Diabetic Diets

Essentially defined, Diabetes Mellitus is a clinical syndrome. This is characterized by what is known as hyper-glycaemia. This is a result of a deficiency in the body to produce insulin that breaks down the glucose consumed. There are basically tywo types of diabetics.

They are:
Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus – IDDM; also known as Juvenile Diabetes
Non Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus – NIDDM

In Type I diabetes – IDDM, the patient is dependent on insulin injections. They have to inject a dose/s of insulin as prescribed by the Diabetologist. Generally, people below the age of sixteen are infected with this type of Diabetes as a result of family history of the same. The incidence of the Type II – NIDDM, is amongst the older people. For them it is generally stress induced and can be reversed.

NIDDM is estimated to affect approximately 20% of the population over the age of 50 and can be treated by prescribed oral medicine and proper regulated diet. However, even Type I diabetics have to follow a proper regulated diet regime in order to prevent the complications that develop in years to come. Diabetes is said to slowly affect every vital organ of the body. However, this can be minimized and even curtailed if one eats properly, exercises regularly, and keeps their nerves calm.

Thus, diabetic diet control is one of the bases to keep the body healthy. However, it needs to be noted that there is no standard diet program for all diabetics. There is a general outline that all could follow. But, ideally, the patient should seek the guidance of a dietician or nutritionist, who would chalk out a proper diet regime depending on patient specifications such as:

Type of diabetes
Individual lifestyle
Body weight
Other diseases one is suffering from, or has suffered from
The physical activity one indulges in on a daily basis

Basically, the diabetic diet is of two types:

Measured Diet – the quantity of each meal needs to be measured specifically to ensure no more or no less than what is prescribed is eaten by the patient

Unmeasured Diet – the quantity of food eaten need not be measured, however the prescribed diet routine needs to be followed and maintained

The basic nutritional needs of a diabetic includes:

Proteins: 25% of the total calories in take. This supplies the amino acids required for tissue repair, it does not increase the glucose levels during the absorption process and does not contain as many calories as do fats.
Carbohydrates: 40% of the total calories in take. This needed to prevent ketosis.
Fats: 30-35% of the total calories in take. However, saturated fat and food rich in cholesterol have to be completely avoided.
Fiber Foods: These are essential as they:
Reduce the rate of glucose absorption
Reduce the lower blood sugar rise
Reduce urinary glucose excretion
Slower the process of stomach emptying
Delay the intestinal transit time.

The following are the general pointers for a diabetic diet routine:

Avoid potatoes; sweet potato and yam
Avoid sugar, glucose, jams, jaggery, honey, sweets
Avoid any of the fried foods.
Eat a lot of salads; ideally should be a part of the lunch and dinner
Eat a lot of leafy green vegetables.
Restrict the quantity of oil used in cooking
Avoid fruits such as mango, banana, chickoo and custard apple