The Choice of the Cereal Grain and its Fibre Content are Important in Controlling Blood Sugar Levels for the Diabetic

The basic principle to follow while planning a diabetic patientís meal is to try and give whole cereals as far as possible. Whole cereal means cereals like wheat, ragi, oats, corn, jowar, bajra, etc., where the outer covering has not been removed and the grain not polished too much e.g., atta is from unpolished wheat. Maida is thoroughly polished wheat grain powdered. Whole wheat bread or brown bread is made from atta and white bread from maida. Similarly, we have polished white rice and unpolished brown rice. When we consume the unpolished cereal, we are consuming more fibre, which is an advantage for diabetic patients as it delays the rising of blood sugar levels. It prolongs the digestive process and raises the metabolism.

Therefore, we recommend oats, ragi porridge or broken wheat porridge for breakfast. Whole wheat bread or wheat rotis may be eaten. Idly for breakfast may be eaten once or twice a week as it is made of polished rice. Try not to eat rice items in the breakfast and if you do, avoid eating them on two consecutive days. Avoid idly for 6 pm snack or dinner. Rava or suji too is a polished item so is best avoided by diabetic patients. Ragi ball for lunch is a good idea. Broken wheat cooked like rice may replace rice for lunch. However, we must be careful about the quantity of broken wheat or ragi ball as both these items are heavy and high in calorie. Rice may be eaten at lunch time combined with whole wheat rotis. One or two rotis may be eaten along with half to three fourth cup of rice. At night whole wheat roti or bread may be eaten with dhal, curds and salad. The diabetics should strictly avoid rice and rice items like idli or dosa for dinner.

In the human body insulin is produced by the pancreas and it is this insulin that helps to regulate the sugar levels in our bodies. The body produces lower levels of insulin in the morning and evenings. Insulin levels are best around lunch time. Therefore, it is safest for a diabetic patient to eat rice or rice items during the lunch meal and best for them to avoid rice and rice items in the morning, evenings, and night.

Rice as a cereal grain is also seen to have the highest glycemic index. The glycemic index of rice is 88 while that of suji (rava) is 78, ragi 68, maida 70 and whole wheat atta or broken wheat is only 60. Here we see that whole wheat is the best choice of cereal for a diabetic patient. It is better to avoid rice, rice items and rava as much as possible.

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