Indian Diabetes Diet Chart : 10 Best & Worst Foods for Diabetics (with Printable Download)
Are you here in search of diabetic diet chart? or You want to know about the best and worst foods for diabetics? then you are at right place. I will help you with detailed information regarding diabetes, its symptoms, what to eat and avoid in diabetics. So let us start the discussion.
In diabetes , the body’s ability to produce or respond to the hormone insulin is impaired. This results in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates and elevated levels of glucose in the blood (1). The pancreas makes insulin hormone to help burn glucose to get energy. In diabetes, our body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use its own insulin efficiently (2). This causes building up of sugar in the blood.
Symptoms of Diabetes
Diabetes symptoms include increased thirst, urination and hunger, sudden unexpected weight loss and slow wound healing etc (3). If you notice these signs then get a blood test done. It is better to be sure than sorry. I found many people don’t give much importance to regular check up and even if they find these sign they ignore it. Diabetes can be fatal if not diagnosed in time. It affects all your vital organs like eyes, kidneys, heart etc. It is advisable to go under regular checkup every 6-12 months.
Risk Factors of Diabetes
Risk factors for diabetes (4) are obesity, high cholesterol, sedentary lifestyle, family history, PCOS etc. Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes population is increasing in India rapidly (11). This is one of the diseases which can be controlled with a healthy lifestyle.
If you are diagnosed with diabetes, you are here looking for diet chart for diabetic patient. I will help you with a healthy and tasty diet chart. I get complaints from my readers that diabetes patients don’t get tasty food recommendations. So, I have kept that point and designed a super tasty meal chart for you. 🙂 This Indian diabetes diet chart is designed keeping in mind the nutritional requirement, and restrictions of a diabetic patient. It includes 10 Best Foods for Diabetics that can help you keep the sugar level under check and 10 foods to avoid with diabetics.
Indian Diabetes Diet Chart :
An ideal diabetic diet plan contains high fiber foods, milk without cream, other dairy products like yogurt, seasonal fruits, leafy vegetables etc. Calorie intake per day needs to be in the range of 1500 to 1800 calories. This parameter may vary as per your body weight and other health conditions. Given below is an ideal Indian diabetes diet chart, you can modify it as per your convenience (9).
Diabetic Diet Plan Meal 1 :
Meal 1 is recommended within 10 min of getting up. Your body is fasting for around 9-10 hours and it needs something nutritious. So you can eat sprouts, boiled chana, fruit etc. Avoid sugary items in this meal.
Fundamentally the first meal of the day needs to be very nutritious. Your body is ready to absorb nutrition as it does not get anything from past 10 hours. Make sure you don’t develop a habit of consuming tea or coffee as the first thing in the morning. The tea has a lot of sugar in it and nearly zero nutrition.
One of the old age technique which I find very healthy is drinking a lot of water after getting up. You can store the water in a copper vessel and drink it first thing in the morning after brushing your teeth. It will help you clear your bowel movement. After 30 min you can have your first meal like sprouts, chana etc.
Here is an informative video from dietburrp
Diabetic Diet Plan Meal 2 :
After having your meal 1, approximately after 1-1.3 hr, you need to have your meal 2. Meal 2 is one of the most important meals of the day and we often call it Breakfast. As the name suggests it is breaking your long fast. Many people don’t have meal 1 that is why this meal 2 is named so. Do not skip breakfast at any cost as your body will not get good nutrition and would have to wait until lunch to get some healthy stuff.
When you are diagnosed with diabetes the doctor advises you not to eat too much at a single sitting. If you eat more at once the amount of sugar in your blood shoots up and can affect your health. The items you can include in your breakfast are oats, Upma with veggies, Poha, dhokla, paratha, boiled eggs, protein shake etc.(10).
Diabetic Diet Plan Meal 3 :
The third meal of the day is a mid-meal. You can have roasted peanuts, lemonade without sugar, coconut water, sprouts, boiled chana or a fruit. Including dry fruit and sprouts provides proper nutrition and it is an ideal diet for diabetics.
The items to avoid during this meal is salty or oily food. During the summer days, you may like to have buttermilk as the third meal. Salt and pepper are mixed with the buttermilk to enhance its taste. But this salt can prove very unhealthy for you. Many people who are suffering from diabetes are also at high risk to have high blood pressure. So, avoid salt and oil to keep your heart healthy.
