Part I: Diabetics, heed these diet tips!

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic metabolic disorder in which the body fails to convert sugars, starches and other foods into energy.

Many of the foods you eat are normally converted into a type of sugar called glucose during digestion. The bloodstream then carries glucose through the body. The hormone, insulin, then turns glucose into quick energy or is stored for further use.

In diabetic people, the body either does not make enough insulin or it cannot use the insulin correctly. This is why too much glucose builds in the bloodstream.

There are two major types of diabetes:

1. Type 1

This is popularly known as Juvenile Onset Diabetes.

Here, the body produces little or no insulin. It occurs most often in childhood or in the teens and could be inherited.

People with this type of diabetes need daily injections of insulin. They must balance their daily intake of food and activities carefully with their insulin shots to stay alive.

2. Type 2

Also known as Adult Onset Diabetes, this occurs around 35 to 40 years. The more common of the two types, it accounts for about 80 per cent of the diabetics.

Here, though the pancreas produce adequate insulin, body cells show reduced sensitivity towards it.

Type 2 diabetes is usually triggered by obesity. The best way to fight it is by weight loss, exercise and dietary control.

Sometimes, oral medication or insulin injections are also needed.

~ Symptoms of diabetes

Here are a few:

•Extreme thirst and hunger

•Frequent urination

•Sores or bruises that heal slowly

•Dry, itchy skin

•Unexplained weight loss

•Unusual tiredness or drowsiness

•Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet

Whether Type 1 or 2, diabetics need a balance of diet and exercise.

Here are some foods you can eat, and some foods you must avoid!

Foods you must avoid!

i. Salt

Salt is the greatest culprit for diabetics. You get enough salt from vegetables in inorganic form, so reduce the intake of inorganic salt.

ii. Sugar

Sucrose, a table sugar, provides nothing but calories and carbohydrates.

Also, you need calcium to digest sucrose. Insufficient sucrose intake might lead to calcium being leached off the bones.

Substitute sucrose with natural sugar, like honey, jaggery (gur), etc.

iii. Fat

Excessive fat intake is definitely not a good habit.

Try and exclude fried items from your diet totally.

But, remember, you must have a small quantity of oil to absorb fat-soluble vitamins, especially vitamin E.

iv. For non-vegetarians

Try and stop the intake of red meat completely.

Try to go in for a vegetarian diet. If you cannot, decrease the consumption of eggs and poultry.

You can, however, eat lean fish two to three times a week.

v. Whole milk and products

Try to switch to low fat milk and its products like yogurt (curd).

Replace high fat cheese with low fat cottage cheese.

vi. Tea and coffee

Do not have than two cups of the conventional tea or decaffeinated coffee every day.

Try to switch to herbal teas.

vii. White flour and its products

Replace these with whole grains, wholewheat or soya breads and unpolished rice.

viii. Foods with a high glycemic index

Avoid white rice, potatoes, carrots, breads and banana -- they increase the blood-sugar levels.

Special food for diabetics

i. Bitter gourd (karela)

This vegetable contains a high dosage of 'plant insulin'. It lowers the blood-sugar levels effectively.

Have the juice of three to four karelas early morning on an empty stomach.

As a vegetable, too, it can be taken on a regular basis.

Powder the seeds of karela (measuring 1 teaspoon), mix with water and drink it.

ii. Fenugreek (methi)

It is the most common food used to control diabetes.

Gulp a teaspoonful of these seeds with a glass of water daily.

Soak the seeds overnight. Have the water in which the seeds were soaked.

You can make a chutney with methi seeds. You can also eat them sprouted, dried and powdered, or mix them in wheat flour to make chapattis.

iii. Indian blackberry (jamun)

This fruit is very effective in preventing and controlling diabetes.

Powder the stone of the fruit and eat it -- it contains glucoside, which prevents the conversion of starch into sugars.

iv. Garlic

This is used to lower blood-sugar levels.

Garlic is rich in potassium and replaces the potassium which gets lost in urine.

It also contains zinc and sulphur, which are components of insulin.

Take about three to four flakes of freshly crushed garlic daily.

v. Onion

Because of its diuretic and digestive properties, onion works against diabetes.

Raw onion is more useful.

vi. Flaxseed

This is the richest source of Omega 3 fatty acids.

It helps control diabetes because it maintains the sensitivity of the cell membrane, facilitates insulin, and thereby the uptake of glucose by the cells.

vii. Fibre

Soluble fibre, found in apples, kidney beans, oatmeal, soyabean, etc, help control diabetes.

These aid slow digestion and absorption of nutrients, resulting in a slow and steady release of glucose.

They soak up excess bile acids found in the intestinal tract, the same acids that are converted to blood cholesterol.

They also help empty the stomach and trigger satiety that can help Type 2 diabetics to achieve weight loss goals.

viii. Cinnamon solution

Water extracts of cinnamon have been found to promote glucose metabolism and reduce cholesterol.

You can boil cinnamon sticks in water and drink this water.

ix. Antioxidants

Diabetes is often associated with conditions like heart disease, diabetic retinopathy, immune deficiency and kidney disease.

Many are caused by free radical damage. Therefore, make sure you include antioxidants, especially vitamin C (lemons), E, selenium, zinc and chromium (Brewer's yeast), in your diet, as they have been shown to control blood sugar levels.

I, sincerely hope, that you have found this writing interesting and informative..

18 Replies

  • very informative...i,ll take the advice

  • excellent.very useful guidelines dr bhageria

  • Good information, certainly to this in mind in food habits


  • Dear Sir,

    Thanks a lot for this very nice & informative details on diabetic people food. I feel that I did a good thing by joining this group. Can you please provide your contact details to enable to ask questions, if we have any.


