Can people with diabetes enjoy fruits or are they off-limits? I explain how diabetics can keep fruits in the diet without causing their blood sugar levels to spike.
One of the challenges of diabetes is managing your blood sugar levels. The first macro-nutrient to be blamed is carbohydrates. As Indians, carbohydrates form an important component of the meal in the form of rice, chapattis, bread, etc. Does having diabetes mean you have to give up on all that?
Not necessarily. With a little planning and understanding, you can change the way you compose your meal so you don’t have to say goodbye to your favourite carbohydrate, whether its rice, chapattis or bread.
In this episode of Dietary Dialogue, Dr Madan talks about fats and how to get the right balance of saturated and unsaturated fats in your meals.
As the country celebrates its 67th year as a republic, we are faced with a strange dilemma. On one hand, the country continues to grapple with malnutrition in certain parts, visiting an urban school or college paints a different picture. High body fat among children and teenagers, and in some cases, even obesity.
This high body fat – the unhealthiest tissue of the body goes hand in hand with very less muscle mass – the healthiest tissue of the body.
This is what dieticians call as ‘lean obesity’ which looms over Indian children. It is a matter of utmost concern as this high body fat is the beginning of an inflammatory environment in the body, which is the root cause of early onset of non-communicable diseases – pre-diabetes, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, polycystic ovarian disease, bone disorders and the list goes on…
What can be done?
Watching what they eat is the first step to addressing this issue. If we know our everyday foods, the quantity, and frequency of consumption, we can work towards reversing this issue. Here are the top ten tips to keep in mind
- Do not skip breakfast: Plan wholesome, nutrient dense and convenient options. Ideal Combination includes A source of good quality protein (egg whites/low fat milk or yoghurt/chicken/tofu/low fat cottage cheese) with one to two servings of whole grain cereal base coupled with dietary fiber (stuffed roti/ thepla/ bran bread sandwich / muesli / oats/ whole grain flakes). Research shows that breakfast skippers have high body fat.
- Snack smart through the day: Good quality fats through handful of nuts in your diet brings the right balance of fatty acids like Omega-3 and MUFA in your diet (mainly from invisible fats) which favour the synthesis of protective prostaglandins or biochemical regulators which are non-inflammatory. You can replace your refined carbs based snacks with two ounces (56 g) of almonds or a combination of almonds, walnuts, cashew and pistachio. Healthy snacks build mucles and keep body fat low.
- Use whole fruit as a snacking option: A minimum of two to three seasonal coloured fruits – medium size – is a good consideration. You create a good gut environment by the soluble and insoluble fibre in fruits, besides the antioxidants. Based on antioxidant potential, fruits that are highly rated include guava, pomegranate, apple, pear, and citrus fruits. High fibre intake lowers body fat.
- Say NO to refined starches and trans fats: Which come from khari, ghutli, naan, pav, biscuits, roomali roti, burgers, pizza, rolls, doughnuts, pastries,etc. These should only be ‘some time’ foods in rationed amounts. Research shows that children consuming higher quantities of refined starches and trans fats have higher body fat. Higher intake of refined carbohydrate and restaurant food is associated with increase in body fat.
- Say NO to empty calories: especially cola drinks & other carbonated beverages. Good beverage choices include butter milk, coconut water, citrus juices, amla juice, fresh lime soda etc. Empty calories increase body fat.
- Add seasonal vegetables: all seasonal leafy vegetables, & other vegetables especially cruciferous, coloured vegetables, variety of beans etc. Make salad an inherent part of your meals. Regular intake of salads with vegetables is related to lower body fat. Be careful of hygiene and sanitation. A light heat treatment to vegetables especially in the rainy season may be advisable. High fibre intake lowers body fat.
- Get One Hour of Physical activity every day: Aerobic play, dance, 10,000 steps and resistance exercise – calisthenics, yoga, or martial arts, taekwondo, capoeira. Regular physical activity decreases body fat.
- Get atleast 6-8 hours of sleep every day: Research shows lack of sleep favours accumulation of body fat. Adequate sleep decreases body fat.
- Prioritize consuming lots of fluids in a day preferably through a conscious increase in water intake (12 glasses /day).
- Do a good deed every day and keep the smile on your face! Destressing lowers body fat.
It’s a new year and it’s time for New Year Resolutions! Before you plan on the new fad diet that’s doing the rounds with your friends and family to shed those holiday kilos, making a commitment to the gut rather than the belly is what today’s nutria-sciences are asking people to follow.
How is the ‘gut’ different from the ‘belly’ you ask? Gut health is defined by the number of beneficial bacteria or microflora which you can harbour in your gut (which extends from your stomach to large intestine), so gut health is the strength of the inner lining of your Gut!
One of the most important factor which determines this is the ‘Quality of Food’ which we eat. A recent researched published data indicates that a diet high in fat and low in fibre can change your gut flora in 24 hours!
What this means for the food you consume is that an overemphasis on animal proteins, high fat cuts, refined carbohydrates like maida and maida-based products and poor-quality fat like saturated fats and trans fats can tilt the balance to harmful microflora in a very short time.
What does this harmful microflora do? It creates an inflammatory environment in the body. In other words, it weakens immunity, favours abnormal hormonal changes pushing us to prediabetes, favours formation of bad cholesterol and clot forming substances, thereby increasing risk of heart disease.
So, that’s your new year’s resolution should be to protect and build our Gut Microbial Flora.
Here are some simple steps you can follow:
- Be wise when you fill your plate – Half of your plate should be veggies (lightly cooked or raw or steamed)
- Get a lot of plant proteins in your daily diet – Pulses, dals, peas, beans, nuts, and oilseeds
- Get good quality fat – High Omega 3 and MUFA (monounsaturated fat). Select from black chana, chawli or lobia, urad dal, rajma, soyabean, walnuts, almonds, tilseeds, melon seeds, chia seeds, methi seeds, green leafy vegetables, bajra flour — all these foods give you good quality fats.
- Use limited quantity of Omega 3 and MUFA rich oil (3 teaspoon per person per day). Choose from rice bran, olive, soyabean or use a blended oil.
- Say NO to refined flour and saturated fats, trans fats – Foods like khari, ghutli, pav, rumali roti, doughnuts, pastries, cakes, biscuits are all based on refined flour and saturated fats. Instead use whole grains-based products with good quality fats.
- Use prebiotic foods like raw banana, whole chana, bajra flour, which are rich in resistant starch which is a prebiotic (specialized plant fibre that beneficially nourishes the good bacteria already in the large bowel or colon). Enhance the prebiotic effect by steaming and cooling or roasting with fat.
- Get a Probiotic source – beneficial live microorganism of specific species (Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli) in your daily diet.
- Avoid indiscriminate use of antibiotics and self-medication!
- Get exercise of a minimum of half an hour to one hour every day and count your steps – with a minimum of 10,000 steps per day.
Here’s wishing all of you a happy and healthy 2018!
Picture: Josee Holland