Diabetic Diet Plan Meal 4 :
Meal 4 is a time for lunch and is one of the most important meals in the diabetic diet plan. Make sure you eat a balanced diet as a part of lunch every day. Your body is engaged in work during the day and it helps to burn calories, so you can eat half a roti extra. But never overeat as it will require higher insulin levels to convert the sugar into energy and failing so might increase your sugar level drastically.
The ideal lunch items are 2-3 chapati/roti, 1 bowl of dal, salad, sabji and rice. If you can avoid rice please do that. Rice has a lot of starch and not advisable to consume by diabetic patients.
Diabetic Diet Plan Meal 5 :
Again it is a mid-meal. You can have buttermilk with rock salt or lemonade etc. Including fruits and sprouts provides proper nutrition and it is an ideal diet for diabetics.
If you are a nonvegetarian you can have eggs or a piece of roasted chicken as part of this mid-meal. I always advise the nonvegetarian people to eat non-veg in the day and not as part of dinner. Chicken, Fish etc are hard to digest so needs to be consumed as early as possible.
Diabetic Diet Plan Meal 6 :
Keep this meal a lighter one as dinner would be around the corner. You can have roasted peanuts, coconut water, boiled chana, 1 fruit etc. This is an important meal of Indian diabetes diet plan.
I notice many people from working class eat some unhealthy foods like samosa, vada pav as part of evening snacks. Eating junk is extremely unhealthy and for a diabetic patient, it must be avoided at any cost.
Diabetic Diet Plan Meal 7 :
I recommend having a soup or salad as part of meal 6. This will act as an appetizer and you would eat a good amount of healthy stuff at dinner time.
If you don’t feel hungry you can have a sugar free tea or coffee but a small cup. If you are hungry, it is better to have any salad or roasted chana etc.
Diabetic Diet Plan Meal 8 :
Its dinner time, you can have a light dinner like roti, sabji, dal, papad etc. Don’t overeat, you can have half a roti less, time to compensate for the more you had for lunch 😉
Have your dinner at least 2-3 hours before bedtime. The Jain community has developed a very good habit to have dinner before sunset. This not only gives you enough time to digest but helps in better absorption as you are active for 4-5 hours after having dinner.
Diabetic Diet Plan Meal 9 :
This is the last meal of the day. You can have turmeric milk as part of this meal. The last meal should be very light as you don’t want your tummy working during the night and troubling you in the morning. If you don’t feel hungry, you can skip this meal.
Pre Diabetic Diet :
You might have heard the saying ‘Prevention is better than cure’. It is rightly applicable in the case of diabetes. Once you are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes (5) it is irreversible so better take precautions.
If your glucose levels are high but not as high to be considered as type 2 diabetes, you are in a pre-diabetic stage. You can make certain changes to your lifestyle which help you reverse these symptoms. Read this article on perfect Indian diet chart for weight loss to know the diet details. Start following a healthy and balanced pre diabetic diet and it will help you to save from diabetes and many other health problems (6).
Gestational Diabetes Diet Plan:
Gestational diabetes (7) is a condition in which the mother does not have diabetes but during pregnancy, she develops high blood sugar levels. It might be harmful to the baby because the extra glucose in your blood can pass through the placenta. Your baby which is not well developed might have to strain its pancreas to secrete extra insulin to digest the higher glucose. This might lead to many difficult problems for baby like macrosomia (8).
It is advisable to practice a balanced diet if you are diagnosed with high blood sugar level during pregnancy. Consult your doctor immediately and start following the gestational diabetes diet plan (12). Include foods like green vegetables, sprouts, dal etc.
Top 10 Foods to Avoid with Diabetes :
1. Sugary Beverages :
Due to diabetes, the level of sugar in the blood is already high and sugary beverages increase it further. It is harmful to diabetic people. The nutritional value of such beverages is low. It is recommended to completely avoid such beverages.
Soft drinks are one of the top reasons for the high rate of diabetes in India. Baba Ramdev has also termed soft drinks as toilet cleaners and not suitable for humans to drink. The soft drinks companies have come up with various products like zero sugar or diet products but all are unhealthy. Stop drinking these beverages and turn to buttermilk, lemon water etc. which are far healthier options than these sugar-laden soft drinks.
2. Processed Foods :
Processed foods are high in carbs and are less nutritious. It contains trans fats which are harmful to everyone. These are one of the common foods to avoid with diabetes.
Processed foods are generally items like chips, burger, pizza, donuts etc. The amount of salt and oil used to prepare these items can harm your health. For the human, the amount of time to digest these foods is very high. This can affect your metabolism and increase the amount of sugar in your blood.
