Diet is a very important aspect in the treatment of Diabetes particularly the timing of it. At the beginning you may be successful in controlling Diabetes with diet only, but unfortunately a time will come when only diet won’t be enough, you will require medicine.
This time is different for different people, for somebody this can be a few months while for others it may be a few years. It is very important to try with diet first; this will help you to understand the principles of Diabetic diet.
Can I control Diabetes with Diet only?
Diet is a very important aspect in the treatment of Diabetes particularly the timing of it. In the beginning, you may be successful in controlling Diabetes with diet only, but unfortunately, a time will come when the only diet won’t be enough, you will require medicine.
It is very important to try with diet first; this will help you to understand the principles of the diet.
Can I follow a strict diet chart?
A strict diet chart is something we are not advocating these days. A diet chart is not only monotonous but also difficult to follow day in and out. A strict chart restrains your freedom to eat and also impossible to follow when you are out for social or professional reasons. Rather than a diet chart, you should have a meal plan.
What are the principles of diabetic diet?
Healthy eating is the key to success for which you need to know what to eat, how much to eat and what not to eat (Timing, Quantity and Quality).
To eat or not to eat is not the question, how to make the right decision about eating is the question
We recommend three meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and three snacks. You can space the snacks in between your meals according to your life-style. There are six components in diet:
Restriction and distribution of carbohydrate throughout the day are important. The number of calories in rice and wheat are the same, but the protein content is high in wheat. Wheat has more fibre in comparison to rice. A mixed diet containing both rice and wheat is preferable.
Dietary fibres are very important for people with Diabetes (food with high fibres such as bran, cereals, vegetables, fruits, brown bread, pulses like lentils, rajma, whole meal flour, etc), they make the absorption smoother and keep the bowel habit healthy.
Regular eating of salad and vegetables is good for nutritional balance. They are natural source of vitamins, minerals and fibres. If your weight is more than what it should be, you need to loose weight. Taking low caloric food and increasing food with high fibres can achieve this.
There is no bar to eat non-vegetarian food unless in special situation like kidney problem. Remember chicken and fish are better than red meat as the amount of saturated fat is less in them. If your cholesterol is high you better avoid yellow of egg and red meat
What should I take as snack?
You can make one of your own choices. A homemade sandwich will be the perfect one. You can take small amount of noodle, sprouts, a medium size apple or non-sweet biscuits. Remember soft drinks have a very high sugar in it, so if you are fond of them take the diet one.
Will my blood sugars be normal if I do not eat?
No, it won’t. This is essential to realise, stopping eating is the worst possible thing to do when your sugar is not well controlled. Remember, whatever the blood sugar is, your body needs a balanced diet otherwise you will become malnourished and weak.
What if I skip meal?
Not a good idea at all, when you skip meals your blood sugar fluctuates and that is not good for control. Particularly in the teenagers, this is common and make sure you do not do this. Remember when you eat is as important as what you eat.
My job does not allow me to eat in fixed time, what should I do?
Most of the cases, this is an excuse for not being planned. You need to know how to organise your day. Days are changing and all of us are in much more stressful life than our forefathers.
Competitions are increasing day by day but we need to look after ourselves so that we are in the best physical and mental state to be successful.
Do I need to stop eating out?
Certainly not, as long as you are not planning to eat out everyday! You need to know what the right food is and correct amount. Remember Alcohol has empty calorie and also with a drink we tend to eat more.
What to eat when I am not well?
If you cannot manage to eat your normal diet you need to match them with liquids. Please see the section on Sick day rule.
Can I have ice cream?
Occasionally yes, but do not make a habit of eating ice cream regularly. There are certain ice cream available now with no added sugar, but do not forget they have calories.
Can I eat fruit?
Yes, not only can, you should eat fruit regularly. This is a very old concept that in Diabetes you cannot eat fruit. You should know what fruit and how much you should eat.
You should take 3 to 5 portions of fruit every day
- One portion of food is 1 medium apple or
- 1 guava or
- 1 pear or
- 1 orange or
- 1 small banana or
- 12-15 grapes or
- 1 medium pomegranate or
- 1 slice of pineapple or
- melon or
- 1 small bowl of papaya, etc;
you can choose what you like. It is better to avoid dry fruits as they have very high calories and also Mango and Sapeta.
What are the food items I should avoid?
Foods to avoid – Direct sugar, jam, honey, and chocolate as they contain refined carbohydrate and blood sugar rises very quickly. Also it is better to avoid food with high saturated fat such as cheese, butter, ghee, solid cooking oils and hard margarine.
