Can Diabetics Eat Rice And Potatoes? Top Diabetologist Answers
Diabetes is not a battle in which we have to fight with ourselves and let win the part which makes us unhappy. It is a part of our life which we should enjoy by balancing our lifestyle. One part of enjoyment is through food, which is a very important game to play what to eat and how much to eat. If we talk about our Indian diet, the staple diet is carbohydrate based, which is rice, wheat, potatoes or sweet potatoes. These are the major sources of carbohydrate in our diet.
How to balance these important sources which gives us satiety?
As per guidelines accepted by most of the associations (FDA, ICMR, ADA, WHO, USDA), carbohydrate should be included in our major meals (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner).
In each major meal, one- fourth of our plate should contain carbohydrate which comes from rice/roti/potato/sweet potato. The carbohydrate requirement is different for different individuals who are guided by a nutritionist depending on their Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and lifestyle.
Why we should consider portion size and follow food plate?
To understand the answer of above question we should know what glycemic index (GI) is and glycemic load. Glycemic index is a score given to different food item which indicates the effect of a carbohydrate rich food to raise our blood glucose level. It is scored between 0-100 which is categorized into 3 categories a. High (70 & above) b. Medium (56 to 69) and c. Low (55 & less). We should prefer taking low GI food. In today’s scenario, not only glycemic index of food is seen but glycemic load of a particular food is taken into consideration for example potato has high glycemic index but low glycemic load.
Glycemic load is to quantify the overall glycemic effect of a portion of food. The higher the glycemic index and glycemic load, higher will be the capacity of the food to elevate blood sugar level. One should know the glycemic index, glycemic load and carbohydrate content in our staple food sources. The table provides this information in 100g of these food items.
The glycemic index of our major carbohydrate sources is high but the glycemic loads of these food items are not high considering the portion size. Also, if we add fibre sources (Vegetables & fruits) it decreases the rapid digestion of glucose.
It is important to understand the quantity and quality of food that can be consumed as there are numerous myths related to diet in diabetes.
(Dr. Sujeet Jha is the Director of Institute of Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism at Max Healthcare)