Diet In Diabetes-Part 1

Mixed balanced diet

Diet Control in Diabetics is the First Stepping Stone to Successful Blood Sugar Control, Second is Regular Exercise and Third- Medicines. Click To Tweet

Diet In Diabetes-Part 1- Manage your blood sugar through a diet plan

Diet plays an important role in the treatment of diabetes. Management of diabetes is nothing but how you go about controlling your blood sugar levels and HbA1C levels.

I have divided this article into two parts.In Part 1, I am going to discuss the basics of diet management and in Part 2 the type of food to eat, based on the glycemic index of the food.

In the prediabetics, the control of blood sugar and HbA1C  can be done by regular exercise and a change in diet pattern.

In frank diabetes, it is

a] Taking antidiabetic medicine/s on time;

b] Diet;

c] Exercise.

Out of these 3 things to do, I have already covered the medications part in my previous blogs-Diabetes Part 5 and Diabetes Part 6.

What Diet you should have in Diabetes-

As you can see above, Diet plays an important role in managing all types of diabetes, be it pre-diabetes, Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. All diabetics need a balanced diet to maintain good health as well as control the regular surge in blood sugar.

What is a Balanced Diet?

A balanced diet is the one which contains all the components of food like carbohydrates[sugar, starch, etc.], proteins,  fats and fibers in a proportionate manner as shown in the diagram below:-

Balanced diet


Factors determining Diet in Diabetics

Diet in a diabetic depends on various factors, namely:-

1] Age-

Advancing age results in the lesser intake of food, which is very important in elderly diabetics as they are more prone to having hypoglycemia. Again, having a balanced diet helps in all diabetics-both the young and the elderly- by proper control of blood sugar, cholesterol, etc. and thereby maintain ideal body weight.

2] Weight-

Type 2 diabetics are mostly overweight or obese. This has led to a condition called Metabolic Syndrome or Syndrome X. In this disease, along with diabetes, you have cardiovascular problems like hypertension, high cholesterol levels, and accumulation of fats in the trunk, popularly known as central obesity. As mentioned above, it is beneficial to maintain the ideal body weight.

Now, what exactly is ideal body weight?

Ideal body weight is the weight of a person which is maximum weight of that person depending upon his/her height and build. 

How do you calculate Ideal Body Weight?

Most of the research done on ideal body weight calculation emphasizes height in its calculation. You can calculate your ideal body weight by using any one of these formulae-

  • J. D. Robinson Formula-

a] Gents-   52 kg+1.9 kg per inch above 5 feet height

b] Ladies- 49 kg+1.7 kg per inch above 5 feet height.

  • D. R. Miller Formula-

a] Gents-56.2+1.41kg per inch above 5 feet

b] Ladies- 53.1kg +1.36 kg per inch above 5 feet height

You can also use this calculator for getting your stats immediately-


Calculating your ideal body weight will make you aware of how much overweight you are. This, in turn, will help you to cut out unnecessary calories you are consuming in the form or type of food which you are eating. This is very essential in a person having diabetes, as tailoring your diet as per your ideal body weight can bring down your blood sugar levels as well as weight by consuming lesser calories.

3] Socioeconomic conditions-

Diabetes was once known to be a disease of the rich and affluent people. This is partly true because this class of people is either too busy or simply lazy to do some exercise and indulge themselves in erratic eating habits.

As against this, the poor class of people does not have enough food for consumption and are mostly malnourished. This, in the long term, causes the liver to release more sugar into the blood by breaking down the fats stored as glycogen, which was formed as a result of the conversion of excess glucose absorbed from the intestines. This is also termed as starvation diabetes.

4] Type of food one eats:-

In one of my earlier blogs, I had mentioned a Food Pyramid-this shows what a normal person should eat the most and what to eat the least. The same rule applies to a diabetic too, but with a cap on calories to be consumed.

Any one with diabetes must focus on getting more fiber in his or her diet. This way you get complex carbohydrates and less of simple carbs( as in the product shown below)

Multigrain biscuits for including in Diabetic diet
Click on the image above for more info


How much calories you need daily:-

To calculate the calories you need daily, you should know your Basal Metabolic Rate- BMR. BMR is the minimum energy required by our body for carrying out involuntary functions such as breathing, pumping of blood by the heart, etc., while we are resting.

An easier way to calculate your BMR is given below:-

  • Men:- 10 x weight in kg + 6.25 x height in cm – 5 x age in years +5
  • Women:- 10 x weight in kg + 6.25 x height in cm – 5 x age in years – 161.

BMR, Physical Activity and Required Calories:-

Based on your BMR, depending upon the level of your day to day physical activities, you can determine how much extra calories you need to maintain your ideal body weight. The table given below will show you this requirement-


Now, go ahead, calculate your BMR and multiply it with the factor shown above to know how much calories you require per day to maintain your ideal body weight.

You can also use this BMR calculator for calculating your requirements-




Alternate Daily Calories Requirement:-

Based on your physical activity and your body weight, here is another table which gives a rough idea of how much calories to consume based on the deemed weight of 60 kg in a male and 55 kg of a female type 2 diabetic patient:-

Calories for different categories of Type 2 diabetic patient
Total calories required by any Type 2 diabetic patient

BMI based Calorie Requirement:

Another easy way to decide the approximate calories required by an adult individual of different categories is by following this simple calculation:-

  • Normal BMI, active individuals- 22-25 Kcal/kg
  • Normal BMI, sedentary individuals-30 Kcal/kg
  • Thin/very active individuals-40 Kcal/kg
  • Obese less active, sedentary individuals-20 Kcal/kg.

You can now multiply your weight to the calories required depending on which type of individual you fit in and then decide your diet accordingly.

Here is an interesting video to help you know what to eat in diabetes.

In my next article-

I will be writing on-

  1. Different parameters of diet like the glycemic index,
  2. The total number of calories each food item has and,
  3. The importance of both in the treatment of diabetes.