Don’t let diabetes make you fear grains

DON’T LET DIABETES MAKE YOU FEAR GRAINS

You might be familiar with cutting off on carbohydrates all together, swapping rice with chapatis, restricting yourself from getting that serving of pulao or bread or biriyani. If you’ve ever been faced with the fear of carbohydrates and how it is going to affect blood sugar, this article is aimed to help you overcome this fear and give you the facts around grains and how it impacts your condition.

FACT 1
CARBOHYDRATES FROM RICE IS NO DIFFERENT FROM CARBOHYDRATES IN CHAPPATI
While we’ve been conditioned to believe that chappati is better than rice when it comes to managing blood sugar levels, its important to observe that for the same serving size the amount of carbohydrate in both are almost the same. Therefore, its perfectly alright to prefer rice even when you have been diagnosed with diabetes. It is also important to note that glycemic response varies from individual to individual. Work with professionals to understand what works best for you.

FACT 2
WHITE RICE IS NOT HARFUL FOR DIABETES
White rice is often being looked upon as something that can cause harm to the body, or can increase blood sugar. But this isn’t true. Although, whole grains contain better fiber, white rice is easier to digest and can be safe for consumption even for people with diabetes. Mindful portion sizes and smart food choices to accomplish dietary fiber intake lacking in refined grains, however needs to be emphasized.

FACT 3
WHOLE GRAINS CAN BE A VALUE ADD
Dietary fiber and its role in metabolic health is well established. Especially, its role in preventing glucose spikes and ability of facilitate gradual release of glucose into the blood is commendable. Whole grains are one of the major sources of dietary fiber in our eating pattern. Avoiding grains can also affect overall intake of fiber. Whole grains, when compared to their refined counterparts, contain higher amount of fiber and therefore including them can aid in managing diabetes. At least two servings of whole grains per day has been shown to have significant effects on blood sugar.

FACT 4
FOCUS ON A WHOLESOME NUTRIENT DENSE EATING PATTERN
Your blood sugar response depends on components on your entire meal than just one particular ingredient or component. Therefore, ensuring a wholesome diet, with a balance of all essential nutrients, can help in achieving appropriate glycemic control. Nutrients like B Complex vitamins, magnesium, chromium, dietary fiber, proteins, dietary fats, have roles in enabling the body to metabolise and maintain blood glucose more effectively.

FACT 5
EATING THE RIGHT KIND OF CARBOHYDRATES CAN HELP REGULATE BLOOD SUGAR
Forget cutting down carbohydrates and pay attention to what kind of carbohydrates you eat. Eg. Jams are highly concentrated with sugar and have very low nutrient profile, while Potatoes or Rice or Banana (which also usually fall under the list of forbidden foods for diabetes) contain additional nutrients apart from starch. Focus on nutrient density of foods and ensure you include a lot of whole foods against those that just provide extra calories without providing other nutrients. There are no forbidden list of foods, ensuring balance and consistency is the key to progress. Grains and root vegetables also contain a specific kind of starch, the resistant starch, that can have positive impacts on blood sugar levels.

Diabetes control can be achieved with appropriate lifestyle modifications and body weight management. It cannot be accomplished by depending of a particular foods, or restriction of individual food groups. Beat diabetes by ditching the fear around foods and practicing appropriate dietary habits and physical activity.

SUJATHA S
(REGISTERED DIETITIAN, CHENNAI)

REFERENCES:
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Lattimer JM, Haub MD. Effects of dietary fiber and its components on metabolic health. Nutrients. 2010 Dec;2(12):1266-89. doi: 10.3390/nu2121266. Epub 2010 Dec 15. PMID: 22254008; PMCID: PMC3257631.

Davison KM, Temple NJ. Cereal fiber, fruit fiber, and type 2 diabetes: Explaining the paradox. J Diabetes Complications. 2018 Feb;32(2):240-245. doi: 10.1016/j.jdiacomp.2017.11.002. Epub 2017 Nov 10. PMID: 29191432.

Aune D, Norat T, Romundstad P, Vatten LJ. Whole grain and refined grain consumption and the risk of type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of cohort studies. Eur J Epidemiol. 2013 Nov;28(11):845-58. doi: 10.1007/s10654-013-9852-5. Epub 2013 Oct 25. PMID: 24158434.

Reynolds AN, Akerman AP, Mann J. Dietary fibre and whole grains in diabetes management: Systematic review and meta-analyses. PLoS Med. 2020 Mar 6;17(3):e1003053. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1003053. PMID: 32142510; PMCID: PMC7059907.

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