Tag: diabetes

Diabetes Diet Myths Decoded

Diabetes Diet Myths Decoded

Meeting diabetic patients on a regular basis, has made me aware of all the diet mistakes they commit. Although diabetic diet is not a very special diet, there are still a lot of confusions regarding rice, banana, milk etc. Medical professionals too give incorrect advise on the diets to be followed. This has left a lot of diabetic patients frustrated and confused. Most of them just give up and go back to their old diets. Many assume that if they consume oral hypoglycemics or tablets that promote insulin release and activity, they do not need to make changes in their diets. Well, you do not need to shop for new foods or change all the cooking methods at all. It is not difficult manage diabetes and eat healthy too.

So lets decode and simplify the Diabetic Diet myths

Myth 1: Rice is banned in diabetes (evil in fact) and wheat is good (eat chapathis/rotis only)!!!

Rice and wheat belong to the same family of cereals and have the same amount of calories. But  yes, white rice can increase blood sugars, so learn carbohydrate counting. Eat brown rice, parboiled rice and whole wheat products within your calorie requirement. Yes, you are allowed rice too.

Myth 2: Milk is bad for Diabetes

Milk and milk products are good for diabetes as it is a source of good quality protein and minerals such as calcium and magnesium which help lower sugars. Consume low fat milk products. Yogurt/ curds is a healthy snack for diabetics.

Myth 3: Zero fat diets help control blood sugars

No, they dont. Fat helps in improving the glycemic index or in simple words, the rate at which the sugar travels in the blood. So fat slows down the rate. So please consume healthy fats such as nuts such as almonds and walnuts, seeds such as flaxseeds, fish etc as this keeps you fuller and cuts down on carbohydrate rich snacks. Do not replace carb rich snacks for fat. Do not stop adding seasoning to your dals and curries.

Myth 4: South Indian breakfast Idli and Dosa are bad for diabetics

Wrong again!!! These dishes contain dals which provide protein and as well as fat is added and combined with fiber rich sambhar and chutney, which again improve glycemic index. Aim for smaller portions or quantities.

Myth 5: Go vegetarian if you are a diabetic !!!

Vegetarianism is assumed the best diet, but I have noticed a lot of vegetarians go low on protein. Before you become a convert, please understand meat, fish and eggs do not increase bloods sugars, in fact help in lowering the blood sugars. Vegetarians too should add milk products,dals and nuts to maintain bloods sugars.

Myth 6: Fruits are banned completely for a diabetic!

I partly agree as fruits can spike sugar levels and mess up with insulin sensitivity. It is assumed that eating a lot of fruits is good for health and some call themselves fruitarians. Diabetic or not, eat only 1-2 fruits per day for their benefits, not for the sugars.

Myth 7: Potatoes, beetroot etc are a no-no for diabetes!!

We Indians eat a lot of carbs from cereals such as rice and wheat products and also include starchy vegetables. In an exchange list, one serving of any cereal and starchy vegetable provides 15g as per the exchange list. Hence cut down cereal servings, if you do want to include starchy vegetables. For eg. 2 rotis + potato sabji(with skin) 1/2 cup instead of 3 rotis. Please leave the skin on the veggies to improve fiber intake.

Each individuals diet has to be tailored as per their requirements, age etc. So please meet a dietitian who can guide you the right way.

What causes Fatty Liver

What causes Fatty Liver


Before discussing about “Fatty Liver’, let us learn something about the organ itself.

-Liver-  is also called The “Silent” organ in the body.

Generally people talk about their teeth, hair, lungs, heart, face etc, but very rarely about Liver and its existence, even though Liver happens to be the largest organ in one’s body weighing roughly one and a half kilos. It resides in the upper right part of one’s abdomen, well protected by ribs. It is said that it does more than 500 types of jobs and if any one of its major jobs  fails  , one can better start making funeral arrangements. One can not  find any  other way of over-emphasizing the importance of this vital organ in the human body than mentioning it in the manner  as above.

Liver  participates virtually in everything, as for example, it provides muscle fuel, if one wants to play a game of Golf, digest one’s breakfast, manufacture the Vitamins that helps one’s night vision and so on. Its job is endless. This being so, is it not one’s duty to take care of this vital organ from diseases? protect it from any damage? and at least minimum care, so that it can do its job silently and help one to lead a healthy life free from diseases.

Hepatitis, Fatty liver, Cirrhosis, Cancer, etc, are some of the common diseases affecting the liver.

Now lets just discuss about Fatty Liver

What is Fatty Liver?

Fatty liver is a condition where fat or triglycerides deposit in the liver.Some fat in the liver is mormal, but if it makes up more than five to ten percent of the weight of your liver , you would be at risk. Alcoholic or non-alcoholic.

What causes metabolic fatty liver disease?

1. Alcohol consumption.
2. Metabolic causes like diabetes mellitus, obesity.
3. Hepatitis C.
4. Drugs.
5. Starvation.

1. What are the diseases most commonly seen in Fatty liver?

Fatty liver itself is an abnormal condition and it increases the risk of developing conditions like Cancer, hepatitis, Cirrhosis, etc. At these latter two stages, jaundice might also develop.

2. Does diet play any part?

diet rich in fat and calories raises the chance of obesity-induced insulin resistance.

