All About Diabetes And How An Ideal Diabetic Diet Should Look Like!

Diabetes is a medical condition that disables the body to process blood sugar, also known as blood glucose. Leaving the condition of diabetes medically unattended can lead to a dangerous build-up of sugar content in the blood that makes you prone to a risk of stroke and other heart illnesses.

Table of Content

There are different types of diabetes and their management depends on the kind of diabetes you are suffering from.

What Is Insulin And Its Role In Diabetes?

Insulin is a hormone that is produced by the pancreas and it enables the human body to use sugar (also referred to as glucose) from carbohydrates you get from your food.

Insulin maintains your sugar level and prevents it from spiking too high going too low. Now according to our in-built mechanism, your cells need sugar for energy and sugars cannot directly go into most of your cells directly. So when you have a meal, your blood sugar rises and the pancreas releases insulin into your bloodstream.

This insulin gets attached to the sugars and helps them enter the cells. In fact, insulin is the primary element that allows sugars to enter your cells and be used for bodily functions. In case you have more sugar in your body, the insulin helps to store the excess sugar in your liver and use it when your body requires it.

So basically insulin is what helps your body keep the sugar levels maintained. The problem occurs when your pancreas starts secreting more or less insulin than your body requires. If the insulin production is low, the sugars in your body won’t be consumed and this can lead to long term implications like diabetes. According to the US National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health:

  • Insulin is a peptide hormone secreted by the β cells of the pancreatic islets of Langerhans and maintains normal blood glucose levels by facilitating cellular glucose uptake, regulating carbohydrate, lipid and protein metabolism and promoting cell division and growth through its mitogenic effects.
  • Insulin resistance is defined where a normal or elevated insulin level produces an attenuated biological response; This classically this refers to impaired sensitivity to insulin-mediated glucose disposal.
  • Compensatory hyperinsulinaemia occurs when pancreatic β cell secretion increases to maintain normal blood glucose levels in the setting of peripheral insulin resistance in muscle and adipose tissue.
  • Insulin resistance syndrome refers to the cluster of abnormalities and related physical outcomes that occur more commonly in insulin-resistant individuals. Given tissue differences in insulin dependence and sensitivity, manifestations of the insulin resistance syndrome are likely to reflect the composite effects of excess insulin and variable resistance to its actions.
  • Metabolic syndrome represents the clinical diagnostic entity identifying those individuals at high risk with respect to the (cardiovascular) morbidity associated with insulin resistance.”

Types of Insulin

  • Rapid-acting Insulin: This type of insulin starts showing effect approximately 15 minutes after getting injected in the body and reaches its peak after around an hour continuing to work for two to four hours after injection. This type of insulin is usually taken before meals and over and above the long-acting insulin.
  • Short-acting Insulin: This insulin starts to work approximately 30 minutes after injection and reaches its peak at approximately 2 to 3 hours. This continues to work for three to six hours. It is usually taken before a meal and over and above the long-acting insulin.
  • Intermediate-acting Insulin: This type of insulin starts to work approximately 2 to 4 hours after injection and reaches its peak approximately 4 to 12 hours later and continues to work for 12-18 hours. It is usually taken twice a day and in addition to a rapid- or short-acting insulin.
  • Long-acting Insulin: It starts working after several hours after injection and works for approximately 24 hours. If necessary, it is often used in combination with rapid- or short-acting insulin.

A Guide on Insulin Types for People with Diabetes

(Joslin Diabetes Center)


Type Brand Name Onset

(length of time before

insulin reaches bloodstream)


(time period when

insulin is most effective)


(how long insulin

works for)

Rapid-acting Humalog



10 – 30 minutes 30 minutes – 3 hours 3 – 5 hours
Short-acting Regular (R) 30 minutes – 1 hour 2 – 5 hours Up to 12 hours



NPH (N) 1.5 – 4 hours 4 – 12 hours Up to 24 hours
Long-acting Lantus


0.8 – 4 hours Minimal peak Up to 24 hours

How Insulin Problems Develop

When your body becomes insulin resistant, you know you are in trouble. There are various factors that make your body insulin resistant a few of which include:

  • The Genetics: If insulin resistance runs in your family, you are more likely to develop it.
  • Excessive Consumption of Sugar: If you consume too much sugar, the pancreas may just not support the increased demands of insulin. This results in excess blood sugars circulating in the bloodstream, causing damage.
  • Ineffective Insulin: Your insulin may become ineffective in helping your cells absorb the blood sugar, which may lead to rising of blood sugar in the body.

Types of Diabetes

There are various types of diabetes and their treatment and management on the types of diabetes you are suffering from.

There are mainly three kinds of diabetes: Type 1 Diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes and Gestational Diabetes. Let us take a more detailed look into each type, their causes and treatment.  

Type I Diabetes

It is also known as juvenile diabetes that occurs when your body is unable to produce insulin. Type I Diabetes affected people have to survive on daily doses of artificial insulin and to stay alive.

Type 2 Diabetes

It is the most common type of diabetes, according to the National Institute of Diabetes And Digestive And Kidney Diseases.

