plan for diabetes diet

Diet Plan for Diabetes – Guide, Food Lists, and Precautions

If you are suffering from diabetes, having a proper diet plan works wonders for you.

This proper guide and food list keep you healthy and disease-free.

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic medical condition that occurs when the pancreas is unable to produce sufficient insulin,

Or is not able to utilize the insulin produced by the body.

This, in turn, causes the blood glucose level to rise.

Hyperglycemia refers to an increase in blood sugar.

It is also responsible for causing serious damage to different organs of the body along with nerves and blood vessels. 

As per the WHO, during the year 2014, 8.5% of adults aging more than 18 years had diabetes and during 2016,

1.6 million people died due to diabetes. 

Types of Diabetes:

  1. Type 2 diabetes
  2. Type 1 diabetes
  3. Gestational diabetes
  4. Impaired glucose tolerance and impaired fasting glycemia

Type 2 Diabetes:

In people with Type 2 diabetes, the body is not able to respond to insulin.

It is also referred to as non-insulin-dependent diabetes.

With uncontrolled type 2 diabetes one can have high levels of blood sugar.

It is the most common form of diabetes prevalent in humans.

The main cause of type 2 diabetes included physical inactivity and unmanaged body weight.

Earlier it was prevalent only in adults but recently cases in children have also increased. 

In people with type 2 diabetes, the cells do not get enough glucose,

As a result, the glucose level in blood elevates resulting in damage to the nerve, kidney, eyes,

And also may lead to cardiovascular disease.

But if you are suffering from type 2 diabetes,

Then a well-balanced diet will help in keeping your blood sugar levels in check.

Having a proper Diet Plan for Diabetes is A great boon to your health.

This, in turn, will help to keep your weight normal, reducing other complications risk like heart disease, eye damage, etc.

Risk factors of type 2 diabetics include overweight, middle-aged, have a family history of the disease,

Have a condition of high blood pressure and cholesterol, etc.

Type 1 Diabetes:

Type 1 diabetes is characterized by a reduction in insulin production by the body and the patient needs daily administration of insulin.

Symptoms of Type 1 diabetes include polyuria, thirst, fatigue, and weight loss.

Type 1 diabetes is generally genetic and it runs in families. 

Gestational Diabetes:

It is the diabetic condition that occurs during pregnancy.

The values of blood glucose levels are higher than normal but are less than a person with diabetics.

Gestational diabetics occur if you are overweight, above 25 years, have a family history of type 2 diabetes, have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

Impaired Glucose Tolerance (IGT) and Impaired Fasting Glycemia (IFG):

These are intermediate conditions where persons oscillate between a normal level of glucose and a diabetic level.

These persons have a higher risk of acquiring type 2 diabetes.

What are the Symptoms of Diabetes?

Symptoms of diabetes include increased hunger, thirst, unexplained weight loss, polyuria, vision blurred, extreme fatigue, and sores that do not heal.

What are the Complications with Diabetes?

High blood sugar is responsible for organ and tissue damage in the body.

Complications include heart disease, neuropathy, loss of vision, skin infections, dementia, etc.,

How are Diabetics Diagnosed?

A blood test is performed for the diagnosis of blood sugar. Fasting plasma glucose (FPG) is performed after fasting for 8 hours. 

A1C test is performed and has a history of blood sugar level in the last 3 months.

What is the need for a Diet Plan for Diabetes Patients?

The most important aspect of a diabetic diet plan is eating the healthiest foods in the right amount and maintaining the timings of the intake of food.

Keeping a healthy diet and being physically active helps to maintain the blood sugar level in the normal range.

For maintaining a normal blood sugar range one needs to balance and keep an eye on what one eats and how much physical activity one is engaged in.

Though it seems difficult at first with time one becomes accustomed and finds it easier to manage.

Maintaining a diabetic diet plan helps you control blood sugar levels, manage your weight, and control high blood pressure levels.