  • I am surprised that in your list of sweet alternative you suggest Honey,Jaggery,. Jaggery as I know is made from Sugar cane by boiling continuously until it reaches the consistency required..Since sugar is also made from sugar cane in India as oppose to Western countries where Sugar is produced from Beetroot, Honey also contains a combination mainly of Fructose and Sucrose, and especially both these sugars as I understand in the West is considered taboo. Any further light you would like to throw on the subject will be appreciated.


  • Sir,

    What is the best way to take flax seeds. I understand that it helps in cholestrol control also.

  • Most nutrition experts recommend ground over whole flaxseed because the ground form is easier for your body to digest. Whole flaxseed may pass through your intestine undigested, which means you won't get all the benefits.

    Flaxseed's health benefits come from the fact that it's high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, as well as phytochemicals called lignans. One tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains 2 grams of polyunsaturated fatty acids (includes the omega 3s) and 2 grams of dietary fiber and 37 calories.

    Flaxseed is commonly used to improve digestive health or relieve constipation. Flaxseed may also help lower total blood cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or "bad") cholesterol levels, which may help reduce the risk of heart disease.

    You can buy flaxseed in bulk — whole or ground — at many grocery stores and health food stores. Whole seeds can be ground in a coffee grinder and then stored in an airtight container for several months. Refrigerating whole seeds may also extend their freshness.

    Tips for including flaxseed in your diet:

    Add a tablespoon of ground flaxseed to your hot or cold breakfast cereal.

    Add a teaspoon of ground flaxseed to mayonnaise or mustard when making a sandwich.

    Mix a tablespoon of ground flaxseed into an 8-ounce container of yogurt.

    Bake ground flaxseed into cookies, muffins, breads and other baked goods.

    Like other sources of fiber, flaxseed should be taken with plenty of water or other fluids. Flaxseed shouldn't be taken at the same time as oral medications or other dietary supplements. As always, talk with your doctor before trying any dietary supplements.

  • What is flaxseed? Is it commonly known as 'isubguler bhusi'? I will be greatful if you enlighten the matter. Thanks.

  • Psyllium seed husks also known as ispaghula, isabgol, or psyllium, are portions of the seeds of the plant Plantago ovata, (genus Plantago), a native of India. They are hygroscopic, expanding and become mucilaginous. Ayurveda recommends its use for colon cleansing/ bowel regulation as well as for better blood circulation.

    Psyllium seed husk are indigestible and are a source of soluble dietary fiber. They are used to relieve constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, and diarrhea. They are also used as a regular dietary supplement to improve and maintain regular GI transit. The inert bulk of the husks helps provide a constant volume of solid material irrespective of other aspects of the diet or any disease condition of the gut. Some recent research is also showing them to be promising in lowering cholesterol and controlling diabetes.[1]

    Other uses include gluten-free baking, where ground psyllium seed husks bind moisture and help make breads less crumbly.

    The husks are used whole in their natural state, or dried and chopped or powdered for easier consumption. In either of these forms, one takes them by mixing them with water or another fluid.

    The husks may also be combined with other ingredients. For example, Blackstrap molasses is sometimes used with psyllium seed husks for its high mineral and vitamin content, as well as being an excellent carrier. A typical dose is one to three teaspoons per glass of water. Psyllium seeds can be used for the same purpose at a lower cost. The standard dose is 3.5gm dissolved in 250 ml of water.

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has established a tangible benefit of psyllium seed husk intake[2] and a decreased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). Psyllium's soluble fiber thus has the potential to decrease the risk of CHD.

    Flax (also known as common flax or linseed) (binomial name: Linum usitatissimum) is a member of the genus Linum in the family Linaceae. It is a food and fibre crop that is grown in cooler regions of the world. Flax fibres are taken from the stem of the plant and are two to three times as strong as those of cotton. As well, flax fibres are naturally smooth and straight.Flax seeds come in two basic varieties: (1) brown; and (2) yellow or golden. Most types have similar nutritional characteristics and equal numbers of short-chain omega-3 fatty acids. The exception is a type of yellow flax called solin (trade name Linola), which has a completely different oil profile and is very low in omega-3 FAs.Flax seeds contain high levels of dietary fiber as well as lignans, an abundance of micronutrients and omega-3 fatty acids (table). Studies have shown that flax seeds may lower cholesterol levels, although with differing results in terms of gender. One study found results were better for women [11] whereas a later study found benefits only for men.[12] Initial studies suggest that flax seeds taken in the diet may benefit individuals with certain types of breast[13][14] and prostate cancers

  • very informative and useful hints to reduce sugar level and avoid diabeticproblems

  • Very Good information,Thanks

  • This information is really interesting and helpfull. I shall try and test how it works.

  • wonderful and excellent reading such facts .I am diabetic 2 myself and have suffered two heart attacks in 2010 within a span of 8 months

    My blood sugar took a beating thereafter. Im on oral medication

  • very useful tips.

  • thanks for such a discriptive informations clearing many doubts.

  • A lot of that is nonsense. Salt is NOT the number one cause....tea and coffee have no bad effect. They have great antioxidants ...lower carbs. Cut out flour white rice and potatoes and pasta. Eat meat veges and fats...butter and olive oil. Margarine is horrible for anyone. Eat organically always.

  • i am taking karela juice 40-50 ml every day with empty stomach,and Also Taking Ashwagandha capsules by patanjali still I found Fast Sugar 117 and After Food 237 Can U Plz Guide Me for Controlling better. I am now 32 years How Long I can Survive with this disorder and can my children's get affected with DB,as I my father ,grand mother my uncle is having DB-II Plz Reply Chandrakant S 9823232899

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