Nothing you can consume is calorie-free except plain old water. Not even Coke Zero. Once diagnosed with diabetes, what you choose to eat each time plays an important role in maintaining your health as diabetes mellitus is a chronic disorder. India is known to be the diabetes capital of the world with an estimated 50 million suffering from diabetes type 2. Every high calorie, sugar-loaded, artificially sweetened, deep fried food you consume will either worsen your blood sugar levels or bring you that much closer to joining the Diabetic Club.
As a chronic condition, it is very important to make wise food choices every time you head to your favorite restaurant. While a customized diabetic diet plan provided by your nutritionist should be followed thoroughly to for managing diabetes, there are some foods that are a must-avoid for a diabetic. Here’s a quick read on how you can avoid them and substitute them smartly without looking like the party pooper who will have a pizza without cheese with friends.
1. CANNED FOODS
Canned foods have a high sodium content added as preservative which may interfere with your metabolism if you have diabetes as well as high blood pressure.They also don’t have much nutritive value either. Canned fruits have a very high sugar content and should be avoided at all costs.
Substitute: Choose fresh fruits and vegetables or low sodium canned vegetables. Prefer freshly squeezed juice over canned juices. You can grill, lightly fry or even steam the vegetables. Choose from a variety of colored fruits and veggies like carrots, red bell peppers, avocadoes, apples, bananas, etc. Eat fresh or frozen fruits and low sugar based jams.
2. DEEP FRIED POULTRY
Deep fried fish, meat, rib eye fillets all have a high content of saturated fat and cs. Carbohydrates are nothing but glucose molecules which elevate the blood sugar levels. However, fats lead to a slowing down of digestion, so your glucose levels will rise gradually a few hours later.
Substitute: Avoid red meat. Include steamed or lightly fried fish to cut down on the calories. Fishes are also high on omega 3 fatty acids that help bring down bad cholesterol and improve overall fat metabolism.
3. SATURATED FATS
Saturated fats are a diabetic’s worst enemies. They increase the low-density lipids (LDL cholesterol) which is bad cholesterol. This increases your chances of heart disease and worsens diabetes in the long run. Foods like cheese, lard, butter,processed foods contain a high quantity of saturated fats.
Substitute: The main aim should be to consume less than 10% of the calories from saturated fats. Include foods like almonds and avocados, fish like salmon, tuna. Cook your food in plant-based oils like olive oil or canola oil, sunflower, safflower or coconut oil. They are high on unsaturated fatty acids called MUFA and love your heart.
4. DAIRY PRODUCTS
Food choices like whole milk, cottage cheese, and ice cream increase the blood sugar levels making it difficult to manage diabetes. They are high on fat as well.
Substitute: Since dairy is important for your daily calcium quota, take small portions instead. Low fat yogurt, low fat cheese, skimmed milk are better choices.
5. DIET COLA
This is the worst food item for a diabetic. Studies show that diet coke actually “doubles ” the risk of diabetes by stimulating appetite, making the diabetics consume more sugar and making them overweight. Other food items may contain more sugar than you’ve bargained for, like sodas,flavored coffee, sweetened teas,energy drinks etc.
Substitute: Go green and natural. Take tea without any sugar or add a slice of lemon for some flavour. Go for regular water instead of cocktails or coolers. Black coffee is a good substitute for a flavored one. Skip the whipped cream and ice cream dollop on top.