The prevalence of diabetes is alarmingly spreading worldwide. Data from WHO shows that its global prevalence was about 8% in 2011 and is estimated to rise to 10% by 2030. Some of my patients are of the impression that they cannot lead a normal life once they’ve been diagnosed with Diabetes. I always tell them to treat diabetes normally. The main focus should be on food followed by activity and then medication. If instructions are followed well, your diabetes will be under control. However, my experience has been that when it comes to food, most have many misconceptions which are very important to clear. I would like to share few of these common myths about Diabetes with you as well.
Common Food Myths About Diabetes
1. Avoid Rice
This is the commonest myth which everyone has, including people planning to eat rice. White rice is not bad. It is a simple sugar which easily shoots the sugar. However, if you have a good source of proteins like sprouts/curd/buttermilk along with the meal, it helps in the slow release of sugar.
Healthy Alternative: You can opt for brown rice which is packed with antioxidants and fiber.
2. Avoid Potatoes
Many people avoid potato thinking it raises blood sugar. However, potatoes being starchy, need to be eaten in moderation. Though high on carbohydrates, it is also rich in Vitamin B6 which helps in nerve functioning at cellular level. Also, the cooking medium plays an important role. A boiled potato is far better than a deep fried potato.
Healthy Alternative: If the potato is clubbed with some other veggie, that’s absolutely alright as the portion of potato would be low. A boiled or barbequed or grilled potato is a good option as well.
3. Avoid Sugar
Everyone says, I avoid sugary stuff, still my sugars are not under control. However, if you see the other part of their diet, it’s loaded with fats meaning deep fried stuff, chips, wafers, etc. This is because of the insulin resistance which is predominantly seen in Type 2 Diabetic people. The fat gets deposited at the abdominal region which resists insulin from reaching the cells. This leads to high sugar levels in the blood. Hence, along with sugar, unhealthy fats need to be kept at bay as well. Remember, not all fats are bad.
Healthy Alternative: If you plan to make vada/samosa at home, you can even roast them which requires less oil that equals less harm. If it is eaten out, moderation needs to be followed.
4. Avoid All The Fruits (especially mangoes/banana/grapes/chikoo)
Many people say that fruits are sweet, hence need to be avoided. However, the truth is that fruits are natural sugars and provide instant energy. Moreover, they are packed with antioxidants, vitamins and trace minerals. The timing of when you eat the fruits is equally important. It is best to consume them on an empty stomach for better absorption of nutrients or else, they can also be eaten during mid-morning or mid evening before 6 pm. It is always better to opt for a whole fruit instead of fruit juice.
Healthy Alternative: Combine fruits with a handful of nuts for the dose of fiber which is present in nuts. You can also have chilled fruit yogurt (chopped fruits in yogurt).
These are a few common myths about diabetes! It is the lack of awareness that can mislead patients. Lastly, remember that sugar by itself is a sweet poison which has it’s own disadvantages. The healthy alternative to sugar is jaggery, honey and stevia (natural sweetener). As a message to all diabetics, I’d like to remind you that you can lead a normal life by following a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
We hope these common myths about Diabetes help you make better choices. Do let us know your thoughts below. For more on Diabetes, check out Healthy Reads.
For further guidance and motivation by certified experts, join the GOQii Diabetes Care program. It’s India’s only diabetes program that is driven by Smart Science and Personal Coaching to improve Fasting Blood Sugar (FBS), Postprandial Blood Sugar (PP), reduce HbA1c levels and let you win gold! You can subscribe here: https://store.goqii.com/diabetescare.