3. Cakes and Fast Foods :
Cakes and fast foods mainly contain sugar and carbs. These foods immediately break down into sugar. Cakes or pastries are loaded with sugar. One bite of such food items is equal to the sugar you get from full breakfast.
Control is the only solution for diabetes till the time science comes up with a permanent cure.
4. Bananas :
Bananas are high in carbs and fats which is not good for a diabetic patient. It increases the risk and often people experience lethargy, increased thirst, and hunger. Although bananas are very nutritious we cannot ignore the amount of fructose in it. Fructose directly converts into sugar and increases blood sugar level.
5. Melons :
Melons are sweet and contain a high amount of sugar. This increases blood sugar in diabetic patients. All other nutrients cannot be absorbed by the body properly and thus it proves to be harmful to diabetics.
You can eat fruits like Apples, Jamun (Indian Blackberry), Papaya, Guava etc. These fruits are not high on sugar and would be good for your health.
6. White Bread:
White bread is made up of white and refined flour which is completely devoid of any nutrition. It contains plain carbs which convert into glucose fast and increases the blood sugar level. This makes white bread very harmful for diabetic patients. Wheat bread can be used as a substitute. These are one of the common foods to avoid with diabetes.
7. Alcohol :
Alcohol is a sugary and extremely dehydrating beverage. This makes it even more unhealthy for diabetic patients. It interferes with our metabolism making the situation worse. Diabetic patients should completely avoid alcohol. Alcoholic beverages are one of the common foods to avoid with diabetes.
8. Potatoes :
Potatoes are very starchy and full of carbs. Diabetic people should limit the intake of potatoes. It is not necessary to completely avoid potatoes. You can have it once or twice a month but not regularly. People from north India are a fan of samosa. Samosa is a tasty food but not good for your health. It has both potatoes and oil which can increase your sugar levels and add to any existing heart problem.
9. White Rice :
White rice is processed and starchy. It increases the amount of sugar released into our bloodstream. Brown rice is a good option if you want to eat rice. But still, regular consumption of rice should be avoided by diabetic patients. White rice is one of the common foods to avoid with diabetes.
Also limit the breakfast items made from rice like Idly, Dosa etc. You can eat wheat paratha, suji etc as they are made from wheat. Again, as I said you can eat brown rice in small quantities if you can’t live without rice.
10. Artificial Sweeteners :
There are many advertisements which promote the use of artificial sweeteners for diabetes patients but it is a myth. You can eat your favorite ice-cream or sweet with sugar-free sugar but it harms your body in other ways. Artificial means they are processed and refined which makes them extremely unhealthy.
Top 10 Best Foods for Diabetics :
1. Apples :
Apples are high in fiber and minerals. It has amylase inhibitors which decrease the absorption of starch and sugar. So, it is very beneficial for diabetic patients. They are also high in antioxidants properties that help you in keeping your skin and organs healthy. The antioxidants found in apple which helps in controlling blood sugar levels are Quercetin, Chlorogenic-Acid & Phlorizin. (13)
A medium-size apple contains around 100 calories and 20 grams of carbs. Apples contain sugar in small amount which is in the form of fructose. But when it is consumed in its natural form, it does not affect blood sugar levels much. The fiber content of apple helps to regulate sugar by not allowing a rapid absorption into the blood.
The Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load are helpful parameters to measure how much any food affects your blood sugar level and apples have low GI and GL. Apples also help in reducing the insulin resistance.
2. Carrots :
Researchers from Stanford University in California found that high blood levels of beta-carotene which is a major component of carrots might lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Carrots are high in beta-carotene as well as antioxidants. Carrot juice or raw carrot both are beneficial for diabetics. It is an important food in type 2 diabetes diet. (14)
3. Flax Seeds :
A portion of insoluble fiber made of lignans improves blood sugar control. Flaxseeds are very high in viscous fiber, which improves gut health, insulin sensitivity, and feelings of fullness. You can grind flax seeds for better absorption. Flaxseed is one of the best foods for diabetics and hence included in the Indian diabetes diet chart. (15)
There was a study done by WHO researchers which shows that flax seed is very helpful in reducing the blood sugar level. (16) As part of this study, a group of people was given a tablespoon of flaxseed for a month. When the reports of the blood test were studied it was found that the group was showing a significant drop in fasting blood sugar, triglycerides, and cholesterol.
