Being diabetic doesn’t mean you stick with tasteless, tasteless foods your whole life! If you plan your meals wisely and choose the right foods, you can lower blood sugar levels and even reverse type II diabetes. Does it look like this is for you? Then check out this article to understand the benefits of a diabetes diet plan, along with sample meal charts.
Diet and diabetes: what is the relationship?
To understand this relationship, you need to know what diabetes is. It is a condition in which the body does not produce enough insulin or does not use it correctly, leading to high blood sugar levels. One of the biggest culprits for this disorder is poor eating habits. A diet loaded with carbohydrates, fats, and calories is known to cause HbA1c levels to rise, leading to type 2 diabetes mellitus.
These excess fat deposits lead to poor insulin secretion, as well as weight gain and abdominal fat. In the long term, you could even develop insulin resistance, which can be dangerous to your health.
To avoid this, you should cut back on sugary, fatty and carbohydrate-rich foods and replace them with healthy and nutritious meals. This is the exact basis behind a diabetes diet plan! It’s about planning your meals with better food options in recommended portions.
What are the best foods for diabetes control?
Doctors recommend a healthy and balanced diet for diabetic patients . Here, the emphasis is on the word ‘balanced’, which means choosing foods from different food groups to cover all essential nutrients. This includes,
- Fresh Fruits And Vegetables
- Starchy Foods Like Cereals, Pasta
- Protein Foods Like Lentils, Eggs, Fish, Chicken, Etc.
- Low-Fat Dairy
- Healthy Oils That Cover Essential Fatty Acids
NOTE: Not all fruits are ideal for diabetes. Some of them are high in fruit sugars and carbohydrates. It is important to verify the nutritional information of the fruit before including it in your diet.
Rather than stick to just one particular food group, a diabetic meal plan covers all groups in moderate amounts. This is not only better for managing diabetes, but also for improving your overall well-being.
Foods diabetic patients should avoid:
In addition to choosing the ‘right’ foods, you should also eliminate the ‘wrong’ foods from your diabetes diet. Foods high in carbohydrates, sugars, and saturated fat make the existing condition worse and can even lead to heart problems.
So, it’s time to say no to these foods:
- Sugar-Laden Foods Such As Sodas, Canned Juices, Candy, Desserts
- White Foods Like White Rice, White Pasta, White Bread, Etc.
- Fried Foods Like French Fries, Pakoras
- Processed Foods Such As Instant Food Packages, Packaged Snacks, Baked Goods
- Fatty Foods Like Red Meat, Cheese, Butter, Whole Dairy
- Natural Sweeteners Like Honey
Is Low Carb Diet Good For Diabetes?
Yes, many studies say! Research shows that a low-carb diet is quite effective in lowering blood sugar levels. Patients who followed a low-carbohydrate diet for 6 months showed significant improvement in their condition, in which they had reduced dependence on the medication or were able to discontinue it entirely. ( 2 )
This best diabetes diet is made up of a low amount of carbohydrates and a high percentage of healthy fats and proteins. By depriving the body of carbohydrates, it allows it to burn excess fat for energy. This leads to fat loss, weight loss, and even lower sugar levels.
Are high fiber foods good for diabetes?
The dietary fiber present in whole fruits, whole grains and vegetables is essential to control diabetes. In addition to promoting faster digestion and better bowel movements, fiber also slows down the absorption of sugars. Also, eating high fiber foods as part of a diabetic diet plan reduces hunger pangs and keeps you full for a long time.
Does a high protein diet help with diabetes?
The benefits of a high-protein diet for diabetes patients are constantly debated. For one thing, high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets are known to promote weight loss and increase lipid metabolism. This, in turn, has a positive impact on blood sugar levels.
On the other hand, HP diets are linked to a number of side effects including gastric problems, kidney dysfunction, and loss of nutrition due to restriction of food groups.
Therefore, it is best to consult with a doctor to find out if a high protein diabetic diet plan is right for your body.
Are low sodium diets beneficial for diabetes control?
If you are a diabetic patient, sodium may be your biggest enemy! While sodium does not directly contribute to an increase in blood sugar levels, it can increase the risk of hypertension and weight gain.
A low sodium diet that is less than 2,300 mg per day can be beneficial for managing diabetes. This includes reducing salt and other high sodium foods like frozen foods, cheese and butter, spreads, sauces, canned juices, instant spice mix, etc.
What is a calorie-based diet for diabetes?
A calorie-based diet for people with diabetes is a personalized eating plan that offers holistic nutrition to the body without pumping excess calories. Typically, a patient with type II diabetes should follow a 1500-2000 calorie diet for a day that comprises different food groups.
However, this number varies from person to person based on current weight, BMI, health status, age, physical activity, lifestyle, etc.
What is the best diet plan for patients with diabetes?
The answer depends on what suits you best! Each diet plan has its own pros and cons. It works on different food patterns and proportions, which can show various effects on people. The common aspect among these diabetes diet plans is that they are healthy, healthy, low in carbohydrates and calories.
Let’s now see the 5 best diet plans recommended for diabetes control:
1. Vegan diet or plant-based diet:
The vegan diet is considered one of the safest and most effective diets for the control of diabetes. By cutting out meat, dairy, and other animal products, you’re getting all of your essential protein, carbohydrates, and fats from plants. These are low in cholesterol and saturated fat that can help lower blood sugar levels when combined with a physical exercise program.
2. Vegetarian diet:
A study shows that a vegetarian diet rich in plant-based foods and low in animal-based foods is the most beneficial for controlling and preventing diabetes mellitus. ( 3 ) However, the perception of the term “vegetarian” varies between cultures.
