How to prevent diabetes?

In India, 1 out of 5 people are pre diabetic


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Madhumita Neog, Dietician: As the world observes Diabetes Day on the 14th of November, it is prudent to focus on health care of pre diabetic populations in order to prevent the diabetes surge. Almost half of pre diabetics develop diabetes. In India, 1 out of 5 people are pre diabetic & 1 out of 7 are diabetic.

First of all, it must be known that despite a family history of diabetes, it can be prevented or kept under control with a healthy diet and regular exercise. Body weight management is the first step to prevent the onset of diabetes or in regulating blood sugar levels.

Diabetes develops when the body does not produce enough of the hormone insulin from the pancreas. Insulin regulates the level of blood glucose, helps in utilising and storing glucose. Without insulin, the blood glucose cannot be transferred to the cells. Glucose starts accumulating leading to high blood sugar levels.

Persons over 50 years of age need 10% less calories with each passing decade.

The breakup of dietary calories should be as follows:

Carbohydrates   55-60%

Protein           15-20%

Fat                25-30%

A minimum of 100g of carbohydrates is needed to prevent ketosis.

Carbohydrates influence blood sugar levels directly. Consumption of complex carbohydrates and fibre rich foods can slow down digestion and prevent a sharp spike in blood sugar levels.

Some foods that have a low glycaemic load as well as low glycaemic index are: Whole cereals, beans, dal, pulses, strawberries, peaches, orange, pears.

Soluble fibre found in oats, barley, psyllium husk, fruits, vegetables, legumes and sprouts have a positive effect in maintaining blood sugar levels. It slows down digestion and reduces the absorption of glucose from the intestines.

25 to 40 g of fibre per day can ensure steady blood glucose levels.

It is important to keep monitoring blood glucose levels and work alongside a health care team to ensure proper dietary intake and lifestyle patterns in order to prevent the onset of diabetes as well as manage diabetes effectively.


The author is an expert professional dietician and views are her own