Do I need to take vitamin for Diabetes?
If you are eating a balanced diet, there is no proven rule for extra vitamin. Some people take them for mental satisfaction. Vitamin is not the treatment of uncontrolled Diabetes neither vitamin will help to control your Diabetes.
If for some reason or other you are not able to take a regular meal, i.e., you had an operation or you are unwell, you may take some vitamin for a short while.
Sample Diet Chart for Vegetarian and Non-Vegetarian Diet
These diet charts are only a rough guideline to your meal planning. Non-vegeterarians can follow a veg menu also.
|Early Morning||Tea/coffee (without sugar)||1cup||Early morning||Tea/coffee (without sugar)||1cup|
|Skim milk/coffee/tea (without sugar)||1 glass||Skim milk/coffee/tea (without sugar)||1 glass|
|Or can follow Veg. menu|
|Mid-Morning||Fruit||1 to 2 portions||Mid-Morning||Fruit||1 to 2 portions|
|Buttermilk||1 glass||Buttermilk||1 glass|
|Lunch||Rice||1 1/2 cup||Lunch||Rice||1 1/2 cup|
|Roti||2 nos.||Roti||2 nos.|
|Chana Dhal/ sambar/rasam||1 cup||sabji||1 cup|
|Methi Sag/ sabji||1 cup||Fish curry||1 cup|
|Curd||1 cup||Curd||1/2 cup|
|Salad||1 serving||Salad||1 serving|
|Evening Tea||Tea/coffee (without sugar)||1 cup||Evening Tea||Tea/coffee (without sugar)||1 cup|
|Marie biscuit||2-3 nos.||Marie biscuit||2-3 nos.|
|Dinner||Roti||2 nos.||Dinner||Roti||2 nos|
|Dhal||1 cup||Sabji||1 cup|
|Sabji||1 cup||Chicken curry||1 cup|
|Salad||1 serving||Salad||1 serving|
|Bedtime||Skim milk (without sugar)||1 cup||Bedtime||Skim milk (without sugar)||1 cup|
|Fruit||1 to 2 portions||Fruit||1 to 2 portions|
Diabetes Food Pyramid
Green Food –Eat in plenty (it is always good to eat in moderation)
- They are among the richest source of many of the essential nutrients needed for optimal health
- They have not been highly processed nor do they contain synthetic, artificial or irradiated ingredients
- Vegetables – Asparagus, Beets, Broccoli, Brinjal, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Cucumber, Fenugreek seeds, Garlic, Gourd, Green Beans, Green Peas, Mushroom, Olive, Onion, Radish, Spinach, Tomato, Turnips and others.
- Whole grains – Whole wheat flour, Brown Rice, Oats, Rye, Whole-grain bread
- Marie Biscuits, High fibre biscuits
- Berries, Guava, Kiwis, Lemons, Oranges, Papaya, Plums
- Butter Milk, Lime Water
- Low-fat yoghurt
- Pulses – moong, rajma, channa, masar
Yellow Foods – Eaten in Moderate Quantity
Yellow means “Caution”. Yellow foods can be eaten in moderate Quantity, but you should not eat them in excess. Whenever you eat them quantity matters.
- Milk Products
- Chicken, Fish and Egg
- White Rice
- Maida- Refined wheat flour
- White bread/ Salted biscuits
- Ice Cream, Sugar- free pudding made with skim milk
- Noodles/ Vermicelli/ Semolina with vegetables
- Pizza with vegetables
- Fresh fruits with high sugar content – Mangoes, Bananas, Figs, Grapes, Pineapple, Cheeku, Raisins
- Potatoes, Sweet potatoes, Peas, corns
- Pickles without oil
Red Foods – Have Occasionally
Red means “Stop” Before eating Red foods, you should stop and think if it will fit into your eating plan. These foods are to be taken occasionally- low in food value.
- Sweets – Jalebi, Laddu, Gulabjamun, Barfi and Others
- Cream biscuits, Glucose Biscuits& Bakery biscuits
- Candy- chocolates/ toffees
- Canned Fruits
- Soft drinks
- Sweetened Juices
- Cakes/ pastry
- French Fries
- Potato Chips
- Fried Namkeen
- Bakery Items- Cookies, pancakes, Pies, Donuts
- Trans Fat – Dalda
- Fried Food –Poori, Kachori, Samosa, Mathri& Others
- Cheese Pizza
- Red Meat
- Gravy Foods
- Pickles with oil
- Nuts and Seeds- Almond, Walnut, Pistachio, Raisins