diet and fitness guide for diabetes

Cure Diabetes through Diet and Lifestyle

World Diabetes Day: Every year on November 14, different countries observe World Diabetes Day. Started by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 1991 as a reactionary measure against the rise of diabetes around the world,  the day seeks to create awareness about the way diabetes affects people on a global scale.

Diabetes is on the rise…

It has already affected 350 million people worldwide and is quickly catching up in India, with figures exceeding 6.5 cr (around 5% of general population). Delhi is leading the numbers with a whopping 42% of its population being estimated to be diabetic, followed by Mumbai (38%), Ahmedabad (36%) and Bangalore (26%).

To make matters worse, WHO (world health organisation) says that half of those affected didn’t even know they were diabetic until they accidentally found out while getting screened for other ailments!

Types of Diabetes

Types of diabetes

Diabetes is a condition where the body cannot synthesise insulin adequately leading to high sugar levels in the blood. There are three types:

  • Type 1 Diabetes: In this case, the body is not at all producing insulin. Approximately 10% of the world population is facing Type 1 Diabetes.
  • Type 2 Diabetes: Type 2 Diabetes occurs when the body is not producing enough insulin for the proper functioning of the body. About 90% of Diabetic people are Type 2 Diabetes patients.
  • Gestational Diabetes: Gestational Diabetes is a temporary situation caused by women during their pregnancy.

Symptoms of Diabetes

These are some of the symptoms of Diabetes; if you find them, you should rush to the hospital.

  1. Frequent Urination
  2. Intense Thirst and Hunger
  3. Weight Gain
  4. Unusual Weight Loss
  5. Fatigue
  6. Cuts and Bruises
  7. Numbness and Tingling in Hands and Feet
  8. Male Sexual Dysfunction

Often, people who are suffering from Diabetes find it hard to deal with the disease. Taking medicines is not enough to cure the disease, but going on a proper diet and adding yoga in life can.

Anti-Diabetes Diet

In Diabetes, what you eat and what you cannot eat, plays an important role. Diabetes is a condition which can affect other parts of the body and cause complications. It is very important to follow the right diet and keep sugar level in control to keep the disease in Control.

  • Foods to Prefer

recommended foods during diabetes

  • Healthy fats from raw nuts, olive oil, fish oils, flax seeds, whole milk dairy, or avocados

Pro Tip: The safest fats are unsaturated fats, which come from fish and plant sources such as olive oil, nuts, and avocados. Omega-3 fatty acids fight inflammation and support brain and heart health. Good sources include salmon, tuna, and flax seeds.

  • Fruits and vegetables – Ideally fresh, the more colourful the better; whole fruit rather than juices
  • High-fiber cereals and bread made from whole grains or legumes
  • Fish and shellfish, organic, free-range chicken or turkey
  • High-quality protein such as eggs, beans, milk, cheese, and unsweetened yoghurt
  • Foods to Avoid

foods to avoid during diabetes

  • Trans fats from partially hydrogenated or deep-fried foods
  • Packaged and fast foods, especially those high in sugar, baked goods, sweets, chips, desserts
  • White bread, sugary cereals, refined pasta or rice
  • Processed meat and red meat from animals fed with antibiotics, growth hormones, and GMO feed
  • Low-fat products that have replaced fat with added sugar, such as fat-free yoghurt.

What must you know about Glycemic Index?

glycemic index vs diabetes

High glycemic index (GI) foods spike your blood sugar rapidly, while low GI foods have the least effect on blood sugar. The GI index runs from 0–100 and usually uses glucose, which has a GI of 100, as the reference. Choosing low-GI foods can particularly help manage glucose levels in people with Type 2 diabetes.

Pro Tip: Eating to control your diabetes isn’t just about GI ratings. Think of the bigger picture and choose foods low in saturated fat, salt and sugar as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

Be Smart – Break diet up to 6 meals a day

6 meals a day diet in diabetes

Your body is better able to regulate blood sugar levels and your weight when you maintain a regular meal schedule. Moderate and consistent portion sizes for each meal is important.

Start your day off with a good breakfast – It will provide energy as well as steady blood sugar levels.

Eat regular small meals – Eating regularly will help you keep your portions in check.

Keep calorie intake the same – To regulate blood sugar levels, try to eat roughly the same amount every day, rather than overeating one day or at one meal, and then skimping the next.

Instead of…Try these high-fibre options…
White riceBrown or wild rice, cauliflower
White potatoes (including fries and mashed potatoes)Sweet potatoes, yams, cauliflower mash
Regular pastaWhole-wheat pasta, spaghetti squash
White breadWhole-wheat or whole-grain bread
Sugary breakfast cerealHigh-fiber, low-sugar cereal
Instant oatmealRolled oats
CornflakesLow-sugar bran flakes
CornPeas or leafy greens



Food ItemAmountProtein(g)Calories (kcal)
Fenugreek seeds with 1 cup of water
Tea (without sugar)1 cup435
Stuffed methi/ Palak/Lauki paratha2 small7200
Curd50 gm (1 cup)330
Vegetable Poha/Upma/Oats/Daliya1 soup bowl4.5230
Apple/ Guava/ Orange140
Salad (Give a gap and then eat food)1 Medium bowl130
Capsicum + Gobhi veg+ Aloo1 medium bowl185
Dal1 soup bowl6130
Phulka (No ghee)26175
Milk / Green tea / Herbal tea / Lemon water1 cup235
Roasted chana with Murmura1 cup585
Salad (Give a gap and then eat food)
Phulka (No ghee)24.5150
Lauki veg1 cup285

We acknowledge that not all patients with type 2 diabetes have the same set of dietary requirements. So please consult a dietitian or a nutritionist so that you can tailor the diet plan suitable.

