Manage diabetes through the right foods
Diabetes numbers are at an all time high worldwide. And the bad news is that India has the highest population of people with type 2 diabetes, more than any other country in the world; yes that makes us the diabetes capital of the world. India has more than 69 million people with T2DM (type 2 diabetes mellitus), and these numbers are expected to rise to 140 million by 2040. According to a paper published by Indian researchers in the journal Current Diabetes Reviews, 2016, this could be due to the presence of higher body fat, abdominal fat, liver and pancreatic fat and lower lean mass than whites, all of which contribute to heightened metabolic and cardiovascular risk in Asian Indians. This paper also points out that the conversion from pre-diabetes to diabetes occurs more rapidly, and reversion to normal glucose regulation with appropriate lifestyle measures is more difficult in Asian Indians than white population.
The best way out of this conundrum and to avoid the laundry list of diabetes side effects and complications is to arm ourselves with information about this lifestyle disorder that is fast taking over our lives. And the most important factor here besides regular exercise and stress control is the food that you eat. Right information can work on both fronts – help prevent more people from becoming diabetic, and also help those who already are suffering from the disorder manage it better.
There are unfortunately lots of myths going around that need to be busted.
Carbs plus protein
Carbohydrates are not the enemy of the diabetics. They don’t need to give them up, instead just choose with care. Two steps that help are Swap refined grains for whole grains. Wholewheat atta, dalia, jowar, ragi, bajra and brown rice are better, as they release glucose in blood slowly.
And always combine complex carbs with quality protein as this helps slow down the release of glucose further and also makes the meal more filling.
Tip: Mixing flour like jowar, bajra and besan with wholewheat flour or atta to make roti is a good idea.
Be careful about the sugar intake
While it’s a myth that sugar is the only villain, the fact is that there are lots of other factors that can make your diabetes worse. But that said too much of sugar can be bad for us because one it’s found in fattening foods like cookies and ice cream a diet high in fat and sugar can make a person gain more weight (and become overweight), which can worsen their blood sugar levels immensely.
Up the protein intake
The role of eating the right carbohydrates (whole grains) to manage diabetes better is clear, but now the role of protein is getting more comprehensible too.
Protein in our diet helps boost insulin secretion, but along with the right quantity, the quality of protein too is very important, as many protein rich foods are often high in fats. So choose carefully.
For a diabetic choosing to include more good quality, easily digestible protein in the diet to build up the muscle mass and help cut the abdominal fat percentage is always a good idea.
If for some reason they are unable to meet the protein needs through foods they can include a good quality protein supplement with 8-10 grams of protein per serve that is trustworthy.
No point in loading the body with supplements that give excessive protein per serve, as they will only load up your body organs without giving any additional benefit.
Lose weight with protein
Being overweight increases your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes side effects. Losing even 5% to 10% of the excess body weight, and engaging in regular physical activity always helps keep the disorder manageable. High abdominal fat (excess fat around the waist) is a huge risk factor for diabetics.
Prolonged stress leads to derangements of hormones like adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol, which raise blood sugar levels. And if this stress is consistently high, the on and off sugar elevation can become persistently high, resulting in worsening of diabetes. It can also result in increased and/or ‘bing eating’ which leads to weight gain, and that again leads to elevation of blood sugar. It helps to stick to high protein snacks or drinks to mitigate stress induced cravings.
Exercise also helps!
Those who exercise at least 150 minutes a week (or 30 minutes a day) have a better chance of managing their type 2 diabetes better. Research also shows that timing of the exercise is important and that a 10 minutes walk after eating helps brings post-meal blood sugar levels down by 22 percent, and is more effective than walking at other times of the day.