By being physically fit and active one can keep high blood sugar at bay,

Cholesterol levels can also be maintained and a general feeling of goodness can be achieved. 

What Type of Food Choices are Considered Healthy in Diet Plan for Diabetes?

The diabetic diet plan should include healthy foods and can also include some of your favorite sweets but the portion size should be small.

A diabetic diet is nothing but a healthy plan of eating nutrient-rich food which is low in fat and carbohydrates. 

A healthy diabetic diet should include vegetables; non-starchy vegetables including broccoli, tomatoes, peppers, and carrots,

And starchy vegetables including potatoes, corn, and green peas. 

Fresh fruits like apple, banana, orange, melon, berries, etc., should also be included. 

Whole grains including wheat, rice, oats, barley should be included in the diet in the form of bread, pasta, and cereal.

Protein-rich food such as chicken, fish, eggs, nuts, and peanuts should also be included along with milk, yogurt, and cheese.

A diabetic diet is all about balance, and a chart should be created keeping in mind and replacing unhealthy food with healthy foods.

The aim is to eat natural, unprocessed food, and avoid junk and preservative added processed foods.

The following chart gives the details of the food one needs to avoid and also the list of items one should eat.

AvoidInclude in diet
Deep-fried foodsNuts, olive oil, fish oil, avocados
Packaged fast foods including bakery items, sweets, chips and dessertFresh fruits and vegetables
Sugary cerealsHigh- fiber cereals
Processed meatFish and shellfish
Fat-free yogurtProteinaceous foods like egg, beans, and unsweetened yogurt

How to Limit the Intake of Carbohydrates as a Diet Plan for Diabetes?

Carbohydrates impact the spike in blood sugar levels more than the fats and proteins.

So, one should limit the intake of carbohydrates and should choose the foods wisely.

This involves limiting the intake of simple carbohydrates like white bread, rice, and carbonated drinks.

But high-fiber complex carbohydrates should be included in the diet as these do not cause a spike in the blood glucose and is released slowly,

And also does not require the production of lots of insulin in a single meal.

Carbohydrates are classified into two types:

Complex Carbohydrates:

These include the foods that have low-carbs in their whole food form,

And also has other additional nutrients like fiber, vitamins, and also a small number of proteins and fats.

Simple Carbohydrates:

These include foods that raise blood sugar levels and do not contain any other nutrients to slow down its absorption.

They are usually processed foods. 

What are the foods one should include in the Diet Plan for Diabetes?

1. Fish:

Fish are good sources of protein, omega 3 fatty acids, and are helpful for the formation of bones and is also good for skin and eyes.

Salmon, sardines, herring are the best sources of omega 3 fatty acids.

The National Health Service (NHS) advises taking two portions of fish per week.

One potion is equivalent to140 g of cooked food.

Research suggests that intake of omega 3 fatty acids on a regular basis is beneficial for persons having diabetes,

As these patients have a higher risk of heart disease and stroke.

Fishes are a good source of high-quality proteins and as such increase the metabolic rate and make one feel full.

It has also been hypothesized that eating fish reduces the risk of developing type-2 diabetes.

2. Leafy Vegetables:

Green leafy vegetables are highly nutritious and have low calories.

Vegetables contain fibers and are low in simple carbohydrates, thus it keeps the blood sugar levels normal.

Spinach and other leafy vegetables are good sources of vitamin C ad minerals.

One study has found that with higher vitamin C intake, inflammatory markers are reduced,

And fasting blood sugar levels and high blood pressure levels are checked.

In addition to this, green leafy vegetables are rich in antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin.

They protect the eyes from cataracts which are often accompanied by diabetes.

3. Include Eggs in your Diet:

Eggs are good sources of protein. A whole egg contains 7 gm of proteins.

Eggs are also a good source of potassium which is useful for nerves and helps in the improvement of muscle health.

In addition to potassium, eggs contain lutein and choline.