Yoga for Diabetes

Apart from following the right diet, the best thing to control diabetes is doing yoga. Some of the yoga asanas are helpful in keeping the disease under control. Also, if the diabetes is mild, then there are chances of getting rid of Diabetes. Here are some of the Yoga for diabetes patient which can help in getting rid of it:

  • Pranayam

    yoga for diabetes


    Pranayam is an ancient technique of breathing. In this Asana, all you have to do is breathe in deeply and exhale. Doing Pranayam regularly improves the blood circulation in the body, increases your intuition level and helps in oxygenating the blood.

  • Setubandhasana

    Setubandhasana : yoga for diabetes
    This Pose is meant for the people who are suffering from digestion ailments. Setubandhasana helps in keeping the blood pressure in control, relaxes the mind, improves digestion, relieves menstrual pain, stretches neck and spine and make the body flexible.

  • Vajrasana

    Vajrasana : yoga for diabetes
    As it is said, “a simple truth can change your life”. Similarly, “an easy and comfortable pose can heal your disease”. Vajrasana helps in relaxing the body and mind, improves the digestion and massages the Kanda; all you have is to sit right.

  • Dhanurasana

    Dhanurasana : yoga for diabetes
    An Asana to set your body straight. This asana can relieve menstrual pains, get rid of hormonal imbalance, improves digestion, relieves stress and fatigue and strengthen your back and spine.

>>>Check out the Yoga guru performing asanas to help with Diabetes.

These are some of the basic and easy Yoga Asanas which help in getting rid of Diabetes. Make a habit of practising them every day and feel as light as a feather. Make your body disease-free with the right diet and some easy stretches.

Pro Tip: Walking/Running/Cycling/Swimming for a minimum of 150 minutes per week (>30 min per day for 5 days with not more than 2 consecutive days for rest) will cut your risk of diabetes by more than a third!

Check the number of calories burnt before/after each exercise session and your sugar levels once a week. If your blood sugar level is less than 100 mg/Dl, eat a little before you start working out.

Immediate Lifestyle changes

freedom from diabetes

Eating right and exercising are the easiest ways to take control of your health. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented, if not postponed for at least another 10 years, provided you make the necessary changes to your lifestyle.

  • Lose excess body fat: If your BMI is more than 30, it means you are obese and that is the prime reason for diabetes among Asians. So avoid sedentary lifestyle (sitting idle for > 90 min at a stretch).
  • Manage stress: Too much stress has a direct link to your blood sugar levels. So if you are anxious and stressed about something, stress hormones are released and the blood pressure increases. Yoga and meditation are the best ways to fight stress.
  • Avoid smoking and alcohol: Smoking affects your body’s sensitivity to insulin and damages the blood vessels through inflammation. Alcohol consumption means higher sugar intake, making your weight stats shoot out of the chart. Therefore, limit your alcohol as much as possible and quit smoking. Take medical help if needed.
  • Exercise daily: If your muscles are exerted, they utilise and thereby lower the blood glucose, making you sensitive to insulin. Lifting weights and building muscle in the gym is also great if your physician okays it first.

Know prediabetes before it hits you hard

diabetes: diet, fitness, lifestye

Prediabetes is a stage where the person’s blood shows a high level of glucose, but not so high to qualify as diabetes. It may affect both adult and children. Individuals suffering from this type are at the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. A fasting plasma glucose test is done to detect prediabetes. If the fasting blood sugar level is below 100mg/dL it is considered as normal. If it is between 100mg/dL to 125mg/dL it is considered as prediabetes and above it indicates diabetes.

The cause of prediabetes is unknown but heredity, obesity and inactivity are considered to play a role. In general, prediabetes does not display any symptoms or sign. The only possible sign is darkening of certain areas such as elbows, knees, armpits and neck. Prediabetes should be taken as a warning sign and by adopting healthy diet and lifestyle you can bring back the sugar to a normal level and prevent the development of type 2 diabetes.

Malnutrition-related diabetes mellitus- This type of diabetes has been recently been categorized under a separate entity. It is seen mostly in tropical countries like India and affects people between 15 to 30 years of age. It makes the sufferer lean and malnourished. In this type of diabetes, the pancreas fails to produce adequate insulin. Thus, the patient requires insulin injections. But unlike type-1 diabetes, if insulin injections are discontinued, the patient does not develop ketoacidosis.

Most doctors say that people don’t take diabetes with the seriousness it deserves until it paves way for serious complications later. And those with prediabetes (borderline case) should be careful and prevent any further worsening sugar levels. Eat healthily, Stay fit!!