While health professionals have for long stressed the importance of diet in the control of diabetes, patients and caretakers are often confronted with lack of accurate information on food choices. With the theme for the World Diabetes Day (November 14) this year being ‘healthy eating’, a team from the Indira Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute, Kathirkamam, offered people a chance to view firsthand high and low glycemic index food items or ‘diabetes-friendly’ food through a live demonstration at the hospital on Monday.
The demonstration, an Information, Education and Communication (IEC) activity organised by the Department of Community Medicine, IGMC&RI helped visitors clear their doubts with the team of doctors and interns. People were seen taking photographs of the display for future reference.
What to consume and what to avoid
There was a display of food materials which can be consumed by diabetic patients under cereals, pulses, legumes, vegetables, fruits and fats.
This included oats, barley, green peas, red millet (ragi) vermicelli, horse gram, dark millet, fenugreek, brown chickpeas, samba wheat, carrot, broccoli, beans, cucumber, brinjal, drumstick, bitter gourd, palak, peas, beans, lady’s finger, guava, papaya, orange, pomegranate and apple.
Among food items to be avoided by diabetic patients was a display of potato, beetroot, vada, chips, cake, corn, grapes, banana and noodles. The team also gave suggestions on recipes which can be made using the raw materials.
The team also put up charts which included information on calories per regular activities, as well as ideal diets for diabetic patients for breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner, and the time at which meals must be taken.
“There are often misconceptions about which food can be consumed and which cannot. For instance, there are multiple varieties of breads available. White and broken wheat breads have up to 80 percent maida flour which is converted into sugar. Thus diabetic patients must stick to whole wheat bread,” said Dr. Chavada V.K., Associate Professor, Department of Community Medicine. He added that sweetened dates must be avoided.
“There must be a gap of six hours between each meal. For breakfast, it is ideal to consume 35 percent proteins, 35 percent carbohydrates and 30 percent fruits. For lunch and dinner, the diet should consist of 50 percent vegetables, 25 percent carbohydrates and 25 percent proteins,” said Mohammad Safwan, one of the interns on the team. It is ideal to alternate cooking oils, added Mr. Safwan.
Diet, exercise and stress management
“Normalisation of sugar levels is seldom achieved with treatment alone. Intervention through diet, exercise and stress management is necessary for controlling diabetes,” said Dr. Chavada V.K., Associate Professor, Department of Community Medicine.
In the case of Non Communicable Diseases like diabetes, people have the option of controlling and preventing them, said Dr. Chavada.
A Continuing Medical Education Programme on ‘Non-Pharmacological Approach for Diabetes Mellitus’ addressed the issue of how many calories a person requires, yoga and exercises for diabetes and ‘burden of disease’.
The sessions were led by Dr. Kavita Vasudevan, Head, Department of Community Medicine, Dr. Chavada and a team from Auroville.

Source : The Hindu