Diabetic Indian Diet is the diet that is formulated based on Indian foods, in order to meet the dietary requirements of an individual with Diabetes. For a diabetic individual, dietary intervention is very important in maintaining the blood glucose levels as close to the normal levels as possible. Ideally, accurate medication, appropriate nutrition and daily exercise form the three pillars of support that can set a Diabetic on the path to good health.
Interestingly, it has been found that the traditional Indian Diet with some alterations may be considered close to the ideal diabetic diet. By making certain changes in the existing dietary pattern, it may be possible to make an individual’s diet compatible to one that a diabetic needs to comply with. Modifications in the existing diet itself, with no drastic changes have been shown to increase patient compliance.
Laws Governing Diabetic Indian Diet
- The diet prescribed needs to be individualized; it must take into account a person’s likes and dislikes, age, Body Mass Index [BMI], lifestyle and also concurrent health issues if any.
- The most basic dietary rule is to eliminate all kinds of simple carbohydrates in the diet such as sugars, jaggery, honey, sweets, as these are calorie dense and tend to raise the blood glucose levels easily.
- Total Calorie consumption in a day must be evaluated based on an individual’s current weight status and the optimal targeted weight. Usually it is found that Diabetics are already overweight and therefore it is crucial that they get rid of excess body weight, rather than gain further. This is important for diabetics to maintain better blood sugar control as well as to prevent other related health concerns such as cardiovascular problems, arthritis etc. Daily intake should provide approximately 30 calories/kg ideal body weight.
- Carbohydrates should provide 60-70% of total calories and must be consumed majorly in the form of complex carbohydrates supplying adequate fibre to the diet.
- While simple sugars and calorie-dense sweets need to be avoided, rice, potato and fruits within limits are allowed to form part of the Diabetic Indian Diet. Extremely sweet fruits must be avoided like mangoes, custard apples, chickoos etc. Papaya, apple, guava, citrus fruits are more suitable.
- Protein intake constitutes around 12-18% of total calories and is calculated to be about 0.8 g/kg ideal body weight. In case of diabetic nephropathy, protein intake may need restriction.
- Fat intake should be limited to providing no more than 20-25 % of the total calories. Obviously fat intake needs to be restricted with cholesterol and saturated fats avoided and mono and poly unsaturated fat intake maintained within prescribed limits to avoid generating an abnormal lipid profile. In India, the traditional cooking media used such as ghee, coconut oil or mustard oil may have high saturated fat content but their constrained use allows a more optimal intake of the omega 6/omega 3 essential fatty acid intake. When total amount of fat used in cooking is minimal, then the saturated fat content of these cooking media may be offset by the health benefits associated with optimal intake of omega 6/omega 3 essential fatty acids.
- Salt restriction is advised especially in diabetics with fluid accumulation, cardiac failure and hypertension
- Alcohol and smoking are best avoided.
- Following a regular exercise pattern and strict adherence to timings – both meals and medications are essential to prevent hyper and hypoglycemia.
Benefits of Indian Diabetic diet
- Better patient compliance
- Weight loss and weight maintenance
- Control of blood glucose levels as close to the normal range as possible
- Consumption of small frequent meals avoiding unnecessary blood sugar spikes
- Fibre and protein content enhance satiety so huger pangs do not emerge frequently.