Even though diabetes is on the rise, most diabetes cases are treatable by switching to a healthy lifestyle. Thus, knowledge about the right kind of diet for a diabetic is a must. Contrary to popular perception, food for diabetics shouldn't fall into the bland food category and neither does it mean giving up on sweets entirely. To debunk such myths and more, today we have Rekha Sharma, President- Indian Dietetic Association and Director at Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics, Diabetes Foundation (India) who exposes the top 5 diet myths related to diabetes

No #1 food myth related to diabetes. The links between diabetes and food are not fully understood.

Fact. What is known is that simply eating too much sugar is unlikely to cause diabetes, however if you are overweight and lead a sedentary lifestyle, the extra body area would require extra insulin, and if that is not produced enough due to family history etc – the blood sugars will rise . So, maintain your weight, eat small frequent meals, exercise regularly, consult your doctor for medication, if the blood sugars are high.
No #2 food myth related to diabetes. One does not need to give up one’s favourite foods on a diabetes diet.

Fact. Moderation is the key. Try changing the way your favourite foods are prepared like changing the cooking oil to something that has a lighter texture and is high in MUFA and low in saturated fats that is good for the heart, like olive oil. You can also try changing the other foods you usually eat along with your favourite foods. Reduce the serving sizes of your favourite foods and so on.

No #3 food myth related to diabetes. Sugar is the only important constituent to watch out for if you are diabetic.

Fact. Sugar is just one part of the “total carbohydrates” you’ll need to watch to keep your glucose levels stable. If eaten as part of a healthy meal plan, or combined with exercise, sugar, sweets and desserts can be eaten by people with diabetes. They are no more ‘off limits’ for people with diabetes than they are for people without diabetes, however it is essential to monitor your blood sugars on a regular basis.

No #4 food myth related to diabetes. Fats, sugar, carbohydrates are a big ‘no’ for diabetes patients.

Fact. Include at least 14 gms of fibre daily for every 1000 kcal consumed. Foods high in fibre help lower the blood cholesterol. Oats, whole grain bread, dried beans, peas, fruits and vegetables are good sources of fibre.

Isabgol has a good impact on lipids. Saturated fats should be cut down to a minimum, as they
Diet myths related to Diabetes
increase the cholesterol levels. Foods that need to be avoided include red meat, butter ghee, dairy products with fat and oils like coconut oil. Egg yolk should be avoided too.

Cholesterol intake, ideally, should not exceed 300 mg per day. Cholesterol rich foods include red meat, dairy products and eggs. Transfats which raise blood cholesterol levels should also be reduced in diet.

Therefore food items like cookies, crackers, snacks, bakery products, salad dressings , fried foods & microwave popcorns are best avoided. Contrary to the popular belief of restricting carbohydrates in the diet , at least 60% of our daily calories should come from carbohydrates.
No #5 food myth related to diabetes. Rice and potatoes should not be consumed by diabetic people.

Fact. Rice and potatoes can be consumed if mixed with daal or vegetables. Wheat is preferred due to its high fiber content but rice can also be consumed in a mixed meal. A low glycemic index must be maintained which is possible by having mixed meals, low in refined foods, high in fibre, proteins and minimally cooked. Glycemic index indicates how fast and how high a particular food can raise one’s blood glucose (blood sugar) level.

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