Planning A Diet Chart For A Diabetic Patient - Do’s & Dont’s

Planning A Diet Chart For A Diabetic Patient - Do’s & Dont’s

Blood glucose is the main source of energy for the body and is derived from the food we consume. The pancreas secrete a hormone called insulin which helps this glucose get to the cells and be converted to energy. Underproduction of this hormone results in excess glucose in the blood which does not reach the cells, and causes a score of health issues - Diabetes being one of the prominent ones.

A disease that doesn't really have a cure and can only be managed by staying healthy, diabetes has 3 major forms - Type 1, Type 2, and gestational.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common and is caused by the body’s inability to produce or use insulin well.

If neglected over time, high blood glucose or diabetes causes many other health problems such as

  • heart disease
  • foot problems
  • stroke
  • kidney disease
  • eye problems
  • dental disease
  • nerve damage
The food consumed by diabetics plays a very important role in the management of blood sugar levels.

The right diet to control diabetes is one that reduces insulin and inflammation. This can dramatically reduce the risk of health issues and complications.

There are several ways to plan a sugar patient’s diet chart and the common ones are glycemic index, carbohydrate count, and a simple plate method.

Glycemic Index

Food that reduces diabetes usually has a low glycemic index (GI). GI is used to measure the blood sugar spike that any food can cause. So the right food to control sugar will have a low GI, and the not-so-good food for diabetes will have a high GI.

Green vegetables, raw carrots, oatmeal, chickpeas, lentils, multigrain rotis, oat flour bread etc have a low GI. Whereas processed foods like white bread, white rice, and vegetables like potatoes have a high GI, so it is best to limit their consumption.

Carbohydrate count

Monitoring the intake of carbohydrates throughout the day is a popular way to manage blood sugar. The amount you consume can vary depending on age, activity level, and build, so a customised carb-counted plan should be created by a certified nutritionist or doctor. In some cases, insulin dosage might also need adjustments based on the carbs consumed in the meal.

Carbohydrates can be grouped as Starch containing (like bread, rice, potatoes, pasta, yam, couscous etc. ) or Sugar loaded (like some fruits, some dairy foods, chocolate, sweets, packed drinks etc.). All the carbs are broken down into glucose, so it is important to include only good quality carbs in your diet, especially if you are diabetic.

Choose whole grain bread over the white varieties. Eat whole fruit instead of drinking fruit juice. Replace refined flour pasta with quinoa, barley, or whole grain pasta. Add seeds, pulses, and nuts to your meals as they are low on carbs but high in fibre.

Plate method

With the plate method or portioning, meals for diabetics can be adjusted to support a healthy blood sugar level. While compiling a sugar patient’s diet chart, portions of certain food groups need to be adjusted or lowered to create a nutritionally balanced meal.

For instance, half the plate should have non-starchy vegetables like squash, broccoli, cauliflower and leafy greens. These are good sugar control foods and must be the more filling part of the meal.

One-fourth of the plate should ideally be full of protein like lean meats, fish, tofu, eggs, paneer etc. These are not the best foods for diabetics, but can be added in moderation.

The remaining quarter should include good carbs from legumes, whole grains, fruit, or starchy vegetables. These are again not great food to control diabetes but need to be added in moderation for a well-rounded meal.

With each meal, it is best to also hydrate the system with a low-calorie beverage like black coffee, unsweetened tea, or water.

The perfect diet chart for a diabetic patient will cover at least one of the factors that can contribute to better planning and complete nutrition involving sugar control food.

Let us learn more about the various foods that prevent diabetes and also help control it.

Best Food For Diabetes Control

Whole Grains

The best sugar control foods include varieties of whole grains as they contain high concentration of fibre and are more nutrient dense than refined grains.

A list of high-fibre food is imperative to a good diet chart for a diabetic patient as fibre is known to slow down the digestion process and this helps keep blood sugar levels stable.

Whole grains also have a lower glycemic index (GI) than refined white bread and rice. This, in turn, reduces their impact on blood sugar, keeping them high up in the diabetes food list.

Whole grains to include in the meals for diabetics are:

Quinoa:

High in protein and low in carbs and GI, quinoa is the perfect superfood on the pro diabetics food list. It can be consumed as a wholegrain (while it is actually a seed!) or as quinoa flour, readily available with organic brands like JIWA.

Millets:

All millets are naturally gluten-free and rank high in the list of foods to control diabetes. Millets like pearl, foxtail, little and others have a low GI and prevent sudden spikes in blood sugar. They also contain high fibre and thus promote weight loss, making them a great food for sugar patients. Whether you make porridge with vegetables or use them as healthy atta for chapatis, millets can help you make great meals for diabetic people.