Lutein protects against diseases and choline helps in the improvement of brain health.

Egg yolk consists of biotin which is important for healthy hair, skin, and nails.

Click here to read the awesome egg diet regime.

Eggs decrease inflammation and also improve insulin sensitivity.

One study also showed that patients with type-2 diabetes who took 2 eggs daily as part of their diet had improvements in cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

4. Lentils:

Lentils are to be included in the diet as they contain important vitamins, a high level of proteins and fiber.

They are also rich in iron, minerals, and folate.

5. Nuts to include in the Diet Plan for Diabetes:

All nuts are rich in fiber and have low levels of digestible carbohydrates.

Nuts that should be included in the diet are Almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia, pistachios, walnuts.

Research shows that regular consumption of various nuts reduced inflammation and lowers the level of blood sugar levels.

Another study found that people who included 30 grams of walnut in their diet lost weight significantly. 

6. Broccoli:

Broccoli is a nutrient-rich vegetable and contains a very less amount of digestible carbohydrates.

It is rich in vitamin C and magnesium.

Studies have shown that broccoli helps in lowering insulin levels,

And also helps in the protection of the cells from free radicals. 

7. Cinnamon:

Cinnamon is a spice used in the preparation of curries.

They have high antioxidant properties and the study suggests,

That these can also be helpful in lowering blood sugar levels and improving insulin sensitivity. 

8. Chia Seeds:

Chia seeds are rich in fiber and low in carbohydrates,

Thus they do not cause blood sugar levels.

Due to its fibrous nature chia seeds reduce the rate at which food moves through the gut and is absorbed.

This, in turn, lower the blood sugar levels as food takes more time to get digested,

And slow release of glucose takes place.

Chia seeds being rich n fiber makes you feel full,

And as such can cause a lower intake of calories.

Chia seeds are also known to reduce blood sugar and inflammatory markers.

9. Turmeric:

Turmeric is another herb that has many health benefits.

The active ingredient curcumin has the ability to lower inflammation, blood sugar levels and also reduces heart risk. 

10. Curcumin:

Curcumin is another spice that helps in keeping the kidney healthy which is the organ most at risk in diabetics.

11. Greek yogurt:

Greek yogurt is known to improve blood sugar levels and reduce heart diseases.

The reason behind this is not known but it is hypothesized that it is because of the probiotics that it contains.

It is also known to promote weight loss and improve body composition in diabetic patients.

Moreover, green yogurt contains much less carb than that of conventional yogurt which is only 6-8 gram per serving.

It is also higher in proteins and serves in losing weight.

12. Low-Calorie drinks to include in the Diet Plan for Diabetes:  

Plain water is the most recommended but water with lemon juice, ice-cubes, and cucumber make it interesting and delightful. 

13. Whole grain, High-fiber foods to include in the Diet Plan for Diabetes:  

Legumes like dried beans, peas, and lentils can be included in the diet. 

14. Garlic: 

Studies have shown that garlic reduces inflammation along with blood sugar levels in diabetics.

It is also low in calories and thus is usually recommended.

15. Strawberries:

These are rich in antioxidants and research has shown that antioxidants reduce insulin and cholesterol levels.

They also help in the reduction of risk of high blood sugar levels and heart diseases. 

16. Apple Cider Vinegar: 

Apple Cider Vinegar contains very less amount of carbs as it is fermented to acetic acid.

Studies have shown that it can reduce blood sugar levels to around 20 % when taken with meals containing carbs. 

Tricks to Cut Down the Sugar Intake in Diet Plan for Diabetes:

It is important for every diabetic to limit sugar intake. So here are a few tricks one can undertake to help in limiting the same:

  • One can reduce the amount of sugar intake in a step-wise manner rather than abruptly. This will give time for the taste buds to adjust 
  • If you have cravings for dessert than its better if you cut down the intake of bread or rice in the meal.
  • This will limit the carbohydrate in the diet.
  • The addition of extra fat in the diet is also helpful as fats do not cause the glucose level to spike as carbohydrates do.
  • One can include healthy fat in the diet like yogurt, peanut butter, nuts, etc.
  • Sweets should be taken with other healthy foods as this does not cause the glucose level to spike as it would have if taken alone. 

