The diet revolution for managing diabetes

Last Updated on September 14, 2023 by Aditi Gangal

In 2021, it is estimated that 537 million people have diabetes, and this number is projected to reach 643 million by 2030, and 783 million by 2045. Over 6.7 million people aged 20–79 will die from diabetes-related causes in 2021. Diabetes is often referred to as a silent killer, and it is alarming that more than 50% of cases go undiagnosed, according to data from the International Diabetes Federation.

Strategies and challenges for managing diabetes

One of the biggest challenges faced by people with diabetes is acceptance. Many individuals, especially when diagnosed at a younger age, struggle to come to terms with their condition. Acceptance plays a vital role in enabling individuals to take proper care of themselves. Overcoming this challenge involves providing support and guidance to help them understand and accept their diabetes diagnosis.

Another significant challenge in managing diabetes is the need for diet and lifestyle changes. This further underscores the importance of seeking proper guidance to better navigate life with diabetes. For instance, individuals with type 1 diabetes might have questions about the effects of alcohol on their blood sugar control, such as ‘Can I drink alcohol if I have type 1 diabetes?‘. So, it is crucial to address these questions as part of these lifestyle adjustments.

Moreover, it is also possible that individuals may feel overwhelmed by the prospect of completely transforming their daily routines because of diabetes. They may compare themselves to others who do not have diabetes and feel like victims. This mindset can create mental pressure and hinder their ability to manage their diabetes effectively.

To address these challenges, it is essential to shift their perspective. Instead of viewing diabetes as a restrictive journey, it is crucial to help individuals see it as an opportunity to understand their bodies and how they can strike a balance between healthy choices and indulgences. By reframing the journey as a learning experience and emphasising that it is similar for everyone living with diabetes, individuals can be motivated to take better care of themselves.


Chhavi Kohli, Nutritionist and Diabetes Educator at Medanta Hospital, said, “This is not a journey wherein you have to abide by certain restrictions. A person living with diabetes doesn’t have to eat anything different. They have to understand their own body, the way it behaves and how they can create a balance of things between things that are good for them and those which are not.”

Supporting the struggles of a diabetic

Providing the support system to individuals in their diabetes management journey involves providing education, and empowering them to make informed decisions. It is important to help them find joy in taking care of themselves. Teaching them about their bodies and the ways to create a balance between health and enjoyment can encourage confidence in them to manage their condition effectively. It is important to emphasise that they are not alone and that there is a community of people facing similar challenges.

Addressing the mental and emotional aspects of living with diabetes is crucial. In doing so, we can help people to lead fulfilling lives while effectively managing their condition.

Inspiring and educating individuals with diabetes for lifestyle changes

Prioritising active listening and understanding can be an important aspect for healthcare professionals. It would allow them to comprehend the unique circumstances, barriers, and challenges that people with diabetes face. It is important to encourage people to view food as a source of vital nutrients and embrace a mindset of nourishment rather than restriction. The goal is to inspire individuals to make sustainable and beneficial lifestyle changes.

Ms Chhavi said, “Diet plans for diabetes management are not about restrictions. It is about nourishment. When we take food in the right proportion and get proper nourishment, we can see different results. So rather than focusing on restriction or limitations, why not focus on what’s missing and what should we add.” Personalised counselling can empower people with diabetes to embrace modifications that enhance their overall well-being. “When we talk about diabetes education as far as lifestyle is concerned the basic idea behind that is first of all we start with managing the quality of their lifestyle. Rather than binding them to 10 different things, it’s important to make them aware that food is the source of nutrients,” Ms Chhavi added.

Importance of involving family members in diabetes management and ensuring their participation

The involvement of family members in the diabetes management process is crucial. It provides essential support and contributes to the overall well-being of individuals with diabetes. Such involvement benefits not only the patient but also protects and educates the entire family, especially children who may be at risk. It allows for the formulation of strategies to promote healthy eating habits as a collective effort. It focuses on teaching the entire family about healthy habits that positively impact their overall health and lifespan, without restricting pleasure related to food.

When families commit to healthy eating together and create a supportive environment, it fosters a sense of togetherness and support for the person with diabetes. This support network improves adherence to diabetes management and promotes better long-term results and stability in diabetes parameters. It nurtures the health of the entire family as health becomes a shared responsibility.

Support in diabetes management is vital for promoting healthy habits and improving adherence. It protects and educates the entire family, contributing to the overall well-being of individuals with diabetes.

Developing personalised diabetes management plans and tailored diet

Dieticians and doctors develop diabetes management plans and diets on the basis of the unique needs of every individual. Factors such as diabetes status, living arrangements, cooking abilities, meal dependency, and work schedule are assessed to create tailored plans.

Collaboration with doctors and healthcare professionals is essential to consider the progressive approach of diabetes medications and adjust them according to an individual’s lifestyle. Ongoing communication, monitoring of sugar levels, and regular follow-up help review the impact of changes and ensure effectiveness.

About creating personalised plans for diabetes management, Ms Chhavi said, “Slow and steady changes are essential. Small, little changes and then their follow-ups help. This helps us to manage the parameter of the individuals who are living with diabetes in a better way.”

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