It is perhaps not a coincidence that India is the Diabetic capital of the world. Our staple diets constitute of exactly what we should not be eating – carbohydrates.
No matter, what our caste, creed or religion is, we Indians have our breakfast, lunch, and dinner loaded with carbohydrates. You will find people arguing that diabetics should take chapati (roti) instead of rice. You will also come across some enlightened urbanites advising you to use multi-grain flour and not just wheat flour, for chapatis. Most Indians take some form of ‘parantha’ for breakfast (and even for lunch and dinner). Poori, bhathure, and kulcha are the other favorites for any of the meals.
If you compare your blood sugar levels with the sugar levels of a non-diabetic person, after such a meal, you will notice that the difference is huge. Recently, after having exactly the same quantity of breakfast, constituting 2 paranthas and a cup of tea, with my wife (and I certainly have a more active metabolism), I tested a postprandial of 220, while my wife tested just 112. My fasting sugar level on this day was a perfect normal of 82. Friends, let us not have any misgivings.
Carbohydrates are as bad as table sugar. Anything that converts to sugar quickly, becomes very difficult to manage by our body. And this definitely counts as bad news for us Indians.
We can’t imagine any of our meals without a substantial quantity of roti, parantha, poori, or rice. This is also the reason why we are not able to manage our sugar levels, no matter how much medication we take.
Is there a way out? Unfortunately not. Here are however a few tips that you should try practicing to help your body manage your sugar levels better:
- If taking wheat flour roti/ parantha, reduce the quantity to just 1.
- No, you don’t have to go hungry. Have additional servings of dal (lentils). But again, not all lentils are low glycemic. The lentils with least glycemic content include channa and rajma – things Indians in general relish the most. Some of the other standard lentils also have high glycemic value. The highest being – urad (used in Dal Makhani), black eyed beans, horse gram, and ragi. Even moong carries high glycemic value. Red kidney beans are also acceptable.
- Get to making chapati/parantha with besan (channa flour) – and you can have 2 or 3 chapattis.
- If you are taking rice, please cut down the serving size to really very small (may be a third of what you normally eat) and supplement with other food items.
- Make soya preparations an important component of your diet. Boiled soy has one of the lowest glycemic index. But, surprising as it might sound – soya milk has slightly higher Glycemic Index, as compared to full milk. Here, it is important to note that, if body weight is an issue with you, you should avoid full milk.
- Make peanuts an important constituent of your daily diet. This has one of the least glycemic values.
Test regularly to monitor and regulate what and how much should you eat and test your blood sugar levels regularly.