foods that contain saturated fat are dairy products like butter, cheese, etc.
Trans fat comes under the bad fat group. It increases the risk of heart disease by clogging the arteries. All processed foods, baked foods, sugary items, etc contain trans fat.
Cholesterol is found in high-fat dairy products like milk, cheese, butter, and animal protein like beef, egg yolks, etc.
Choose low glycemic index fruits
Diabetes patients should be very careful in choosing the right kind of fruits for them. Because all the fruits are loaded with glucose.
Consuming some fruit may cause a sudden spike in the blood glucose level. So they have to consume fruits that are low in glycemic index.
They can consume low glycemic index fruits like apple, pear, guava, orange, etc.
Some of the fruits which should not be consumed are mangoes, grapes, and bananas. They have high values of glycemic index and suddenly spike the blood sugar level.
Switch to Healthy snacks and healthy drinks
Processed foods contain high amounts of Trans fats and they are not at all good for your health. Processed food, fried and oily food shouldn’t be a part of a diabetic diet as they increase cholesterol and put you at the risk of other diseases.
Instead of eating processed foods, you can opt for healthy snacks like fruits that are low in glycemic index. You can also consume nuts and seeds as snacks. They contain protein, and good fats and are good for health.
Always consume fresh fruit juices as a substitute for sugary drinks. The sugary drinks are very high in sugar and cause a sudden spike in blood sugar levels.
But when compared, eating whole fruit is more recommended than drinking juice because they are rich in fiber and it helps in digestion and low blood sugar spike.
It is a common concern faced by many diabetes patients that they lack certain nutrients due to the number of food restrictions they have.
So in some cases, it is recommended to have some nutrient supplements to maintain proper health.
But these supplements should be taken only when your diet is failing in providing these nutrients.
Take the supplements only after consulting your doctor and dietician. Because certain supplements should not be taken more than a certain dosage.
A diabetic diet is strictly on a lot of restrictions for carbohydrates, fats, and sugars.
Consuming a strictly prescribed diabetic diet can also help you prevent a lot of diseases in the future. This diet is not only good for managing diabetes but also for managing different health conditions.
As the majority of the diabetic diet includes a lot of fruits, vegetables, fiber, low-fat foods, etc. You are less likely to have cardiovascular diseases and certain types of cancer.