Diet guidelines for Diabetic Patients

Dr Delnaz Tabriz Chanduwadia

Dr Delnaz Tabriz Chanduwadia

Dietician and Nutritionist, Jaslok Hospital, 13 years of experience

April 21, 2022 Lifestyle Diseases 270 Views

English हिन्दी Bengali

What is diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus, commonly called diabetes, is a severe metabolic disorder that causes high levels of glucose to accumulate in the blood. We know, insulin is the anti ketogenic hormone that helps uptake of glucose by the cells, from the blood, but if insulin cannot be properly manufactured by the body or if the body does not have proper hormone receptors to respond to the actions of insulin, then diabetes is said to occur. Diabetes, if left untreated, can damage the eyes, nerves, and even vital organs like kidneys and heart. ( Know more about- What is Diabetes?)

If all this seemed like medical jargon to you, then you must be surprised with how common this disease is becoming in India. At present, 77 million Indians suffer from diabetes, making it the second-highest number of diabetics in the world. This means every 6th diabetic person in the world is an Indian. Of this, approximately 20 million diabetic patients are above the age of 60. As many people do not seek treatment for this disease due to concerns about healthcare costs, food restrictions, etc. they can suffer from strokes, heart problems, and other serious diseases. To prevent such complications, you need to make sure you follow a strict diet plan and a proper course of treatment for your diabetes.

But when we talk about a strict diet plan, it does not mean that you have to give up on having tasty food altogether. The most important factor here is to make a properly planned chart that takes all the calories into account and helps you in balancing the meals so that your blood sugar levels don’t elevate. 

Why do we need to make a diet chart for controlling diabetes?

Be it any disease, your diet plays an important role in managing the symptoms and keeping complications at bay. A proper diet chart for diabetes is that which does not require you to give up on your favorite food altogether but also keeps control over your blood sugar levels.

How do we construct a healthy meal plan for diabetes?

Let us reiterate this: diabetes does not mean you have to give up on your favorite dishes. A common mistake made while forming a diet chart is completely switching the patient to a bland diet full of raw veggies and fruits, whole grain cereals, etc. But this can be detrimental because these foods will lower the appetite of the patient who was previously used to a hearty Indian meal. Reduced appetite will lower their immunity and make them prone to diseases. So, a diet plan must include all sorts of food, while keeping the calories in check. 

What foods can Diabetic Patients eat?

The Diabetes meal plan may include all favorite foods, but in small portions. One must include all the healthy foods, in the right amounts, in their meal plan. The foods that diabetes patients can take are-

  • Vegetables – starchy ( corn, peas, potatoes ), non- starchy ( broccoli, carrots, green veggies )
  • Fruits – grapes, oranges, apples, berries, bananas.
  • Grains- whole grains ( wheat, rice, oats, barley) , others ( cereals, bread ) ( Know more about- What are the health benefits of oats? )
  • Protein-rich foods – eggs, meat, fish, dried beans, tofu. (Know more about- Benefits and Side effects of Eggs )
  • Low fat or nonfat dairy – milk, yogurt, cheese
  • Heart-healthy fats food- olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocado. ( Know more about- What are the benefits of Avocado? )

What foods to avoid for Diabetic Patients?

  1. Fried foods, foods rich in saturated fats, trans fats.
  2. Sodium rich or salt-rich foods
  3. Baked sweets, candies, or ice creams
  4. Beverages or packed juices, soda, energy drinks
  5. Alcohol consumption must be minimal for patients on diabetes medicines or insulin

When should Diabetes patients eat?

  • One must consult their doctors to get a better idea about their diet chart and mealtimes, in accordance with their diabetes medicines or insulin intake time
  • For most patients, it is advised to take the same amount of diet at the same time each day.
  • Patients on mealtime insulin can be more flexible with their meal timings.
  • Never skip or delay meals as this may cause a severe drop in blood glucose levels, which can lead to heart attack or stroke in advanced cases. ( Know more about- What is Heart Attack? )


Yes, it is a must that diabetic patients eat healthy as food intake has a direct influence on blood sugar levels. A properly balanced diet chart will give all the important nutrients required for the body while keeping the glucose level in check. This will reduce the occurrence of any complications and ensure a healthy life. 

We hope we were able to answer your queries about Diet Guidelines for Diabetic Patients, through this article. 

For more information about the Diet Guidelines for Diabetic Patients, contact a Dietitian.

We only aim to give you information through the article. We do not recommend medication or treatment in any way. Only a doctor can give you the best advice and treatment plan. 

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