Diabetes is a dietary disease. You can make your food as medicine if you know how to balance your plate. If you understand how to balance your diet on the plate, then there is no forbidden food. However, few rules need to be followed to achieve this. But, before anything, we must know that eating healthy is the only way of managing diabetes. Helping us understand how diet can make our lives better, Suhasini Mudraganam, Chief Nutritionist, Truweight explains two important food concepts that strongly recommends for healthy eating: 50:25:25 ratio and Truweight Plate.
TIP 1 - Remember the ratio: 50: 25: 25
Only 50 per cent of the stomach should be filled with foo - balance 25% with water and 25 per cent with air. Let me elaborate a little more. Half the time, we confuse thirst with hunger and eat food. I have done it many times. How many of you might be making the same mistake? A golden rule to follow here is: Drink a glass of water 20-30 minutes before your meal. According to Ayurveda, water before the meal is Amrit, but after the meal is poison.
Lastly, 25% of the stomach should be filled with air, which means that you should stop eating when you are 75% full. Japanese have been practising it for years, and they live the longest. They call it Hara Hachi Bu. But why air? Let me explain with an analogy. If you put clothes in your washing machine, will you stuff it with no air? Will the washing machine function? You need some air in your stomach too for better digestion. And it will also prevent you from overeating.
TIP 2 - Truweight Plate
The food plate should be 50 per cent vegetables, 25 per cent protein, 25 per cent carb. Look at a typical Indian thali, especially south Indian thali. There is a lot of white rice with a small bowl of dal and vegetables. It is largely, 65 per cent carb, 20 per cent vegetables and only 15 per cent protein. This led to a diabetic epidemic making 15 crore Indians suffering from diabetes and prediabetes. No, I am not asking you to stop eating your favourite food, keep the ratio right.
Some essential tips to manage diabetes with food, following the 2 diabetes food concepts are:
Moderation is the best principle for a healthy life, not just in eating but in all walks of life. Stop eating when you are 75% full, do not stuff until you are 100% complete. This will cause more harm.
Keep a regular timing and eat in a calm and undistracted environment. Do not hurry while eating. You may not just eat more in a hurry, your meal might not be adequately digested. It takes twenty minutes to send the signal of fullness to your brain.
Incorporate foods that are natural or uncooked in your daily diet like fruits, sprouts, nuts, salads. We could also term them as nutrient-dense live foods.Incorporate pro and prebiotic-rich foods every day
Start the day with a glass of water with some lemon juice if it suits you. You will rehydrate, detoxify, boost immunity and also boost immunity with just this small change in your routine.
Few soaked raw nuts are a great source of essential nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids. Soaking will remove the anti-nutrient factors that will hinder the absorption of the nutrients. After overnight fasting, having nuts was seen to help with glucose control. Can use almonds which are rich in vitamin E and lower bad cholesterol, walnuts which are good sources of good fat omega-3 fatty acids.
Watch: How and when to eat walnuts:
Breakfast has to be a combination of slow carbs, protein fat and fibre.
Not Low Carb, but Slow Carb - Instead of a low or no-carb diet, we recommend a slow carb diet. A diet which releases sugar slowly in your body. So, it consists of more complex carbs instead of simple carbs. Good examples of complex carbs are millets, brown rice, peas, beans, whole grains, legumes, and vegetables. We can’t imagine a life without these healthful food items. Incorporate these healthy carbs in moderation as per the plate concept.
Good quality protein, as part of breakfast will help balance insulin levels, controls your appetite during the day and keeps your energy levels high as per the research. Often people skip breakfast. Some say they are not hungry in the morning as they are used to skipping their breakfast. However, start taking small portions to begin with. As we are more active during the day, we would be using up the calories eaten during the day than storing.
Protein is the third macronutrient apart from fat and carb. Protein’s impact on blood glucose levels is much lower than that of carb. Also, an increase in blood glucose happens gradually. So, it’s very clear that it’s essential to reduce unhealthy carbs, add healthy fats and increase protein consumption to manage your blood sugar levels better.
Fats can be healthy too! Have fat in moderation and consume healthy fats. We strongly advocate fat from seeds, nuts, avocados, extra virgin olive oil. Fat is not only tasty, it also keeps you full for a longer duration. Moreover, fat’s impact on insulin production is almost negligible. Hence, it becomes even better for diabetes.
Watch: Diabetes Diet Tips For The Pandemic Phase:
Mid meal snacks - Choose your mid-morning snacks carefully. Avoid refined, highly processed or fried foods.
When to have a fruit - Fruit has some amount of sugars and a whole load of other nutrients and plant chemicals that are extremely beneficial to our health. Have the fruit between the meals but not with a meal. It is a good pre-workout meal. Can have seasonal fruit 30 minutes before your walk or any other exercise routine.Can be had as a mid-morning snack as well. Diabetes has one fruit per day between meals. If the fruits are very sweet like mango, chicko, custard apple, banana etc then stick to smaller portions.
Dinner - This has to be a light meal with a small amount of whole grains, protein and fibre
Focus on addition - When it comes to eating healthy, the biggest problem is that people lose motivation in just a couple of weeks, if not a couple of days. When you think of dieting, what comes to your mind: adding food or deleting food? If you are like 99% of people, then you would associate diet with deleting food and eating less. And that’s the reason diets fail.
Similarly, focus on adding good foods to your diet, bad foods will automatically go away. But if you focus on deleting foods, you will feel that you are sacrificing something and also you feel deprived.
Top 3 foods I would recommend you to add today are: Salads, Sprouts and Soaked nuts like almonds and walnut.
With inputs from Suhasini Mudraganam, Chief Nutritionist, Truweight
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