For some, Vegetarian is strictly vegetable or vegan, for others, vegetables with eggs and dairy, and for many of them, seafood and a rare consumption of meat. People who followed a vegan diet and a vegetarian diet consisting of whole foods and low-fat dairy are known to be best at managing diabetes.
3. DASH diet:
The DASH diet plan, short for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, is also recommended for managing diabetes. It consists primarily of plant-based foods such as fruits and vegetables, with a limited amount of lean protein, salt, sugar, and fat.
A study also reveals that the DASH diet, when combined with a healthy lifestyle, can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and improve insulin sensitivity. ( 4 )
4. Mediterranean diet:
A Mediterranean diet consists of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads and pasta, legumes, olive oil, oily fish, and lean poultry. It covers all the essential nutrients required by the body like vitamins, minerals, healthy unsaturated fatty acids, proteins, etc. that can be beneficial in controlling diabetes.
5. Paleo diet:
A Paleo diet, also called a caveman diet, is designed to follow the eating habits of Paleolithic humans. This means saying no to all forms of processed foods, dairy, etc. and stick to whole foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, eggs, lean meat, herbs, seeds, etc.
Since this diet eliminates all bad foods like sugars, dairy, fried foods, etc., it can be beneficial in controlling diabetes.
Example of Indian food for diabetes patients:
It’s a myth that switching to a diabetic plan means giving up Indian staples like rice, sweets, and your favorite coffee or chai. But actually, you don’t have to do that!
A diabetic-friendly eating plan in India is to eat in moderation and create a proper nutritional balance.
Here is an example of an Indian diabetes diet plan for one day to help you get started:
Start the day with a glass of warm fennel or methi water, green tea
After 30 minutes, you may have
- 1 Cup Masala Oats Upma / Wheat Dalia Upma / 1 Moong Cheela / 2 Dosa (Less Oil)
- 1 Serving Of Boiled Vegetables Or Cut Fruits
- A Cup Of Milk, Coffee Or Tea With Less Or No Sugar Or Unsalted Buttermilk
- 1 Cup Of Green Tea / Herbal Tea
- 1 Cup Of Masala Murmura Or Snack Without Oil
- Or 1 Whole Fruit (Orange, Apple, Pear, Guava, Etc.)
- 1 Cup Of Salad
- 2 Flatbreads Or 1 Cup Of Brown Rice Or 1 Cup Of Millet
- 1 Big Bowl Sabzi (Cooked In Less Oil)
- A Cup Of Dal
- 1 Cup Low-Fat Yogurt Or Cottage Cheese
- 2-3 Pieces Of Lean Meat Such As Chicken Or Fish
- 1 Cup Of Tea With Less Or No Sugar
- 1 Cup Of Chana Or Boiled Peanuts
- Or 1 Cup Of BhelPuri
- OR 1 Vegetable Sandwich Without Cheese Or Butter
- 1 Bowl Of Vegetable Salad
- A Cup Of Dhaliya Khichdi Or 1 Cup Of Brown Rice Pulao With Vegetables Or 2 Wheat Phulkas
- 1 Cup Of Sabzi With Chicken / Vegetables / Fish
- 1 Glass Of Lean Buttermilk
NOTE: This is a generalized plan that should be used for reference only. You should consult a dietitian or nutritionist to choose the food that best suits your specific individual needs.
Lifestyle for diabetes:
Diabetes is mainly due to lifestyle problems. Overeating, sedentary work style, lack of exercise, irregular sleeping habits, and excessive stress lead to diabetes. One must make some simple lifestyle changes to deal with this problem:
1. Eat healthy:
If you are hungry, choose healthy eating options for diabetic patients such as fruits or low-fat snacks, rather than fatty junk food.
Exercise if it is essential for diabetic patients. You should start an exercise regimen that includes multiple activities such as walking, cycling, jogging. Set goals and try to achieve them.
3. Regular checkups:
You should go for regular blood checks to make sure your glucose levels stay well. Also, keep a home kit on hand to check regularly.
One must manage stress to deal with diabetes. Yoga and meditation can help you stay calm and help you control your emotions.
Training plan for patients with diabetes:
The exercise is essential for diabetic patients . It is recommended to combine some of these forms of exercise to help you maintain your blood sugar levels:
- Quick Hike
- Low Impact Aerobic
- Climbing Stairs
You should aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise regimen per day, for at least 5 days a week. Slowly increase your activities and include more variety of physical exercises.
So the point we’re trying to make with this article is that a diabetes diet plan can be healthy and delicious at the same time. You don’t need to starve yourself or restrict your taste buds to overcome this disorder. Just follow a well balanced diet with an active lifestyle to control your blood sugar levels and lead a happy and healthy life!
1. Is a no-carb diet plan recommended for diabetes?
Absolutely not! Not just for diabetes, but even for healthy people, a no-carb diet can have more side effects than benefits. Our body requires a minimal amount of carbohydrates to fuel the system and feel energized. At the same time, a carbo-negative diet is made up of high protein and fat that can increase cholesterol levels in the body. This can have serious consequences for your health.
2. Should I completely cut back on sweets if I am diabetic?
If you like sweets, you may find it difficult to follow a diabetic plan. However, diabetics can eat sweets, but in moderation. It is even better to replace the traditional sweets loaded with fat and sugar with natural desserts like yogurt, frozen fruit sorbets, dates, etc. In addition to satisfying your cravings for sweets, these foods can also provide good nutrients.
3. What is the role of exercise in managing diabetes?
No matter how healthy your diet is, if you lead a sedentary lifestyle, the calories end up in your body as fat stores. Therefore, exercise is essential to control type II diabetes. At least 20-30 minutes of any physical activity such as walking, jogging, or exercising is recommended to maximize the benefits of a diabetic eating plan.