Diabetic diets abound in myths, and the most abiding myth is that it has to be a no-sugar and calorie-low diet. How wrong can one get! The diabetic patient doesn’t need any diet; he just needs to eat healthily. Nothing will benefit him more.
No food is out of bounds for the diabetic, but what he actually needs is moderation in his food intake. The goal of the diet is to ensure that the blood sugar is maintained at a steady level. When this is the primary goal, the diabetic should be particularly cautious about his carbohydrate intake. It is of paramount importance that carbohydrates in only their complex form such as bread, pasta, rice, etc., are consumed. This is because complex carbohydrates take a longer time to break down and so the blood glucose level doesn’t sky rocket. However, one should take only limited amounts of chocolates and other sugary foods.
For people who would be limiting their carbohydrate intake in this manner, a diet devoid of fats, as the myth goes, is just not feasible. After all, they would need some source of energy, but they should stop short of overstuffing themselves. Fats should comprise of no more than 30% of the daily calorie intake. But the equation is not that simple: there are a few dos and don’ts regarding the fat consumption.
There are good and bad fats. Bad fats, called saturated fats are truly harmful ones, leading to clogged arteries, high cholesterol and subsequently heart troubles. Butter, margarine, whole-milk dairy products, and poultry skin are some fats that are harmful for the heart. The good fats are the unsaturated fats found in vegetable oils like peanut, olive, sunflower oil, and fish liver oil. They are beneficial in the sense that they fulfill the fat requirement of the body without being calorie-intensive.
Proteins can be another source of energy, which can be extracted from poultry, eggs, fish, nuts, and cheese. Not only are nuts, cashew nuts, almonds, walnuts sources of protein, they are excellent sources of fiber, too. Then, there are the fruits and vegetables, which should form an integral of any meal, diabetic or not. They constitute the richest source of vitamins and minerals. Some vegetables like potato and sweet potato and fruits like mangoes, bananas, papayas and grapes, which are high in carbohydrate content, should be consumed in limited amounts. But other than these, fruits and vegetables are essential parts of a diabetic diet, and one should make it a point to have at least three servings every day.
There’s actually nothing elusive about a diabetic diet. It is something as easy as eating the right kind of food and eating moderately, but occasionally.