Nutrition & Diabetes FAQs

Editor(s): Frequently Asked Questions Vol.2 / 1,  2013

Summary

Nutrition plays a very important role in the management of diabetes. Recent research over the last decade has provided many evidences on specific nutrients and their impact on the human metabolism. The NNI in academic partnership with National Diabetes Obesity and Cholesterol foundation (N-DOC) is pleased to bring you the “Nutrition in Diabetes Series” featuring “Frequently Asked Questions”. This publication has been developed as a ready reckoner to provide an insight on the current nutritional recommendations for individuals with diabetes mellitus.

Questions like what are the primary dietary goals for people with Type-2 diabetes are answered in detail wherein the answer was people with diabetes need to watch their calories to maintain their ideal body weight, more emphasis should be given on the consumption at complex carbohydrates with low glycaemic index instead of simple sugars with high glycaemic index, Spacing meals throughout the day is preferred instead of eating heavy meals once or twice a day, The gap between the two meals should not he more than 3-4 hours, A minimum of 4-5 servings per day of fruits and vegetables is recommended, Consumption of ghee and butter should be kept to a minimum, Consumption of 1.5-2 L (8-l0 glasses) of water every day. The diet for diabetes need to be controlled and systematic since diet plays an important role in diabetes.

Questions were also based on carbohydrates like what is carbohydrate counting and what is its role in meal planning strategies. The answer was again detailed and goes as follows Carbohydrate counting or “carb counting is a meal planning technique for managing blood glucose levels. Diet for diabetes needs foods that contain carbohydrate raise blood glucose. Tracking how many carbohydrates are eaten and setting a limit for your maximum amount to eat, you can help to keep blood glucose levels in target range. One gram of carbohydrate is equivalent to 4 calories. Hence, if the person with diabetes is on a 1 200 calorie diet, approximately 600 calories should come from carbohydrates (1 50 grams of carbohydrate) spread over the day. Meals that are rich in carbohydrates produce the highest amount of glucose in the body. The total amount of carbohydrate consumed should be spread throughout the day to ensure stable blood sugar levels. This can help a person avoid extremely high or low blood glucose levels. This is especially important for diabetics on insulin treatment.

Questions in section 2 were like what is the benefit of lifestyle interventions in diabetes management. This was based more on lifestyle and the answer went as the diabetes epidemic is caused by insulin resistance, fuelled by lifestyle (actors, particularly excessive caloric intake and physical inactivity. Lifestyle interventions, programs that promote diabetes risk reduction and weight loss through behaviour change, increased physical activity, and dietary modification, can decrease insulin resistance and prevent or delay the development of pre-diabetes and progression to T2DM. Lifestyle interventions arc also important to improve diabetes management. The benefits of lifestyle interventions are that it can help improve glucose control, it can prevent complications arising due to poor glucose control, it increases the receptivity of muscles to insulin, it reduces the triglycerides and cholesterol in the blood and it helps decrease excess tat and thereby increases the body’s cell sensitivity to insulin.