Diabetes is a highly prevalent lifestyle disease in India with an estimated 77 million people formally diagnosed. India is the second most affected country in the world after China. Further, 700,000 Indians died of diabetes, hyperglycemia, kidney disease, or other complications of diabetes in 2020.
Monitoring diet is extremely important for people with diabetes. A diabetes diet plan should ideally help a patient control blood sugar (glucose), manage their weight, and control the risk of heart disease. Therefore, a diabetic-friendly eating plan is rich in nutrients and low in calories. Food to avoid include white rice, white bread, sugar-sweetened beverages, and trans fats.
However, not all white rice needs to be avoided.
Certain varieties of white rice that have a low Glycemic Index can be consumed. Kalanamak rice, indigenous white rice with a Glycemic Index of less than 55 is one such variety. This is rice is grown in 11 districts of Uttar Pradesh and has a Geographical Indication (GI) tag. The rice is well known throughout the region for its distinctive aroma and taste. Kalanamak rice is a great source of zinc, iron, copper, and magnesium.
Similarly, low GI fruits and nuts can also be consumed without spiking one’s sugar levels.
Sweet potatoes do not have a high GI, making them a great food choice for diabetics as the sugar is released in the blood over a long time. Sweet potatoes are also a great source of fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium. Similarly, citrus fruits and berries are a great source of vitamins and minerals, with zero carbohydrates. Research shows that citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, and lemons can be beneficial for people with diabetes. Citrus fruits are a great source of Vitamin C, potassium, and folate.
To conclude, diabetics have to closely monitor their food choices but this does not mean they have to let go of white rice, fruits, or potatoes. With kalanamak rice, citrus fruits, and sweet potatoes, diabetics can continue to enjoy their favorite food.