International Diabetic Day was celebrated at Neeta Dewan Diet Guide Center, Dewan Hospital, Ludhiana. An interactive session of questions and answers was held, in which Dt Neeta Dewan, Diet and Nutrition consultant enlightened about this disease and its control with diet. Dt Neeta Dewan said that India has second largest population of diabetic patients in the world. This big problem has arisen due to the inherent tendency of Asians to be prone towards these metabolic disorders and due to rise in effluence of population. There is increased availability of food but the progress in the fields of physical activities in the form of regular exercises and sports is not seen. Diabetes occurs when there is absence or insufficient insulin produced by the pancreas or the cells in the body are not able to utilize the insulin which is being produced. This leads to an increase in the sugar level in blood and urine. When there is absence of insulin it is called Type 1 Diabetes and seen in children.
Type II Diabetes occurs on attaining maturity and is due to insufficient insulin or decreased ability of the tissues to use Insulin. In a way the type II diabetes happen when the demand of insulin increases more than its supply in the body of an overweight and obese individual. Usually Diabetes is found incidentally when the patient visits the doctor for some problems or some other disease. One should be aware of the clinical signs of diabetes which include, excess urination especially at night, excessive thirst, excessive hunger but losing weight in spite of eating more than enough, feeling of weakness, wounds not healing in time, numbness of limbs, impotence and lethargy. Irritation and itching in the gentiles occurs due to deposition of sugar crystals. Person may have blurring of vision and tingling sensation in the lower legs and hands.
When in doubt one should get investigated for diabetes by the tests of fasting blood sugar which are normally from 70-110 mg%, post-prandial sugar levels which are normally should be less than 145 mg %. HbA1C is another test which tells us about the sugar level in the last 3 months.
Diabetes is a life style disorder and can be managed by bringing about significant improvements in dietary habits and physical activities. Dr Neeta Dewan recommended following changes in diet to avoid getting this disease and to control it well in case you are already suffering from diabetes.
1. Carbohydrates are the source of energy, these get converted to glucose in our body. We must avoid using excess carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates should be replaced with complex carbohydrates that is the refined floor items like sugar, refined floor bread, fruits, potatoes, sweets, potato need to be reduced and replaced by whole grain, mixing black gram flour and barley / bajra flour helps in controlling diabetes. Replacing white rice with brown rice or red rice increases the fiber content. Sugar intake should be restricted in all and avoided in diabetic patients. Fruits should be considerably restricted but not removed from the diet of a diabetic patient 100-150 gms serving of fruit is recommended however, fruit juices should be avoided in diabetic patients. Non diabetic persons can enjoy as much fruit as they may like.
2. Dietary Fiber gives better Glycemic control in Diabetic patients, it not only reduces blood sugar but also cholesterol. Best source of dietary fibers are whole grains, legumes, vegetables and salads. Vegetables and salads for diabetic patients are not restricted and these must be consumed to the maximum. Soluble fiber present in metha seeds and guar gum is effective in controlling diabetes .Metha seeds soaked overnight and taken in the morning are helpful in controlling diabetes.
3. Fats in the form of butter, cream, ghee makes the food palatable and are habit forming. Fat adds high calories to our system which are difficult to burn out. So, excess fat gets stored in out body and increase to unnecessary weight. One should use mono and poly unsaturated oils like mustard oil, olive oil and rice bran oil. Hydrogenated oil like popular Dalda are Trans-fatty-acids and are harmful so, should be avoided. For a diabetic only 2 to 3 teaspoon of oil is recommended per day.
4. In a diabetic patient proteins are needed in sufficient amount to avoid losing muscle mass. Egg whites, lean meats, fish, chicken, skimmed milk in the form of curd, paneer, whole legumes eg. Kidney beans, lobia, green gram are good sources. 1gm/kg of body weight is the ideal amount of protein recommended intake for normal persons.
5. Calories which are enough to maintain Ideal Body weight should be consumed. For obese patients the calories are reduced to lose weight which helps in maintaining sugar level in the blood.
6. Exercise should be a regular part of day to day life. 40 minutes of walking, swimming, badminton, table tennis or any other exercise is important to control diabetes.
In the end I shall say that diabetes is not a simple ordinary disease. It becomes a lifelong problem and may lead to serious and life threatening complications like heart attacks, strokes or kidney failure. One may become handicapped due to loss of limb or impotence. The role of diet in prevention and control of diabetes is profound and most important. In fact border line diabetes can be controlled with diet and exercise alone. So, my slogan for the public
“EAT NOT FOR TASTE AND GREED BUT WITH BRAINS FOR NEEDS ONLY”.
Writer: Dr. Neeta Dewan
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