What are the Approaches that one can take to create a Perfect Diet Plan for Diabetes?

There are several methods that can be opted to create the perfect diabetic chart. Some of the methods are listed below:

The Plate Method as a Diet Plan for Diabetes

The following steps are to be followed to create the perfect plate as a Diet Plan for Diabetes:

Half of the plate needs to be filled with non-starchy vegetables like spinach, carrots, and tomatoes

A  quarter of the plate is filled with protein, such as tuna or chicken

Nuts or avocados which are rich in good fats should be included in small amounts.

Addition of a serving of a fruit or dairy such as milk or yogurt and a drink of water or unsweetened tea or coffee is also recommended

Counting Carbohydrates in the Diet Plan for Diabetes:

Another method of planned diet is counting the amount of carbohydrate that is taken in.

Though it is quite difficult to count but keeping a count does help to control blood sugar levels,

As one becomes aware of the number of carbohydrates that are taken in.

A dietitian’s help is required to keep an exact measure of the food that is taken in.

One can thus learn to pay attention to the portion size that is taken in.

If one takes in insulin one can adjust the carbohydrate intake with the insulin taken in.

Glycemic Index importance in Diet Plan for Diabetes:

People with diabetics use the glycemic index to make a selection of food especially carbohydrates.

The Glycemic index is the ranking of carbohydrates in food in accordance with the affecting the blood glucose levels.

Foods with a low Glycemic index are to be selected as they cause a slow rise in blood sugar levels. 

Reference Diet Chart Plan for Diabetes:

Morning – Diet Plan for Diabetes:

As a Diet Plan for Diabetes, you can start your day with a glass of lukewarm water and one teaspoon of fenugreek seed powder.

This will flush out the toxins from one’s body. 

Fenugreek seeds contain high fiber and thus it slows down digestion and assists in the body’s absorption of food.

The seeds also increase the amount of insulin released by the body.

One study showed that a daily dose of 10 grams of fenugreek seeds soaked in water can help in controlling type 2 diabetes. 

Breakfast – Diet Plan for Diabetes:

Breakfast is usually the most rushed meal of the day as one is getting ready for office.

But care should be taken that it is not missed.

The following options ay has opted for a healthy breakfast.

The day can be started with a cup of tea or coffee.

It can be accompanied by two slices of whole wheat bread and egg omelet or  2 chappatis,

And a bowl of vegetables or vegetable dhalia, upma, or a bowl of muesli or a bowl of oats porridge. 

Midday – Diet Plan for Diabetes:

Diabetic should avoid keeping long breaks between meals and should take something or the other mid-day.

It can be a cup of tea with a biscuit or roasted peanuts or fruit.

Lunch – Diet Plan for Diabetes:

Lunch is one of the big meals of the day and one should give importance to it.

It can be a bowl of salad with a half a bowl of brown rice and one bowl of veggies and dal.

It can also be accompanied by chicken or fish and curd for dessert.

Evening Snacks – Diet Plan for Diabetes:

After you are back from work it is important to have a hearty evening snack. It can be a sandwich, whole fruit, or nuts.

Dinner – Diet Plan for Diabetes:

One can include one bowl of salad with a multigrain chapatti or a big bowl of vegetable daliya khichdi with curd

What foods need to be avoided for persons as a part of the Diet Plan for Diabetes?

Diabetes can cause the risk of heart disease and stroke,

And pose a threat to the development of clogged and hardened arteries.

The following foods if avoided can lower the risk of diabetes and spike in glucose levels.

1. Sugar-Sweetened Drinks:

These drinks have a high amount of carbs and can contribute to a spike in blood glucose levels.

