According to estimates by the International Diabetes Federation, there were about 65 million people with diabetes in India in 2013. Diabetes is the health condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal. Blood sugar is also known as blood glucose; it is a crucial source of energy for the body. Insulin is a hormone that helps the body use glucose. If insufficient insulin is produced by the body or does not respond to insulin, glucose builds up in the blood resulting in diabetes. The body naturally produces blood sugar from the food we eat and store in the body. Diabetes can be successfully managed by combining a well-planned diet and medications. Use websites that provide nutritional databases and free food labels to query nutrition information for foods. A healthy and balanced diet is essential for controlling diabetes. The foods you eat affect your blood sugar, body weight and heart health. The three main groups of foods that contribute calories are carbohydrates, proteins and fat.
Among food groups, carbohydrates have the maximum effect on blood sugar levels. After meals, the increase in blood sugar is determined by the amount of carbohydrates in the food. Nutritional data helps identify foods that contain carbohydrates and control portion sizes. Examples of foods rich in carbohydrates are rice, bread, roti, naan, cereals, pasta, grains, starchy vegetables (potatoes), beans, lentils, milk, yogurt, fruits, juices, soft drinks and desserts. Protein is an essential part of the diet, but it contributes calories. Excessive consumption can result in weight gain and increased fat intake. Lean meats, low-fat or non-fat dairy products and vegetable proteins are good choices. High-fat foods are also high in calories; which can lead to weight gain. Minimizing saturated and trans fats can reduce the risk of heart disease and increase weight control. Reliable online nutrition databases also provide the fat content of foods.
Weight loss can also help to lower blood sugar levels. Regular exercise and calorie control can help with weight loss. Use free calorie counters to plan your meals. Convenient calorie counting apps on cell phones help you stay in control when eating out. Work with a nutritionist to create personalized meal plans that fit your dosage and schedule of insulin or medication. A nutritionist who understands ethnic diets can work with you to establish effective meal plans.