In the past few years, India has witnessed a steep hike in the number of diabetes patients. This is due to erratic food habits, lack of physical activities, imbalance in lifestyle and more of stress. As per Research, out of 15 persons, 1 person is having Diabetes. Diabetes mellitus or “madhumeh” has been known for centuries as a disease related to sweetness. In other words, Diabetes is a metabolic disorder characterized by high blood sugar level (hyperglycemia) over a prolonged period of time.
In Diabetes, either the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin or what is produced is not effective in controlling the blood sugar. Lack of effective insulin results in inadequate utilization and consequent rise in blood sugar. This affects the metabolism of several nutrients, with varying ill-effects.
Symptoms often include frequent urination, increased thirst, increased appetite, sudden increase or decrease in weight, extreme fatigue, sores that don’t heal. If left untreated, diabetes can cause many health complications. Untreated high blood sugar from diabetes can damage your nerves, eyes, kidneys and other organs.
Myths about diabetes
1. One common and wrong belief is that diabetes can be cured by medicines, but fact is that diabetes is a progressive disease or disorder. It can be controlled with help of medicines, following a healthy life style regime like yoga, meditation, exercise, eating healthy diet at right time with proper proportions of carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
2. Eating too much sugar, candies, sweet dishes, mithai, and ice-creams may cause diabetes. This is not true as it is not directly related to eating sugar, but it is very much affected by diet we eat in general, our lifestyle, genetics, and obesity.
3. There is a huge misconception that Indian staple food has high amount of carbohydrates and sugar, so one cannot sustain a healthy lifestyle and cannot control blood sugar levels. On the contrary there a lots of SUPERFOODS that help in managing your blood sugar levels.
4. One common myth about diabetics is that they can eat only wheat not rice. This is not true. Both wheat and rice have almost similar glycemic index and raise the blood sugar to a similar extent. Therefore, it should not matter whether one takes wheat or rice as long as the total quantity is restricted. As many diabetics feel it more convenient to count as well as to reduce the number of chapattis they eat than to measure the amount of rice they consume.
5. The person having diabetes should restrict carbohydrates. It is recognized that carbohydrates need not be restricted and that the normal Indian diets which provides 60 -65% of calories from carbohydrates is right for diabetics. Diets containing high carbohydrates improve the action of insulin. The type of carbohydrates we eat has a direct bearing on the blood sugar level, rather than the amount of carbohydrates in the diet. Complex carbohydrates present in cereals and pulses are better for diabetics than sweets containing simple sugars.
6. Eating Bitter substances like karela, neem methi dana, will reduce the blood sugar levels. But, fact is bitter substances have minimum effect on blood sugar levels. Taking too much of them can cause severe gastritis problems.
7. Another wrong belief is that if one eats less, blood sugar can be controlled easily. But, the fact is if one eats less, one can feel weak, lethargy, which can hampers your daily activities or can lead to low sugar i.e hypoglycemia and result in diabetic coma or unconsciousness.
8. Diabetic diet plan is same for everyone and one can follow the same diet plan. Everybody has a different body and therefore dietary requirements are differentfrom the other members of your family.Not all diabetes diet plans are suitable for everyone. You should consult your dietician first before starting and diet chart for diabetes. This helps in maintaining your healthy blood sugar levels and supply nutrients to nourish your body.
Nutritional management in diabetes
Healthy eating is a central part of managing diabetes. In some cases, changing your diet may be enough to control the disorder. There is no doubt that dietary treatment and nutritional management is one of the corner stones and one of the pillars in the management of all types of Diabetes mellitus, it essentially means the education of the diabetic to follow the dietary advice and treatment. The goals of diet therapy are to maintain and prolong a healthy, productive and satisfying life. Adapting diet therapy to the specific needs of an individual patient is most essential. Following are some dietary tips:
1. The total calories must be restricted in most of the individuals especially with excess of weight. They require a caloric diet less than in normal (1400 to 1660 calories). Out of this carbohydrates should be between 60 to 65% of total calories of the diet, unrefinedcarbohydrates and foods with high fibre contents should be included taking into the account its many advantages.
2. Protein should be 15 to 20% of total calories of diet.High concentrated protein foods in large amounts may be avoided.
3. Fat should be 15 to 20% of total calories intake with 1/3rdas mono unsaturated,1/3rd as polyunsaturated and 1/3rd as saturated as it has been found useful to include the advantages from all of them.
4. Fine sugar and rapidly absorbed sugar (sucrose and glucose) may be avoided or eliminated to avoid metabolic excursions except in low sugar i.ehypoglycemia.
5. Dietary fibre , approximately 27 to 40 gm may be beneficial in maintain GI function and in treating or preventing several benign GI disorders related to diabetes.
6. Emphasize more on seasonal vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein such as poultry and fish, nuts, seeds.
7. Eat small and frequent meals, after every 2 to 3 hours take something.
8. Take healthy snacks like roasted peanuts, makhana, channa, dhokla, sprouted salad, lobia or channa salad.
9. Take plenty of fluids in the form of fresh coconut water, green tea, fresh lime soda, clear soups, butter milk, shakes, smoothies without sugar.
10. Restrict your alcohol and tobacco consumption.
11. Avoid eating junk foods like pizza, burgers, noodles, hot dogs, sausages etc.
12. Avoid consuming canned juices, canned soups, squashes, as it contain artificial flavouring agents, sugar and preservatives.
13. Do not skip your breakfast. Your body becomes vulnerable to metabolic disorders by skipping meals especially breakfast. This allows your body to gain weight and disturbs insulin function.
14. Yoga and Meditation help you to overcome physiological fluctuations.
Diabetes management concentrates on keeping blood sugar levels as close to normal. The main modes of treatment of diabetes are healthy diet,physicalexercise,walk, proper medications and education. Diabetics can lead a normal life provided they make certain changes in their lifestyle,particularly in their diet. Healthy eating habits can keep your blood glucose levels in a normal range. Diabetics should maintain blood sugar and lipid levels than normal limits to prevent acute and long term complications.