Diabetes is a rapidly growing disease that affects 463 million people across the world. It is a condition due to which the pancreas cannot produce insulin or cannot make good use of the insulin it produces. The disease can be chronic, progressive, sometimes fatal and devastating for the person and his or her family.
World Diabetes Day is marked every year on 14th November and according to the International Diabetes Federation, the theme for this year’s World Diabetes Day is Family and Diabetes. The goal is to raise awareness on the impact of diabetes on families and to promote the role of the family in the management, care, prevention, and education of the disease.
There are three main types of Diabetes - Type 1, Type 2, and Gestational Diabetes. Here are some staggering facts from around the world that are put together by the International Diabetes Federation –
- Every 1 in 11 adults between 20 to 79 years of age have diabetes (463 million people)
- 1 in 2 adults with diabetes remain undiagnosed (232 million people)
- 1 in 5 people with diabetes are above 65 years old (136 million people)
- 10% of global health expenditure is spent on diabetes
- 1 in 6 live births (20 million) is affected by hyperglycaemia in pregnancy, 84% of which have gestational diabetes
- 3 in 4 (79%) of people with diabetes live in low and middle-income countries
- Over 1.1 million children and adolescents below 20 years have Type 1 Diabetes
. . .
It’s alarming that 4 out of 5 parents have trouble spotting the warning signs of diabetes and over 50% of Type 2 diabetes is preventable. This goes to say that certain risk factors and complications can be prevented and managed with a healthy diet, regular physical activity, and medication.
. . .
Here’s a list of foods to avoid if you or anyone in your family is diabetic –
- White Bread — Foods like white bread, cakes, and biscuits measure a high glycemic index which can spike your blood sugar levels dramatically. According to research conducted by the Cancer Council in Australia, people who ate more than 17 slices of bread per week had the highest risk of diabetes.
- Cereal — Cereals are high in carbohydrates and sugar, which can cause blood glucose levels to rise. Avoid cereals that include added sugar, hydrogenated oils, refined flour, high fructose corn syrup and other artificial sweeteners.
- Sweets and Candies — It is a common misconception that diabetes is caused by eating too many sugary foods. Sweets affect blood sugar levels, but do not cause diabetes. However, for people with diabetes, it is important to monitor carbohydrate and sugar intake.
- Fried foods — Fried foods like French fries contain carbohydrates that can spike blood sugar because the fat slows down digestion.
- Processed grains such as white rice or white flour — Whole and processed grains contain an easily digested type of starch that can trigger an increase in blood sugar levels after meals that can lead to weight gain and many other complications of diabetes.
- Red meat — A higher intake of red meat when compared to other kinds of meats poses a higher risk of diabetes. Studies show that the high heme iron content in these meats is associated with a significant risk increase.
- Dried fruit — Due to dehydration, there is a higher concentration of all nutrients and minerals of the original fruit, which means there is a higher concentration of sugar that could be bad for a diabetic.
- Whole milk — Cow’s milk adds calcium to the diet, but it also contains high amounts of carbohydrates that take the form of lactose milk which could impact blood sugar levels of diabetic people.
. . .
Here’s a list of foods you can include in your diet if you or anyone in your family is diabetic –
- Whole grains such as brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa, or amaranth — The bran and fibre in whole grains take a longer time to digest which indicates a slower rise in blood glucose levels. Whole grains are also rich in vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that help reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
- Vegetables and Fruits — Vegetables and fruits must be a central part of the diet for people with diabetes. Vegetables have high fibre content and naturally low sugar and salt content. Fruits give you carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, and fibre and also have low levels of sodium. Vegetables can be cooked in multiple ways and a plant-based diet is always the best choice for a diabetic.
- Beans — Beans are considered diabetes superfoods. They are low on the glycemic index and can help control blood sugar levels better than any other starchy foods. Beans also contain protein and fibre which makes them a perfect addition for a nutritious meal.
- Seafood — Seafood contains Omega3 and proteins which helps keep your heart healthy. People with diabetes generally have low levels of Vitamin D, so including fish in your diet can help with dietary intake of Vitamin D.
- Poultry without skin — When prepared in a healthy way, chicken can be a great diet for people with diabetes. Chicken is high in protein and low in fat. However, it is advisable to eat skinless poultry because they are high in fat content.
- Eggs — Eggs are a great source of protein for diabetics. One large egg contains about half a gram of carbohydrates and is low on the glycemic index. They are also an excellent source of potassium which improves your cardiovascular health.
- Skim milk — Skim milk is a better dietary choice than whole milk because of its lower fat content. It has the same amount of calcium, Vitamin D, riboflavin, and protein as whole milk, which makes it a good meal addition for people with diabetes.