Su Ravindran – Diabetes and Your Diet

I work as a family physician in Ontario, but my passion for health leads me to write online as well.

In a recent article (Patients Need to be Continually Educated About Diabetic Foot Care, Says Dr. Su Ravindran), I commented on the subject of diabetes, specifically as it relates to diabetic foot care.

I’d now like to discuss how you can improve your diet as a way to reduce the risk of developing diabetes. Even if you are a diagnosed pre-diabetic, taking steps to improve your diet can keep you from developing diabetes altogether.

First, I have to stress the importance of getting enough fiber in your diet – for a man of average weight, that means eating at least 30 grams a day. Fiber reduces your risk of diabetes by improving blood sugar levels. While fiber is a carbohydrate, which pre-diabetics are taught to avoid, it has a unique property that makes it part of a first-line defense against diabetes: since the body does not break it down, fiber does not raise blood glucose levels.

Fiber also promotes healthy weight loss by helping you feel full and sated. Great sources of fiber include fruits (apples, bananas, oranges, mango, raspberries and guava), vegetables (asparagus, broccoli, potatoes, carrots), and whole grain cereals and breads.

Secondly, mind your carbs – not just how much you are getting, but the quality of carbohydrates you are consuming. The common distinction between “complex carbs” (good for diabetics) and “simple carbs” (bad for diabetics) is a good guideline to go by. But, recent research suggests the picture is more complicated.

Modern science classifies foods according to their glycemic index. Put simply, foods with a high glycemic index tend to raise glucose levels, while foods with a low glycemic index have the opposite effect. Labeling food with its glycemic index is not something required by law. But, fortunately your doctor or a quick Internet search can help you make an informed decision. One great low-glycemic option is whole grain bread.

Finally, there are a few fatty foods you should avoid – these are commonly known as “junk food”. We are cautioned to limit our exposure to these foods all our lives, but a pre-diabetic must take special consideration in choosing his or her diet.

Fast-food hamburgers, birthday cake, nachos, and carbonated beverages are all to be avoided. These foods are high in fat and simple sugars, meaning they spike our blood sugar levels and cause us to gain weight, both of which are predictors of diabetes.

It should be pointed out that avoiding bad food means more than just avoiding junk food. Common “healthy” foods also contain high amounts of simple sugars, which means that diabetics should avoid them. Some examples of these would be fruit juices, including orange juice, and dried fruit, especially raisins or apricots. In the case of dried fruits, the dehydration process concentrates fruits’ natural sugar levels and makes them even more dangerous for diabetics or pre-diabetics to consume.

These are just beginning tips for those who wish to avoid diabetes. While it may seem limiting to watch your diet closely, it can actually be an exciting journey. Beginning with the solid principles of maximizing fiber, avoiding simple carbs, and avoiding fats, you can construct recipes so delicious you’ll forget you’re eating healthy.

Author Bio:

I’m Su Ravindran, and it’s been a pleasure informing you about diabetes, so that you can make the best choices for your diet.

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