India is facing a twin burden of under-nutrition and over-nutrition: it figures prominently both in the hunger map of the world as well as being the diabetes capital of the world. India is facing an epidemic of diabetes, with high prevalence in urban areas. Over the past 30 years, the prevalence of diabetes has increased to 12-18% in urban India and 3-6% in rural India with significant regional variations. Another 14% having pre-diabetes a harbinger of future diabetes is as high as diabetes in Indians. The difference in prevalence of diabetes across India could be due to dissimilar levels of urbanization and lifestyle factors such as different diets and varying obesity levels.



Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Blood glucose is your main source of energy and comes from the food you eat. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps glucose from food get into your cells to be used for energy. Sometimes your body doesn’t make enough—or any—insulin or doesn’t use insulin well. Glucose then stays in your blood and doesn’t reach your cells and one experience weight loss, fatigue and ther symtoms.

Type of Diabetes:

The most common types of diabetes are Type 1, type 2 and  gestational diabetes.

1.       Type 1 diabetes mellitus: In type 1 diabetes, body does not make insulin. The immune system attacks and destroys the cells in the  pancreas that make insulin. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, although it can appear at any age. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day to stay alive.

2.      Type 2 diabetes mellitus: In type 2 diabetes, body does not make or use insulin well. One can develop type 2 diabetes at any age, even during childhood. However, this type of diabetes occurs most often in middle-aged and older people. Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes.

3.      Gestational Diabetes mellitus: Gestational diabetes is seen in pregnant females due to hormonal changes especially due to placental hormone. It usually goes away once the pregnant lady delivers baby but sometimes due to excessive weight gain or obesity and bad lifestyle it can be developed into type 2 diabetes.

Causes of diabetes:           

1.       Genes and family history

2.     Obesity

3.     Bad lifestyle or irregular life style

4.     Insulin resistance

5.     Stress

6.     Excessive use of steroids

7.     Pregnancy ( in case of gestational diabetes )

8.     Auto immune disorder ( in case of type 1)


Symptoms of diabetes mellitus

1.       Unexplained weight loss

2.     Excessive thirst

3.     Increased hunger

4.     Increased urination specially at night

5.     Blurred vision

6.     Fatigue

7.     Delayed healing of wound

8.     Numbness or tingling of hands and feet.




Once a person is detected with diabetes, the main concern for that person is what kind of diet do I need to take now?? What should I eat ??  The diabetic person is bombarded with advises from all the sides, don’t eat rice and potato, eat this, take this home remedy, oho! do not take medicine!! But reality is medicine or insulin is also important along with diet so just follow advice of your doctor and dietitian or nutritionist.

By following right diet and proper lifestyle one can wean off from medicine and insulin but not in case of type 1 diabetes as the person has to depend on insulin through the life.

Here are the few important general dietary guidelines for a person suffering from diabetes.


ü Eat small and frequent meals, one should follow three meals and 2 to 3 snack pattern. One should eat every 3 to 3.5 hrs.

ü Include protein in every meal. For example have a glass of milk or egg in your breakfast, have daal, paneer, curd, eggs, soybean, chicken, sprouts, oats, quinoa in your lunch and dinner.

ü Have whole grains like oats, daliya, wheat, ragi, jowar, bajra, brown rice in the diet instead of maid product or white rice.

ü Increase the intake of fibers as it helps to lower the blood sugar. Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, pulses are all fiber rich.

ü Fruits allowed in diabetic diet are apple, papaya, peaches, oranges, sweetlime, jamun, guava. The permitted quantity is 100gm per day.

ü Food restricted are refined food like maida, sugar, fried food and namkeen, red meat, processed food, fruits like banana/mango/watermelon/muskmelon all these have high level of fruit sugar that is fructose, fruit juices and other sugary drinks.

ü Reduce the intake of salt too.

ü Dry fruits like almonds, cashews, pistachio can be taken in prescribed amount.

ü Water intake 2 to 3 l per day

ü Physical exercise like walking, yoga, aerobics, zumba, cycling should be followed for 45 min everyday.

ü Home remedies also helps to lower the blood sugar like methi-dana powder after meals or methi-dana water empty stomach in morning, flax seed 1 to 2 tsp sprinkled on salad or added to flour for chapatti or grounded roasted flax seed/alsi with water at bedtime, chia seed in form of chia seed water or lemonade before meals, cinnamon powder taken with water post meals of added to daal, sabji and salads.


So here was an overview about diabetes and general dietary guidelines for a person suffering from diabetes. Always get a personalized diet chart from a dietitian or nutritionist.


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