Diabetes is a chronic condition when blood glucose (also known as blood sugar) levels are incredibly high. Diabetes leads to significant muscle loss and can also affect the nerves, eyes, kidneys, and other major body organs if not treated promptly. With over 77 million Indians having diabetes and projections stating that the number could touch 134 million by 2045, diabetes cure has gained importance. Decreased physical activity, increased calorie consumption, irregular sleep patterns, and increased stress levels have led to such high numbers of diabetic patients in India, with One in six adults with diabetes in the world being from India.
Diabetes is a lifestyle disease, and a healthy diet is a key to managing it, and A protein-rich diet is a cornerstone to diabetes management.
Dietary strategies should mainly focus on reducing the consumption of refined carbohydrates and including fiber in the diet. Protein is another macronutrient that plays a key role in diabetes management. Dietary Protein plays a crucial role in managing prediabetes and type two diabetes. Ideal Protein helps restore balance to pancreatic activity. Thus, it helps lower the risks associated with diabetes.
How can eating protein help to manage diabetes?
Protein is a highly versatile macronutrient with several vital roles in our daily life. It is required for energy, growth, and maintenance of our body. It is responsible for various chemical reactions in the body. Proteins also make up the framework of body defense systems, antibodies, enzymes, and hormones.
Increased protein intake in the diet helps control blood glucose levels and lowers HBA1c. This is so because Protein increases the insulin response without surging blood glucose levels. It also helps to blunt the glycemic index of a meal and therefore helps prevent the post-prandial blood glucose spike.
Proteins play a crucial role in aiding the health of diabetic people by boosting their immunity and regulating sugar fluctuations in the blood. Additionally, Protein provides good satiety and helps in hunger control and therefore has a beneficial effect on weight management.
How much protein should be consumed in a day?
A healthy adult requires an average of 0.83 g of Protein per kg body weight per day. For instance, if the body weight of a moderately active person is 60 kg, they will require 50-55g of Protein per day on average. The requirement will vary if the person is into intensive exercise.
How to increase your protein intake?
Protein intake can be increased by incorporating protein rich-foods like eggs, meat, fish, sprouts, dal, soybean, soy chunks, curd, buttermilk, paneer, nuts, etc., in the meals.
As vegetarian sources such as legumes, dals, and nuts are incomplete proteins, i.e., these sources do not provide all the nine essential amino acids (basic units of Protein) in the amounts needed by the body, vegetarians can meet these requirements through adequate amounts of dairy products like curd/yogurt and cottage cheese (paneer).
People with diabetes must aim to include a good source of Protein in their diet to blunt the glucose response of the meal. A balanced diet emphasizing protein and other essential nutrients can help improve glycemic control and develop a robust immune system. Uncontrolled diabetes coupled with a low protein diet can lead to loss of muscle mass and a weakened immune system. Hence efforts must be made to ensure the consumption of good quality protein in adequate amounts.
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