World Diabetes Day is celebrated on November 14 every year. The day is celebrated on the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting, who co-discovered insulin along with Charles Best abd John James Ricjard Macleod in 1922. This year the theme is “better access to quality diabetes education”, and while people with diabetese have many don’ts to live with, including quitting their favourite food, celebrity nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar bursts five popular myths around diabetese and share what’s the right thing to do.
Myth 1: Avoid bananas, but apple is okay!
All fruits contain natural sugars, mostly fructose, which has a low glycaemic index. Banana is even approved by the American Diabetes Association but shunned by doctors and dietitians in the country of its origin. Banana is not just safe but recommended for people with diabetes as it is mineral-rich and helps prevent high BP too.
Myth 2: Avoid sugar in chai/coffee, but biscuits like Marie and digestive are okay:
That teaspoon or even two of sugar in your chai is much better than the low-grade sugar, trans-fat, and emulsifier-rich biscuit/cracker. If you must beat diabetes, then you must see that the real risk comes from unregulated intake of food and misinformation about what is good or bad for you. So have the chai with sugar but limit it to max two to three cups a day, and don’t touch biscuits and the likes.
Myth 3: Ghee specifically and fat in general, must be avoided:
Nothing could be further away from the truth. Ghee and coconut both have the essential fatty acids that further support insulin, protect the heart and help maintain the intestinal mucosa. So if you are diabetic, the one thing that you can’t afford to miss out on is fat, and more specifically, ghee. Eat loads of it!
Myth 4: Walking is the best exercise. Cardio is good:
While most of us believe walking daily is enough, Rujuta recommends lift weights and join a gym. Train your big muscles and develop strength in them, as loss of strength from the body is directly linked to insulin resistance and incidence of diabetes. If you are diabetic, gymming is the best exercise for you.
Myth 5: Once you are diabetic, you stay diabetic:
Not true! It’s easy to regulate blood sugars and support insulin function through the right approach to diet, exercise and lifestyle. Eating traditional, local and seasonal is one of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to stay healthy. We have been systematically taken away from our native eating habits and introduced to new ones to live healthier lives. But in the bargain, we have gotten fatter, sicker and diabetic.
PS: It’s never too late to change though. Start small, start with the basics: work out, eat the way your grandmom taught you to and regulate your bedtime. Your stress and sugars both will climb down and your confidence will climb up.
Rujuta Diwekar as she shares the right thing to do in her audiobook ‘Eating in the Age of Dieting’, available on Audible.