Healthy Eating For Diabetic People

The importance of diet in regulating blood glucose levels is well recognized. Eating the right type and amount of food at the right time can help to maintain healthy blood glucose levels and reduce the risk of developing diabetes and related health issues. Especially for diabetic people, eating a balanced diet helps to fulfill their nutritional needs without spiking their blood sugar levels. 


Diabetes Diet Plan


A diabetes diet is designed to help individuals better utilize the insulin their body produces or receives through medication. It is a healthy-eating plan focusing on consuming nutrient-rich foods that help maintain an optimal blood sugar level, manage body weight, and reduce the risk of developing diabetes-associated complications such as heart disease, stroke, and kidney damage. A registered dietitian can create a personalized diet plan considering health goals, personal taste, and lifestyle. Furthermore, they can guide portion size to ensure the diet is tailored to individual size and physical activity level.


How to formulate an effective diabetes diet plan?


It is crucial for individuals with diabetes to maintain a healthy eating plan. This eating plan should include the correct amounts of food and carbs at each meal or snack to help control blood sugar levels. It is also essential to eat at regular times and to measure food to ensure the right amounts are taken. Eating roughly the same amount of carbs at each meal can be beneficial. 


Recommended Foods


Eating the right foods for diabetes signifies consuming a variety of healthy foods from all the food groups:

  • Complex Carbohydrates - During digestion, carbohydrates like sugars and starches are broken down into sugar glucose, which enters the bloodstream. To ensure you are getting the most health benefits, focus on consuming healthy carbohydrates, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and low-fat dairy products. Avoid foods or drinks with added fats, sugars, and sodium, as they provide fewer health benefits.
  • Dietary Fibers - Dietary fiber is an integral part of a healthy diet, as it helps regulate digestion, maintain healthy blood sugar levels, and provide many health benefits. Foods that are high in fiber include vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, and whole grains such as oats and barley.
  • Proteins - Protein plays a vital role in managing diabetes, as it helps to slow glucose absorption preventing blood sugar spikes. Protein also helps to reduce cravings and provides the body with essential nutrients. High-quality protein sources, such as lean meats, fish, eggs, nuts, and legumes, can help keep blood sugar levels in check. 
  • Healthy Fats - Consuming foods containing monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can lead to improved cholesterol levels. These foods include avocados, nuts, canola, olive, and peanut oils. However, consuming these foods in moderation is essential as they are all high in calories.


Foods to limit to control blood sugar-

To keep blood sugar under control, limit foods and drinks that are high in carbs by consuming them less often or in smaller amounts. Like:

  • Sugary foods, like candy, cookies, canned fruits with added sugar, etc
  • Drinks with added sugars
  • White rice, tortillas, bread, and pasta - particularly those made using white flour
  • Starchy vegetables, like white potatoes, corn, etc
  • Individuals may also need to limit their alcohol intake, fat, and salt.


Meal Plan Methods for Diabetics


There are two common ways to help plan the amount of food to eat if you have diabetes. Check with the healthcare team about the best method for you.


Plate method - The plate method helps control portion sizes and works best for lunch and dinner. It uses a 9-inch plate to put non-starchy vegetables on half of the plate, meat or other protein on one-quarter, and grains or other starch on the last quarter. A small bowl of fruit or a piece of fruit and a small glass of milk may also be included in the meal plan. The daily eating plan also may include small snacks between meals.


Carbohydrate counting - This method involves tracking the number of carbohydrates you eat and drink daily. Since carbohydrates turn into glucose in the body, they affect blood glucose levels more than other foods. Carb counting helps the body regulate blood glucose levels. This meal planning tool is specially designed for people with diabetes who take insulin; however, not all people with diabetes require counting carbohydrates. Following is the method to count carbohydrate grams in your food.


The Bottom line-


Diabetes is a chronic health condition raising global concerns and needs requisite intervention. Nutrition and physical activity are crucial parts of a healthy lifestyle in patients with diabetes. Apart from other potential benefits, following a healthy meal plan and being active can help keep the blood glucose level in the target range. 


Becoming more active and changing dietary habits may seem challenging initially, but help from family, friends, and the healthcare team will help make it easier.


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