4. Oats :
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), oats have the highest proportion of soluble fiber than any other grain. The soluble fiber in oatmeal might also help to reduce the rise in blood glucose by delaying stomach emptying and providing a physical barrier to digestive enzymes. Oats is one of the best foods for diabetics and hence included in the Indian diabetes diet chart. (17)
Oats have a low glycemic index and hence one of the best foods to keep the sugar levels in check. Along with sugar level control oats are helpful in lowering cholesterol levels, weight management, protects the skin for various issues and reduces the risk of colon cancer.
Even if oats have so many benefits there are some cons of adding oats to your diet. Patients who are suffering from gastroparesis need to avoid eating oats. Excess consumption of oats can result in bloating, flatulence etc.
5. Spinach :
Spinach is a non-starchy and low-calorie vegetable. It is high in iron and beta-carotene. Spinach lowers the risk of developing diabetes and also helps to control it. It is an important food in type 2 diabetes diet.
The low glycemic index level of spinach make sure the blood sugar levels do not fluctuate rapidly. The American Diabetes Association (18) recommends to include green leafy vegetables in your diet. Spinach is rich in various vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals which helps in various body functions.
There is a high correlation between excess weight and diabetes. Spinach has very few calories which again help in weight loss. If your weight is under control you will have fewer chances to get the diabetes problem
6. Tomatoes :
Tomatoes are low in starch and high in lycopene. It has low GI ranking due to which it causes a slow rise in blood sugar level. Tomatoes is one of the best foods for diabetics.
Diabetes and blood pressure go hand in hand. If you are diagnosed with diabetes you have a higher chance of getting diagnosed with hypertension. Tomatoes can help you reduce the symptoms of high blood pressure. The findings of a study (19) show that including 200 gm of raw tomato in your diet can reduce the blood pressure in people with type 2 diabetes.
Tomatoes are also good in reducing the cardiovascular problems. The heart diseases can be kept under control by using tomatoes in your daily diet.
7. Yogurt :
It is a dairy product which is low in carbs and calories. Yogurt is high in protein and calcium. It has a low Glycemic index which causes a steady rise in blood sugar level. Yogurt health benefits include glowing skin, healthy digestion, relieves constipation etc.
Some people don’t like eating plain yogurt. They need some salt or sugar added to it. Adding either salt or sugar makes the yogurt very unhealthy. If you don’t like eating plain yogurt you can opt for buttermilk or any other form of yogurt. The aim here is to get the nutrients available in yogurt.
8. Lemons :
Lemons are rich in vitamin C, fiber and have no sugar. It is excellent for weight loss and diabetes. Lemonade without sugar or lemon juice on food is very beneficial for diabetics.
Lemon is one of the best foods for diabetics on the American Diabetes Association’s top food list. Lamon is high in vitamin C and soluble fiber which are helpful in diabetes. Lemon is low in glycemic index and they can also lower the glycemic index of many foods. You might have seen people eat lemon with poha to reduce its glycemic index. Poha is made up of rice which is a starchy food and to reduce the GI lemon is used.
Vitamin C has antioxidant properties which help in reducing the risk of various other health problems. Soluble fiber on other hand helps in reducing cardiovascular disease.
9. Eggs :
Eggs are high in protein which keeps you full for longer period of time. It improves insulin sensitivity. It is a storehouse of nutrients and serves as one of the best breakfast for diabetics. The omega-3 content in an egg is helpful for the diabetic patient. Lutein present in an egg helps in protecting against diseases whereas Choline helps in improving the brain health. Biotin in egg helps in good hair and skin health. (20)
Due to a low carbohydrate contain egg is considered one of the best foods for diabetics. Though the cholesterol levels in an egg are a little high, it’s negative effect on health is debatable.
If we look at the nutrition profile of an egg the amount of protein in a normal egg is about 7-8 gram. Potassium contains in egg helps in keeping the nerve health and muscle health. Potassium also helps in keeping the sodium levels up to the mark which is helpful for a healthy cardiovascular condition.
10. Turmeric :
Turmeric is a spice which is high in curcumin which reduces blood sugar levels and inflammation. It also reduces heart risk. Turmeric with milk is very nutritious for diabetics.
Rumors about diabetes :
- It is always inherited.
- Diabetic people should skip carbs completely.
- You cannot do anything to keep away from diabetes.
- Insulin causes complications, such as amputations, impotence or even death.
- Slim people don’t get diabetes.
- Diabetic people can never eat sweets.
These are the top foods to avoid with diabetes and best foods. Let me know your suggestions on the Indian diabetes diet chart.