Wise Food Choices for the Diabetic

Some diabetics believe that all vegetables and fruits are safe for eating and since maida and rava are from wheat they are safe. Some avoid rice but eat rice flakes (aval).

We have studied and seen that making certain choices in our regular food can significantly reduce the sugar levels. The first factor to be understood is that any food containing more fiber is a better choice. E.g. Whole wheat, broken wheat and atta are better choices than maida, rava, sevia, noodles, pasta, etc. In the whole wheat the skin is difficult to digest and since the body has to work harder to digest it the blood sugar levels will come down. Similarly whole wheat or attta chapatti, whole wheat bread and wheat puttu are better than rice, idli, rice puttu and aval. These rice items are polished and have lost their fiber. Also ragi puttu, ragi dosa, ragi porridge, oats porridge and cornflakes are better to eat for a diabetic than rice items.

Bakery products are mostly made of maida and lots of dalda, vanspathi or butter is added to them so they are very, very dangerous for diabetics. Whole wheat bread is permitted and 2 marie/arrow root biscuits may be eaten at tea time (4.30pm). Please do not exceed 2 biscuits. All other biscuits have too much fat so please avoid. It is dangerous to eat puffed rice (bhel) as a snack at 4pm or 6pm as this is a rice item. Similarly idli, dosa, upma,etc., as evening snacks will raise the sugar levels. A bread sandwich or biscuits are the safe option.

Among vegetables those with more fiber and less starch must be chosen. All greens are good, cabbage, cauliflower, ladies finger, beans, brinjal, bitter gourd, ridge gourd, kovaika and peas are better choices than potato, colocassia, yam, tapioca and beet root. Radish, a little carrot and pumpkin may be eaten. But the potato, tapioca, etc., are best avoided. The other vegetables would be 30 calories for 100gm whereas potato or tapioca would be 90 calories for 100gms. I must mention that at both lunch and dinner a diabetic must try to eat 1-2 cups raw salad e.g tomato, cucumber, onion, cabbage, lettuce, etc. These are full of fiber and if eaten with a meal, helps to reduce the intake of quantity of rice and cooked food and also reduce the blood sugar.

Among fruits the only safe fruit for a diabetic to eat are Mosamabi, Orange, Apple, Pear and Pomegranate. These have a high fiber content. One may be eaten at 11am and any one more at 6pm. All kinds of bananas are dangerous and very high in their sugar content. One apple or orange is 50 calories. While one banana is 100 -120 calories. Even the small ellakki banana is high in sugar content. Also banana, mango, jackfruit, custard apple and chickoo are fruits which are very pulpy, with less fiber and so they make the blood sugar shoot up suddenly and must be strictly avoided if sugar levels are high.

Milk/Curds may be consumed but use only millk which has been thoroughly skimmed ( cream removed). Fish and chicken from fish or chicken curry may be eaten but without the gravy. The gravy is fatty and bad for diabetics. Dietary control and wise food choices is the secret to managing diabetes. If not managed well the complications of diabetes are destruction of the heart, kidney, eye sight, hearing, and gangrene in the foot.

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