Buckwheat:

A pseudo cereal like quinoa, buckwheat contains D-chiro-inositol (DCI), which is a chemical compound that enhances the sugar-lowering effects of insulin. Buckwheat also has high fibre content, contains magnesium and is low in calories. So soba noodles are a great diabetes treatment food as opposed to white refined flour pasta.

Red rice:

Red rice can be added to the list of food for diabetic patients as it helps regulate insulin levels. It has a low GI that can help control the blood sugar level and makes for a great high-fibre replacement to white rice.

Whole grain bread and pasta:

Refined flour is an absolute no when it comes to good food for diabetes as it is high in starch and carbohydrates and low in terms of nutritive value. To fulfil pasta and bread cravings, whole grain variants come to the rescue. While they are better, they should be consumed only in moderation as they are not completely the best food for sugar patients.

Bulgur & Rye:

Bulgur has a great mix of protein, fibre and nutrients, and so marks its place as healthy food for sugar patients. It is commonly used in salads like tabbouleh and can make great porridge too.

Rye bread has several qualities needed in foods that prevent diabetes and aid blood sugar control. It is high in soluble fibre, which helps slow down the digestion process and absorption of carbohydrates and sugar through the digestive tract. This helps in a more gradual rise in blood sugar levels and makes Rye a good source of food to reduce diabetes.

These grains can also be mixed in appropriate quantities with other lentils or seeds and then ground to flour for chapatis - like the diabetic care atta from JIWA. These chapatis make great wraps or quesadillas too and can pump up every meal for diabetics.

Green Leafy Vegetables

All green leafy vegetables contain essential vitamins, minerals, and diabetes-friendly nutrients. They have a minimal impact on blood sugar levels with their high antioxidant content and enzymes that help digest starch in food.

A key plant-based source of potassium, calcium and vitamin A, greens also provide protein and fibre.

Common green leafy vegetables that can be part of any diet to control diabetes are -

  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • kale
  • Cabbage
  • Pok choy


Kale juice can help regulate blood sugar levels and blood pressure in subclinical hypertension patients as well.

These vegetables are versatile to use in meals for diabetics and can be combined with lean proteins like chicken or tofu to make salads, soups, one-pot dinners and more!

Seeds and Nuts

Nuts contain fatty acids that keep the heart healthy and are an excellent sugar control food.

Walnuts are omega-3 rich, and protect diabetics from a possible risk of heart disease or stroke. They provide the body with protein, vitamin B6, iron, magnesium and other nutrients and can be eaten with breakfast or added to salads as well.

Almonds decrease the LDL cholesterol which can block arteries and cause potential heart attacks. Peanuts are a great protein and fibre source and may help in weight loss which is a big plus in foods that prevent diabetes.

While all nuts are good food items for sugar patients, moderation is key. It is best to limit the serving size to a small handful to avoid excess calorie intake. The best part is that most nuts can be eaten raw, are readily available at grocery stores and can be consumed daily.

Chia seeds rank high in the list of healthy food for sugar patients for multiple reasons. They are high in antioxidants, magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids. They are also a great source of fibre and plant protein and aid weight loss. All of these contribute to the prevention of Type 2 diabetes and also in disease management.

Flax seeds and flaxseed oil contain health-building compounds that are important for a sugar patient’s diet chart. Flax seeds have a low GI because of their high fibre content. They also contain lignan - an antioxidant that is known to improve insulin sensitivity and thus control blood sugar levels.

These nutrition-rich foods to control sugar can be easily bought from trusted brands like JIWA and used in meals for diabetics. Sprinkle these seeds individually or mixed on breakfast bowls, while baking muffins, on dessert, salads, and more!

Check out this cool mukhwaas that can be ready in minutes, and is a total crowd pleaser.

Others

Other foods like beans, citrus fruits and berries and probiotic yoghurt etc are also healthy foods for sugar patients and can be added to daily diet charts for diabetic patients.

Beans are a good source of plant-based protein and help lower carbohydrate intake. They are also low GI and help regulate blood sugar levels.

Citrus fruits like oranges contain antidiabetic antioxidants hesperidin and naringin and are a great source of vitamins and minerals without carbohydrates.

Diabetics struggle with high oxidative stress and berries like blueberries, blackberries, raspberries etc. contain high levels of antioxidants and fibre. Thus, when talking about the best food for diabetes control, berries make a grand entry. Add them to smoothies, eat a bowl full as a snack or freeze them in popsicles, berries are really versatile as they are loaded with vitamins and minerals.

Probiotics are gut bacteria that improve digestion and promote general well-being. Foods like probiotic yoghurt can reduce inflammation and increase insulin sensitivity making them perfect diabetes treatment food. Plain varieties without sugar are ideal and can be topped with seeds, nuts, and fruits to make excellent breakfast bowls.

To conclude, we need a well-rounded approach towards tackling and controlling diabetes with proper diet charts and planning. The choice of foods to control diabetes is the most important factor here.

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