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Why Are Meals Prepared At Home The Best Choice For People With Diabetes?

Dining out has become a popular trend in many countries. This lifestyle change of consuming food outside the home is often associated with poor diet quality, high-calorie intake and increased risk of metabolic diseases, including diabetes.

A follow-up study conducted on 58,051 women (from 1986 to 2012) and 41,676 men (from 1986 to 2010) has shown that frequent intake of meals prepared at home is linked to a lower risk of diabetes in both men and women along with less weight gain over time. [1]

In this article, we will discuss how the consumption of homemade food is linked to decreased incidence of diabetes. Take a look.

Why Are Meals Prepared At Home Good For Diabetics?

The best diabetes diet or food pattern for diabetics emphasizes the daily consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low dairy fats, legumes, nuts, poultry and reduced consumption of red meat. This diet type is also linked to the prevention of diabetes.

Meals prepared at home are packed with many vital nutrients such as vitamins, proteins, dietary fibre, minerals, including antioxidants, polyphenols and phytoestrogens. They are also low in saturated fats, trans-fatty acid, sugar and calories.

On the other hand, meals prepared outside the home such as fast foods are probably low in vital micronutrients such as iron, folate, vitamin D, carotenoids and calcium, says a study. They are also high in trans fats and calories and long-term eating of these foods can negatively affect the health and increase the risk of diabetes by impairing the production or functions of insulin. [2]

Another study says that home-cooked meals help diabetics adhere to DASH and Mediterranean diets, which are the best diet forms for the management of diabetes. Also, people consuming meals at home more than five times a week are 28 per cent less likely to gain body fat compared to those who consume less than three times a week.

Therefore, with the reduction of cholesterol levels, lower adiposity and better dietary quality, home-cooked meals can help prevent obesity-related diabetes. [3]

General Dietary Guidelines For Diabetics

A diabetes diet should involve modification of the quantity and quality of foods taken by diabetics. Some of the general guidelines include: [4]

  • Carbs consumed should be in the form of polysaccharides as they are known to lower glucose levels, inflammation and oxidative stress in type 2 diabetes and can extremely help in diabetes control. Such foods include wheat flour, maize, whole wheat bread, whole rye, oats and barley. [5]
  • Use sugar substitutes such as saccharine.
  • Foods that contain simple sugar such as cold drinks and candies should be avoided as they tend to raise glucose levels rapidly.
  • Salt consumption should be minimised.
  • Reduce the intake of proteins such as fish, chicken and meats, especially if you have diabetic neuropathy. If you are consuming these foods, make sure to remove their skins and either bake or grill them instead of frying.

Benefits Of Low Glycemic Index (GI) Diet For Diabetics

  • Reduce animal fast such as butter and egg yolk with plant-based oils as the prior is high in saturated fatty acids.
  • Quit tobacco and limit alcohol consumption.
  • Opt for beverages such as tea and coffee with less sugar and calories.
  • Plan for smaller meals over the day rather than one or two big meals.
  • Substitute fat-loaded creams with low-fat yoghurt.
  • Steam or stir-fry vegetables.
  • For snacks, prefer high fibre legumes such as chickpeas and roasted nuts or seeds.
  • Consume foods with a low glycemic index as they increase the glucose levels very slowly.

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Common FAQs

1. What makes food diabetic friendly?

A diabetic-friendly diet includes foods which are high in vital micronutrients such as fibre, vitamins, minerals, folate, including phytochemicals such as flavonoids and saponins. Also, it should be low in glycemic load, calories and saturated fats.

2. What is a good breakfast, lunch and dinner for diabetics?

A good breakfast for diabetics includes fibre rich foods such as whole bread, overnight oatmeal and egg sandwich; lunch should be of small portion and nutritious such as canned salmon and salads with dressing while dinner should be light and include complex carbohydrates such as vegetables and whole-grain chapati, instead of simple carbs.

3. What is the best meal plan for diabetics?

The best meal plan for diabetics should be consumption of lean protein, fewer carbohydrates, high fibre, low-fat dairy and more fruits and vegetables.

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