Diabetic? Make these 5 dietary changes to manage weight, prevent blood sugar spikes  |  Photo Credit: iStock Images
Eating a variety of healthful foods from all food groups can help you keep blood sugar from spiking
A healthy, balanced diet will also help you lsoe weight and keep it off while boosting your overall health
If you have diabetes or prediabetes, the following tips may help you stick to a healthy diet that’s naturally rich in nutrients but low in fat and calories
New Delhi: Individuals who are living with diabetes or have a higher risk are risk are often advised lifestyle changes, including eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly. The truth is, diet plays a pivotal role in diabetes care and management. Making healthier food choices along physical activity can help you avoid putting on the pounds or maintain weight loss, which can help diabetics to better control blood sugar levels.
A healthy lifestyle will not only helps in reducing A1C levels, but also improve lipid profiles, decrease blood pressure, reduce the need for medications, and decrease the risk of onset and progression to diabetes-related comorbidities. The first priority is to promote and support a healthful eating pattern, emphasing a variety of nutrients – dense foods in appropriate portion sizes.
Dietary tips to keep your weight and blood sugar in check
“Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a chronic metabolic disorder characterized by persistent high blood glucose concentration due to impaired insulin hormone secretion, resistance to actions of insulin, or both. With changing lifestyles and increasing obesity, the prevalence of diabetes has increased worldwide proving it to be a global public health burden,” said Dhivya, senior dietician, Fortis Hospital, Bangalore, even as she suggests a few tips to keep blood sugar stable and control weight:
Track intake of carbohydrates: Monitoring carbohydrate intake is very essential in managing blood sugars. When choosing carbohydrate foods, opt for nutrient-dense, high-fibre foods like whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat milk instead of processed foods with added fat, sugars, and sodium. Apart from providing energy, carbohydrates also give the feeling of fullness for 3-4 hours after eating. This helps you to prevent munching unhealthy snacks in between and thereby reducing the overall calorie intake. Taking simple carbohydrates in the form of sugars, sweets, candy, and sugar-sweetened beverages like soft drinks, fruit juice concentrates, high-fructose corn syrup is not recommended .
Eat proteins: Including protein-high foods in your diet helps to satisfy hunger without much effect on blood glucose levels. A diet high in protein can also help you build lean muscle and lose weight by keeping you feel more satisfied and preventing overeating.
Choose good fats: The type of fat consumed is more important than total fat as diabetes is a risk factor of coronary heart disease. Unsaturated fatty acids like mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids should be substituted for foods high in saturated and trans-fats to prevent heart disease, which is common among diabetics. Including vegetable oils when cooking instead of butter, cream, margarine, or other animal fats is recommended. Consuming Omega-3 fatty acid rich-foods like flax seeds, chia seeds and fishes such as salmon, tuna, sardine, and mackerel can act as cardioprotective.
Do not skip meals: Skipping meals in diabetes is not recommended as it can lower the blood sugar levels. After taking medicine or insulin, skipping meals or delays in having food can result in hypoglycemia. Therefore, maintaining discipline in the meal timings is very important. Skipping can also lead to weight gain or make it harder to lose weight as it causes your metabolism to slow down.
Practice portion control: Portion control is emphasised in managing weight as well as sugar better. It is advised to have three small-to-moderate main meals with two healthy snacks in between. Your healthy snacks could be fruits (seasonal fruits or local fruits), vegetable salads with sprouts or nuts, sprouts, boiled and tempered pulses, poached or boiled egg whites, soups, buttermilk, etc. The plate method is widely used to control the portion sizes, which helps one to include all the food groups in the required quantity thus helping in incorporating a healthy eating pattern.
In the recent scenario where most people are working from home, increased usage of gadgets and screen time has reduced mobility. Also watching TV or mobile while having food interfere with mindful eating, which leads to the consumption of a larger quantity of food without enjoying or relishing the quality too. This in turn results in increased calorie intake. Maintaining a healthy weight is very essential for better sugar control – as overweight or obesity causes insulin resistance, which results in high blood glucose.
Increased physical activity along with a healthy diet can lead to improved glycemia, decreased insulin resistance, reduced cardiovascular risk, and better weight loss.
Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purpose only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.