"Diabetes mellitus, often simply referred to as diabetes—is a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood sugar, either because the body does not produce enough insulin, or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced. This high blood sugar produces the classical symptoms of frequent urination, increased thirst and increased hunger."...Diabetes has been known from centuries as related to sugar. Unfortunately not all are well informed about this disease.

My encounter with Diabetes was when I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes during my second pregnancy. I was referred to a nutritionist and was bombarded with a lot of information in those sessions. It proved very useful to me and I could implement the dietary regime prescribed pretty effectively to the satisfaction of my doctor. 

Hence I am at risk for diabetes sometime in my life. The believe the question is not 'If' it is only a matter of 'When'. I am trying my best to beat the risk and I have been steadily changing my lifestyle one step at a time. I hope I can learn more in the course of this week long Blogging Marathon where I would like to focus more on Diabetes Management, specifically Diet Management. 
Managing Diabetes typically involves Lifestyle Changes or Dietary Changes, Exercise and Appropriate Medication. Stay tuned here while I suggest a few recipes suitable for Diabetics in particular and everyone else in general. Diet for diabetics simply translates into eating a variety of nutritious foods in moderate amounts and sticking to regular mealtimes. It should mainly help control your blood sugar (glucose) level and manage your weight.

So the emphasis should be on consuming 
1.Healthy Carbohydrates - Examples fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes (beans, peas and lentils), low-fat dairy products etc.
2.Fiber-Rich Foods - Examples vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes (beans, peas and lentils), whole-wheat flour, wheat bran etc.
3.Heart-Healthy fish - heart-healthy fish at least twice a week. (Not practical for vegetarians)
4.'Good' fats - Examples avocados, almonds, pecans, walnuts, olives, and canola, olive, peanut oils etc. (Consume sparingly)

It is important to note that whatever carbohydrates we eat, should be such that it will not be absorbed into the blood stream immediately causing peaks in blood sugar levels. In other words, if the glucose produced by the carbohydrates is evenly distributed over a period of time, it will greatly help in maintaining the blood sugar levels within limits thereby enabling the absorption of glucose by the cells effectively by your body. Insulin is the main agent facilitating the absorption of glucose.

Fiber present in vegetables, fruits, legumes  and fenugreek seed in soluble in nature and more effective in controlling blood sugar and serum lipids than the insoluble fiber present in cereals and millets. However long term consumption of insoluble fiber also improves glucose tolerance. Diets containing high dietary fiber can reduce blood sugar, serum cholesterol and relieve constipation. 

In addition dietary fiber is beneficial in prevention and treatment of several diseases such as cardio-vascular diseases and colon cancer. Excess dietary fiber may cause gastro-intestinal symptoms such as flatulence (gas formation and diahorrea. It may also interfere in the absorption of minerals such as iron, calcium and zinc. Intake of 25 gms of dietary fiber per 1000 calories consumed is considered to be optimum for a diabetics. High fiber foods have a low calorific value and low glycemic index and therefore diabetics should consume such foods liberally. 

[The glycemic index  or GI is a measure of the effects of carbohydrates on blood sugar levels. Carbohydrates that break down quickly during digestion and release glucose rapidly into the bloodstream have a high GI; carbohydrates that break down more slowly, releasing glucose more gradually into the bloodstream, have a low GI. ]
Also it is interesting to note that eating lower GI foods is one way to effective weight loss.

However, the nutrient intake has to be tailor made to the individual based on age, gender, weight, height, physical activity and physiological needs of the patient. It is always better to consult a dietitian to prescribe and formulate a suitable individual diet.  Both Doctor and dietitian have a role in the dietary management of diabetes. 

My experience has shown that each person reacts differently to different food. For me eating even 3-4 Tbsp of cooked white rice used to take my glucose levels in the red, whereas 5-6 Whole Urad Idlis used to keep my glucose numbers stable :) So it is always a good practice to monitor the glucose levels before and after eating and evolve a good diet based on trial and error while sticking to the prescribed guidelines. 
Keep in mind that 1 Carbohydrate serving = 15 gms. (I was allowed 5-6 Carbohydrate serving per day.)

Apart from the prescribed diet, there are many scientifically proven alternatives to supplement diet and aid in diabetes management. Prominent among them is Fenugreek (Methi).

Here I would like to thank Dr MK Janardhana Sarma PhD., (Retd Deputy Director, National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, India) who has graciously agreed to my request to provide insights into the development of a revolutionary dietary supplement he has been working on. 

Coming up tomorrow - Excerpts from his article ..

List of Marathoners - 
Diabetes Diet/Management: Srivalli, Champa, Me, PJ
Kid Friendly Recipes: Kalyani, Shylaja, Veena
Seven Days of Soup:Usha, Sowmya
30 Minutes Meals: Priya Suresh 
Seven days of Cakes:  Anusha

Disclaimer - Please note that I am not a doctor, dietitian or medically qualified to give advice. The material in this article is from my own exposure to Gestational Diabetes and various reputed medical sources over the internet like Mayo Clinic and WebMD. Also referred to a book 'Diet and Diabetes' published by NIN, Hyderabad.

Posted by Harini on Monday, April 4, 2011


  1. veena Says:
  2. wow!!!!!!!!!today i have been reading so much about diabetes. Thank you so much for compiling so much of useful info.

  3. Usha Says:
  4. My comment is same as Veena's! Nice to read so much info on diabetes

  5. Champa Says:
  6. Very nice Harini.

  7. Suma Gandlur Says:
  8. Nice info for people who are not aware of this disease. I too know first hand how diabetes can ruin one's health / life, if not managed properly. I am particularly interested in diabetic theme this marathon, for my own personal reasons. Waiting to see what recipes the other blogger buddies come up with.

  9. Priya Suresh Says:
  10. Wat a fabulous post, u guys rocks, came to know more about diabetes, one again thanks a lot for sharing many useful infos..

  11. nice informative post about diabetes and thanks for sharing.

  12. i have learned so much about diabetes in a single day..... thank you for the informatation ..looking forward for more information ...

  13. Unknown Says:
  14. good info

  15. USeful information. Thanks for sharing

  16. Padmajha Says:
  17. Nice post Harini :)

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