World Diabetes Day: Create a healthy eating plan to manage diabetes with these tips

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Type-2 diabetes is a chronic medical problem that causes sugar to build up in your bloodstream. In this condition, your body becomes unable to use insulin, the hormone that allows your body to use glucose for energy. With type-2 diabetes, your body may not be able to produce enough insulin. If left untreated, it can lead to severe complications. This World Diabetes Day, let’s find out how you can manage diabetes the right way!

However, type-2 diabetes can be managed with some lifestyle changes – nutrition being an important part of it. Health Shots reached out to Rihana Qureshi, celebrity nutritionist and founder of Get Fit with Rihana, who has transformed numerous clients to lose weight and fight diabetes, to share some nutrition tips that can help you control Diabetes.

Make these changes in your diet to manage diabetes

Qureshi avers that type-2 diabetes is usually passed off as a ‘lifestyle disease’ but it is a debilitating disease that needs immediate attention. “Once you start feeding your body the real nutrients, your body responds to it and starts healing.” She further explains that what you eat and when you eat are two of the most important things to keep in mind when it comes to managing your blood sugar levels.

A healthy diet can help you manage diabetes. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

What to eat

Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to eating the right foods to help manage diabetes:

1. Sugar and starchy foods should be avoided!

“Eating too much sugary or starchy foods can lead to type-2 diabetes. The food we eat is eventually broken down into sugar but in different quantities and levels. So, the first thing you need to do is cut back on your sugar intake. When I say sugar, I don’t mean just table sugar or sugar but also packaged and refined carbohydrates,” explains Qureshi.

2. Choose natural carbohydrates over refined

As per the nutritionist, carbohydrates (especially processed) are broken down in your body faster, causing your blood sugar levels to spike. So, steer clear of packaged and refined carbohydrates such as pasta, noodles, oats, digestive biscuits, etc. “Don’t go by ‘healthy’ mentioned on the packaging, they are anything but that!” she adds.

Qureshi recommends including carbohydrates obtained from natural sources like non-starchy vegetables like spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, and cabbage. Diabetics should avoid eating starchy vegetables like potatoes, peas, etc. Also, choose fruits low in sugar such as oranges, muskmelon, strawberries, and blueberries.

3. Intermittent fasting is a good option

Intermittent fasting is an excellent weapon of choice against diabetes. Regular fasting ensures that your body is utilizing your current fat and glycogen reserves. If you are not used to fasting, you could start by spacing out meals as mentioned previously and then start with intermittent fasting – where you eat all meals for the day within an 8-10 hour window and then fast for a 14-16 hour window. Fasting has shown considerable results in regulating the insulin hormone, and also helped in the reversal of type-2 diabetes in some cases, explains Qureshi.

Know the benefits of intermittent fasting for diabetes. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

When to eat

Do you follow the ‘3 main meals and snack break in-between meals’ pattern on a regular basis? While this is usual for most people, Qureshi believes that one should listen to their body’s natural hunger cues more than following some sort of pattern. As per the nutritionist, “Eating or snacking frequently can elevate your insulin levels. However, reducing the frequency of meals can help prevent it. Eat 2-3 wholesome meals in a day instead. One pro tip to do this is to prepare your meals in good quality fat such as ghee which keeps you full longer.”

Caution: Check with your doctor before making any dietary changes in your lifestyle.

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