A balanced diet is the key for management of Diabetes

  • Nov 14, 2018
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Comprehensive diabetic management include maintaining healthy weight with balanced diet and regular exercise  along with  keeping  blood sugars in well-defined targets  with  help of medication and monitoring as per the  healthcare professional’s advice.

Healthy food choices, understanding individual’s needs and tailoring dietary prescription accordingly is the need of the hour.  Extreme and strict dietary options can be counterproductive and makes the person vulnerable to lose hope, enthusiasm and optimism during management.  Medical nutrition therapy is the term used for nutritional prescription offered to Diabetic patients; it incorporates dietary advice which is customized according to the medical, personal and lifestyle factors of an individual. It is both the art and science of medicine.

The meal for type 2 Diabetic should have the right combination of carbohydrate, protein and fats along with all essential vitamins and minerals. Carbohydrates are the important source of energy. There are three different types of carbohydrates i.e. starch, sugar and fiber. Starches are complex carbohydrates and found in whole grains, processed grains, starchy vegetables, legumes, fruits, dairy products and sweets. Fiber is very good for gut health and has very low glycemic index and does not increase the blood sugar levels, so it should always be a part of regular meals. Refined sugars and processed carbohydrate has got very high glycemic index and should be avoided.

Can a Diabetic eat rice?

Rice is a staple food in many parts of India and cannot be completely abandoned. Limiting portion size and following the principle of moderation is the key. Along with that; type of rice, method of preparation, timing of eating, mixing rice with other low calorie foods and some rice sparing therapies aid in controlling sugar levels.

Practical tips for rice eating diabetics:

  1. Amount and portion size:  1/3 cup rice contains 15 gm of carbohydrate and is sufficient for one meal.  Rest of the caloric needs can be met up by combining it with low caloric food like beans, non-starchy vegetable, legumes, and soluble fiber which decreases the rate of digestion and minimizes the spike in blood sugar levels.
  2. Regular fiber intake: 20-30 gm of daily soluble fiber intake is recommended.  Vegetable, fruits, legumes, nuts and whole grains are natural fiber containing foods.   There are many soluble fiber supplements are available in market to supplement the dietary deficiencies.
  3. Type of rice: long grain basmati rice and brown rice are having low glycemic index and high fiber content in comparison to white rice and should be preferred.
  4. Cooking method: cook in an open pan and remove extra water after cooking to get rid of extra starch.
  5. Day to day carbohydrate consistency for timing and content should be maintained.
  6. Food rich in vitamin C, calcium and magnesium will give an extra edge in controlling the blood sugar levels when combined in diet.
  7. Know Glycemic index of your food: It is the scale which measures how quickly food gets digested in to sugar and absorbed in blood.  GI score >70 is considered high, 56-69 is moderate and <56 is low. Avoid foods having high glycemic index.
  8. Look for rice substituting recipes which are readily available online.
  9. Patient’s compliance of dietary advice should be monitored regularly by reviewing their food diaries and give positive feedback and motivation for their achievements frequently.
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