3. What is the treatment?

Treatment starts with weight reduction, but not rapidly. An average of 1.6 kgs/ week is recommended. The target should be 10% reduction of the baseline weight.Depending on the stage and symptom of the disease, medications are prescribed.Diet, exercise, and certain medications are the recommended ways to reduce weight.Bariatric surgery is advised for morbidly obese patients.

4.  Is it possible to lead a normal life With a fatty Liver?

Fatty liver is a life long condition. Still with a few lifestyle changes,necessary treatment,and periodic check up with the doctor there is no reason why a patient suffering from fatty liver should not enjoy a normal life.

You can also read on ways to cure fatty liver

Do you also have a fatty liver? How do you cope up with it, have you done any modifications in your life style to control fatty liver? Please do let us know.

What is Type 1 Diabetes?

What is Type 1 Diabetes?

Glaucometer for Measuring Blood Sugar
Glaucometer for Measuring Blood Sugar

We don’t completely understand what causes juvenile onset diabetes, but there is much research being done to answer the question. At present it seems that the body treats the beta cell in the pancreas as something “foreign” that does not belong in the body. The result is the beta cells get “zapped” and killed. We don’t understand why this only happens to certain people. Also, we cannot predict everyone who will get diabetes. We can decrease the damage with certain medicines, but each one of them has side effects and once the destruction occurs we cannot make the beta cells return.

Insulin is secreted in the pancreas along with digestive juices and several other hormones. The pancreatic cells known as beta cells produce insulin. For reasons that are not yet completely explained, the immune system of a person with Type 1 Diabetes tends to cause the destruction and death of beta cells. When a large number of beta cells die your pancreas can no longer make all the insulin that you need. As a result of this destruction, it is necessary to provide your body with insulin made outside the body.

Read more on: How can we control Type 1 Diabetes?

Cashew butter- A healthy treat

Cashew butter- A healthy treat

Nut butters are used widely by all. They are eaten for breakfast and as snacks alone. Peanut butter has been used but there are various other butters such as almond butter, macadamia nut butter, pine nut butter etc… Let us look at cashew butter now widely available.

Cashew butter is an excellent option for those who are bored  of allergic to peanut butter. Although unusual it is widely available in the organic forms which is free from pesticides and preservatives.

Let us have a look at its nutritional benefits.

  • As any nut butter, it is rich in protein and healthy fats.
  • It is high in monounsaturated fats and low in saturated fats and hence is a heart healthy butter and helps to reduce the triglycerides.
  • Helps patients with diabetes to maintain their blood sugars as they are very low in carbohydrates.
  • It provides the mineral copper which is said to decrease the risk of cancer by its antioxidant properties.
  • It is bone healthy butter thereby providing magnesium which helps to strengthen our bones.

So lather on whole wheat bread or add a tablespoon to your milkshake and slurp it up

Why eat green peas and other beans….

Why eat green peas and other beans….

Green PeasMany of us have been eating beans in our diet, but have we ever thought about their benefits. Yes, it is still great to eat baked beans for breakfast now.

Let us first look at the health benefits of beans.

  • They are rich in fiber, both soluble and insoluble fiber. The soluble fiber present helps to slow down the entry of glucose into the blood stream, helps to lower ‘LDL’ or bad cholesterol. The fiber combines with the bile salts and excretes it, thereby reducing the cholesterol content in the body. The insoluble fiber helps to relieve constipation with a laxative effect and hence helps to prevent gastrointestinal disorders.
  • It helps to lower homocysteine levels, a compound known to increase the risk of heart disease. Folate helps to lower homocysteine levels. Elevated blood levels of homocysteine are an independent risk factor for heart attack, stroke, or peripheral vascular disease, and are found in between 20-40% of patients with heart disease.
  • Manganese content in beans help to release various enzymes for energy production and for release of antioxidants.
  • The magnesium present in beans helps to improve the flow of blood through the veins and arteries and thereby prevents blood clotting and hence prevents heart attacks.
  • Beans are a good source of many of the B vitamins and also bring good supplies of calcium, copper, iron, zinc, phosphorus, potassium for our bodies.
  • It is the cheapest source of protein and is said to be low in fat. The bean protein on combination with whole grain cereals helps to provide the good quality of proteins required for vegetarians and also for others with out the saturated fats which are present in meats and dairy.
  • The phytoestrogens present in few of the beans such as soyabeans helps to protect against various cancers in women.
  • Beans has been quite beneficial in diabetes as it helps to maintain blood sugars, hence should be liberally used by diabetics. Diabetics can eat these to have healthy and satisfying meals. It provides energy but still stabilizes blood sugar levels.

Hence use beans in your diet for its health benefits. If using the canned variety, look for the ones that are not preserved in sugar and fat.

Beans can be incorporated in the diet in various ways such as

  • Bean soup- steam beans and do not throw away the water. Add the spices you like and have a bowl of this soup for your meals.
  • Saute beans in tomato puree and have them with whole wheat bread.
  • Add cooked beans in salad with lots of veggies.
  • Beans can be used for filling up sandwiches.

My favourite recipe with beans.

Ingredients for one serving

  • Cooked beans-25-30gms
  • Yogurt or curd -100ml
  • Kelloggs wheat flakes with bran
  • Salt, pepper, cumin powder, chilli powder.
  • veggies- chopped onions, tomato, coloured peppers etc

Mix all the ingredients together and serve immediately.