The diet of a diabetic patient should be specific. It should be such that, it does not cause any more worsening of the situation. The diet should be planned taking into consideration the following points:
1. The diet should be in coordination with the glucose levels in the blood. The diet should neither cause hyperglycaemia nor hypoglycaemia.
2. The diet should also be planned carefully so as to balance the treatment or therapy being given to the patient. The effect of the therapy, whether it may be insulin or oral hypoglycaemic drugs, should be carefully noted. Based on the therapeutic effect achieved, the diet should be planned so that it does not lead to any other complications.
3. If the patient already has any of the complications of Diabetes, i.e., if he is already a chronic diabetic then the diet should be planned according to the prevailing circumstances. For example, if the person is suffering from diabetic nephropathy, then protein intake should be reduced to 0.8g/kg body weight of the person per day.
The diet should have the following features:
1. It can contain fruits, vegetables, fiber containing foods and low fat.
2. Sucrose and other sugars should be avoided. But as per the latest research in some complicated conditions they are being used to minimize other complications of diabetes like hyperlipidemia and hypertension.
3. Glycaemic Index of the foods should be taken into consideration. Low glycaemic index foods should be given so that there is no elevation of post prandial blood sugar levels.
4. Calorific food should be reduced. (e.g., sugar in coffee, tea, etc.)
5. Artificial sweetners like aspartame, alitame, sucrolose and saccharin can be used in place of sugar in beverages like coffee and tea. Artificial sweeteners are non calorigenic.
6. Obesity is the major cause of type 2 diabetes. Hence, type 2 diabetes diet should be such that the weight of the person should be reduced. So, low calorie diet is needed for weight reduction. Hypocaloric diet constitutes of low carbohydrate and low fat.
7. Sucrose containing foods should be avoided as far as possible. However, the intake may be adjusted as per the insulin dosage being given.
8. Routine supplements of vitamins, antioxidants or trace elements are not preferable.
9. Protein content in diet may be normal but it should be reduced in case of diabetic nephropathy.
10. Soluble dietary fiber consumption improves glycaemic control in case of type 2 diabetes patients.
11. Mostly a lunch of rice meal and a dinner of bread (dry flat bread preferably without curry) is advised.
12. Patients should have control on themselves. They should not consume too many sweets and should also try to avoid sugar in coffee and tea.
13. Finger millet malt gives a good glycaemic control.
14. It is said in ayurveda that, a guava leaf should be soaked in water for the entire night and that water should be drunk early in the morning after brushing teeth on empty stomach. They say that it helps a lot in controlling diabetes especially of type 2 diabetes.
A careful well planned diet, though may not cure diabetes, helps a lot in controlling the symptoms and delaying the onset of complications of diabetes. If the diet is strict then just oral hypoglycaemic drugs are enough to control diabetes or else there may be a need of insulin therapy which is a costly affair.