Also known as Diabetes Mellitus, it affects the way the body uses insulin and is strongly linked to obesity. Unlike Type I Diabetes, the body still produces insulin, your body cells do not respond as effectively as they do usually.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational Diabetes affects women during pregnancy and this happens when the body becomes less sensitive to insulin. It does not necessarily affect all women and disappears after delivery. According to Ananya Mandal – MD,

  • “Women who have a history of gestational diabetes are at an increased risk of developing the condition during future pregnancies. The risk of gestational diabetes recurring during a second pregnancy is between 30% and 84%.
  • Those who have given birth to a baby weighing more than 4000 grams are more likely to develop gestational diabetes in their next pregnancy.
  • Women who have been diagnosed with impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glucose levels or prediabetes before getting pregnant are at a greater risk of developing gestational diabetes.
  • Who are obese or overweight and she get pregnant are at a greater risk of developing gestational diabetes. Overweight increases the risk of gestational diabetes 2.1-fold, while obesity increases the risk of 3.6-fold and severe obesity 8.6-fold. 
    Risk of Gestational Diabetes
    Risk of Gestational Diabetes
  • Women who have a first degree relative (such as a sibling or parent) with diabetes are at a greater risk of gestational diabetes.
  • Some studies have shown that being aged over 35 years when falling pregnant for the first time increases the risk of gestational diabetes compared with falling pregnant at a younger age.
  • Women from certain ethnicities are at an increased risk of gestational diabetes. Examples include African-Americans, Native Americans, Afro-Caribbeans, Pacific Islanders, Hispanics, Middle Eastern (such as from United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq, Oman, Syria, Kuwait, Qatar, Egypt or Lebanon) and Southeast Asians (from India, Pakistan or Bangladesh etc.).
  • Other risk factors include smoking in the mother and women with the polycystic ovarian syndrome.”

What Is Prediabetes?

You are a prediabetic if you have borderline diabetes and your blood sugar is usually in the range of 100 to 125 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), where the normal blood sugar range is between 70 and 99 mg/dL.

A person with diabetes will have a fasting blood sugar higher than 126 mg/dL. A prediabetic’s blood sugar is high but not so high so as to amount to diabetes. A prediabetic is prone to developing type 2 diabetes, although they do not usually experience the symptoms of full-grown diabetes.

Similarities Between Risk Factors of Prediabetes Type 2 Diabetes

  • Being overweight
  • Family history of diabetes
  • Having a high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol level lower than 40 mg/dL or 50 mg/dL
  • History of high blood pressure
  • Gestational diabetes or giving birth to a child with a birth weight of more than 9 pounds
  • History of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Being of African-American, Native American, Latin American, or Asian-Pacific Islander descent
  • Being more than 45 years of age
  • Leading a sedentary lifestyle

If you are prediabetic, your medical practitioner will prescribe lifestyle changes to you so that the occurrence of type 2 diabetes can be prevented. Losing weight and clean eating habits go a long way!

This is How An Ideal Diabetes Diet Looks Like!

What we mean when we say a “Diabetes Diet” is that you have to incorporate healthiest foods in regulated amounts in your meal plans and adhere to regular meal timings.

You have to focus on a diet packed with nutrients and low on fats and calories. Make fruits, vegetables, proteins and whole grains key components of your diet and there you go! You will be able to enjoy all the foods and in the best way possible – moderation is the key!  

Diabetes Diet Plan
Diabetes Diet Plan

While following a diabetes diet, you have to focus on eating three meals a day at regular times. This enables your body to use the insulin it produces or gets through a medication, in a better way.

It is always recommended to consult a dietician or a nutritionist who can design the most effective diet plan for you depending on your condition, taste and lifestyle.

American Diabetes Association has defined self-dietary management as the key step in providing the diabetics, the knowledge and skill in relation to treatment, nutritional aspects, medications and complications. A study showed that the dietary knowledge of the targeted group who were at high risk of developing T2DM was poor. Red meat and fried food were consumed more by males as compared to females. The per cent of males to females in daily rice consumption was significantly high.

Consult Possible’s expert nutritionist today and get your exclusively customized diabetes meal plan. The first consultation is on us. Click here to avail.

  • Healthy Carbohydrates: Incorporate healthy carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes (beans, peas and lentils) and low-fat dairy products into your diet.
  • Fibre-rich Foods: Foods high in fiber include vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes (beans, peas and lentils), whole-wheat flour and wheat bran.
  • Heart-healthy Fish: Include fish like cod, tuna and halibut, which have less total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol than meat and poultry. Also, fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines and bluefish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which promote heart health by lowering blood fats called triglycerides. Try including fish in your diet at least twice a week.
  • Avoid fried fish and fish with high levels of mercury, such as tilefish, swordfish and king mackerel.
  • “Healthy” Fats: These include foods containing monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that can help lower your cholesterol levels, like avocados, almonds, pecans, walnuts, olives, and canola, olive and peanut oils. Eat them in moderation for, at the end of the day, fat is fat!

Foods to Avoid

If you are diabetic or prone to developing this medical condition, you must avoid foods high in saturated fats like beef, hot dogs, sausages, bacon, etc. Also steer clear of foods high in trans fats like processed snacks, baked goods, shortening and margarine.

Avoid cholesterol-laden foods like high-fat dairy products and high-fat animal proteins, egg yolks, liver, and other organ meats like a brain, kidney, etc. Also, limit your sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg a day. If you suffer from hypertension, you should aim for less than 1,500 mg of sodium a day.

Let Possible help you discover a healthy you. Talk to our Possible Nutritionist and walk the path of health and happiness with us. The first consultation is on us.

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4 thoughts on “All About Diabetes And How An Ideal Diabetic Diet Should Look Like!

    • Soma Raghavendra says:

      Hi! We thank you for sharing your feedback towards our article. Keep following our blog to know such more health information.

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