Diabetes mellitus is the condition of hyperglycemia, i.e. when the blood sugar level increases. Hence, in a diabetic person, it is very important to monitor the amount of sugar (especially glucose) in the blood. If the amount of sugar increases, then the diabetes would definitely aggravate and it would result into severe complications.
A proper dietary management is the first and perhaps the most essential part of diabetes mellitus treatment. There is a long list of dietary dos and don’ts that are associated with diabetes mellitus. In fact, the dietary restrictions are so severe that it can lead to mental trauma in the patient and make the disease much more insufferable. Yet, dietary management is extremely necessary for people who wish to keep their disease to a controllable level and to lead a longer life.
Foods that are Dangerous for Diabetes Mellitus
Let us first begin with the foods that are extremely dangerous for the condition of diabetes mellitus. Normally, these foods can be put under two broad categories: carbohydrate foods and fatty foods.
Carbohydrates are classified into sugars and starches. In the human body, ultimately all sugars and starches are converted into the simplest form of carbohydrates, i.e. glucose. But it must be remembered at the same time that the energy requirement of the body is met due to the carbohydrates we consume. For this reason, carbohydrates must be consumed in moderation. The following foods contain high amounts of carbohydrates:-
- Rice and potatoes are very rich in their starch content. In the same manner, all kinds of bread contain many carbohydrates. These must be definitely eliminated from the diet.
- Sugar in all its forms must be avoided as far as possible. This includes the condensed form of sugar known as jaggery. Honey must be avoided as it contains several sugars in it.
- Jams, jellies and marmalades must be strictly prohibited. These foods contain fruits that are preserved in sugars.
- Fruits contain a high carbohydrate content due to the presence of sugars in them. However, they must not be totally avoided. They can be taken in moderate amounts since they are easily digestible and will help the body to meet its energy requirement.
Fats are concentrated sources of food. They provide many calories to the body, but they have little nutritional value. Above that, fats accumulate in the body leading to obesity and clogging the blood vessels, which can cause severe complications of the disease. For this reason, fats may be more dangerous than even carbohydrates in the condition of diabetes mellitus.
The following foods contain fats and must be taken in moderation:-
- Avoid all saturated oil. Use unsaturated oils such as canola or olive oil for cooking.
- As far as possible, do not use oil in your cooking.
- Avoid red meats as they contain higher fatty content in them.
- Milk and milk products contain a high amount of fats. Milk is an emulsion of fat and oil. Hence, you must reduce your intake of milk and all its products.
Managing the diet is an important part of diabetes mellitus treatment. Of course, diabetes mellitus cannot be cured with just a diet, but at least it can be brought in control. Diet will help you to monitor the level of the blood sugar.
The following are some suggestions to make a healthy diet for controlling diabetes mellitus:-
- All bitter vegetables are excellent in reducing the blood sugar level. You must consume one bitter vegetable in every meal you take. You can choose between the vegetables such as bitter gourd and the bitter variety of drumstick.
- Sour foods containing high vitamin C in them are good for diabetes mellitus. The Indian gooseberry, popularly known as the amalaki, and a prime component of the Ayurvedic Triphala powder is very good in dissolving excess fats in the body and in bringing the blood sugar level down.
- Reduce on your total fat intake. Instead of frying foods, try other options such as baking, roasting, steaming, grilling, which require little or no oil. Another good option is to marinate the foods with many spices and herbs beforehand to make them more palatable.
- Red meats contain more fatty acids than white meats. Avoid mutton, pork and beef; but chicken and seafood are okay. Insist on using lean cuts of meat.
- Mostly, a wholesome meal with all the required dietary nutrients must be taken.
An Example Diet for Diabetes Mellitus
The following is an example of a good diet for people suffering from diabetes mellitus:-
Breakfast – Have one egg with one slice of bread or wheat chappatis. You can have the juice of a citrus fruit or half a glass of milk without sugar. Tea or coffee without sugar can also be taken.
Lunch – Any green leafy vegetable with chicken or fish can be consumed. Mutton can be had sometimes. Vegetables are essential. Include at least one bitter vegetable dish. Include a light salad made without oil.
Tea – Have no more than two sweet biscuits or four salted biscuits. You can have tea or coffee without sugar and with no more than 30 ml of milk.
Dinner – Dinner can be similar to the lunch.
Bedtime – Have a glass of milk without sugar to satisfy your protein intake.
In conclusion, it must be remembered that diabetes mellitus is not a disease that means the end to culinary enjoyment forever. You can still enjoy a good meal with moderation.