Only 354 ml of carbonated drink can provide 38 gram of carbs.

The same is the case of sweetened tea or lemonade.

Moreover, they also contain fructose which is found to be responsible for insulin resistance and diabetes.

These beverages are also known to increase the risk of fatty liver, belly fat, and a rise in harmful cholesterol and triglycerides levels.

2. Trans Fats:

Trans-fats such as in margarine, peanut butter, spreads, creamers baked products, processed snacks, crackers, muffins, and frozen dinners.

They are created by adding hydrogen to unsaturated fatty acids so as to make them stable.

Though trans-fat does not raise the blood sugar levels directly they are found to be responsible for increased inflammation, insulin resistance, and belly fat.

These are high-risk factors for people with diabetes as they are at high risk of heart disease. 

3. White Bread and Pasta:

Foods prepared from refined flour like white bread significantly increase the blood sugar levels in patients with diabetics.

But replacing white bread with high-fiber bread showed a significant reduction in the blood sugar levels,

Along with reduced cholesterol and blood pressure. 

In addition to this gluten-free pastas were also shown to raise the blood sugar levels. 

4. Fruit-Flavored Yogurt:

Yogurt is generally added in the diet of diabetic but fruit-flavored yogurt should be avoided.

This is because flavored yogurts are mad from non-fat milk and with the addition of sugar and carbs.

A cup of yogurt contains 47 grams of carbs of which around 81% of its carbs are from the added sugar. 

5. Sweetened Breakfast Cereals:

Cereals should be avoided in the morning if possible for people with diabetes.

Cereals are highly processed food and as such contain more carbs than is generally labeled in the pack.

Moreover, they contain fewer amounts of proteins which are the recommended constituent for people with diabetics.

Thus, it is usually recommended to go for a different choice of breakfast than cereal. 

6. Honey, Agave Nectar, and Maple Syrup:

Apart from table sugar other natural sweeteners like honey, agave sugar, and maple syrup also cause glucose levels to spike.

They are also rich in carbs and as such and as such should be limited. 

7. Dry Fruits:

Fruits when dried lose water, as a result, its nutrients become concentrated along with its sugar content.

For example, a cup of grapes contains 27 grams of carbs and 1 gram fiber.

But one cup of resins contains 115 grams of carbs. Similar is the case with other fruits when is dried.

For a diabetic patient, fruits are recommended but only fresh fruit like berries and apples helps in keeping the blood sugar in range. 

8. Packaged Snacks:

Packaged snacks are usually made of refined flour and are very limited in nutrients.

But they contain fast-digesting carbs and thus have their part in the spike of blood sugar.

For example salted crackers contain 21grm of carbs, pretzels have 22grm of carbs.

Thus, for a diabetic, it is recommended to take in nuts when hungry rather than snacks which can be harmful.

9. French Fries:

French fries made of potatoes are rich in carbs and contain 37-gram carbs. Thus, they cause a spike in blood sugar. 

And after being deep-fried potatoes produce aldehydes which may cause inflammation and increase the risk of diseases.

French fries were also found to be linked with heart diseases and also cancer. 

10. Fruit Juice:

Though fruit juices are considered healthy it has high carbs sometimes even higher than sodas.

Fruit juices are also rich in fructose,

Which causes is known to cause insulin resistance, obesity, and heart disease. 

 11. Flavoured Coffee:

Coffee is known to reduce the risk of diabetes but flavored coffee is loaded with cabs.

Thus, for a person with diabetes, it is better to take the coffee black, unsweetened o with cream.

Final Conclusion:

Choosing the best food for oneself can be really confusing.

But the main thing in Diet Plan for Diabetes one should keep in mind is to know the unhealthy foods from healthy ones.

One should also keep oneself away from processed foods as much as possible.

These simple steps will help in reducing the risk of insulin resistance and other complications associated with high glucose levels.

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