World Diabetes Day – all you should know about diabetes

by Sanjeev Kapoor

Feeling hungry even after a good meal or exhausted in spite of a nap or a nagging foot injury that refuses to heal – if you experience these symptoms it’s time to spare a though that the perpetrator could be diabetes mellitus. The best thing you can do this 14th November, World Diabetes Day is to get all you facts about this condition right. Here is everything you need to know!


1. Diabetes Mellitus?

The word Diabetes Mellitus is not a harry potter spell but the scientific name for diabetes. It is derived from the word ‘diabetes’, which means ‘honey’, and ‘mellitus’, which means ‘flow’ because it was considered to be a result of excess flow of honey or sugar into the blood. This metabolic disorder reduces or impairs the bodys ability to produce insulin.


2. What is insulin and why is it so important?

This is the next most logical question, isn’t it? Well explained in simple terms, insulin can be described as the key which unlocks sugar (in the form of glucose) from the from the food we eat food in order for the body to convert it into energy. An effective level on insulin in your body means your blood sugar level won’t get too high (hyperglycemia) nor too low (hypoglycemia).


3. What are the types of diabetes ?

Type 1 or Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus usually occurs at a younger age and requires the use of an external source of insulin. It is also known as Juvenile Diabetes.

Type 2 or Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus is seen mostly amongst middle aged people, where obesity has been identified as the main perpetrator. The third kind (not known as type 3 diabetes!) is Gestational diabetes which is seen amongst women during pregnancy and is usually transient i.e. temporary.


4. Does it run in your blood?

One of the most common causative factors of diabetes is it being passed down hereditarily to you. Other than that an inactive lifestyle coupled with a faulty diet is the perfect recipe laid out to invite Diabetes. Research conclusively points out a relationship between obesity and the risk of diabetes in both men and women.


5. What are the complications it causes?

Diabetes is one such condition which affects several other organs in your body. High blood sugar levels causes increase in chances of heart disease, kidney problems, nervous system issues like frequent loss of sensation in the hands and feet, impair eyesight and most commonly cause high blood pressure.


6. Are diabetes and weight related?

Well, a lot! The chances of you getting diabetes are directly proportional to your weight gain. Exercise is the most potent weapon to combat the effects of Diabetes Mellitus and keep it in check. It is noted that exercise improves the body’s ability to utilize the available insulin and also makes the cells more receptive to insulin. For obese diabetic individuals, exercise that translates into weight loss has got to be a part of the regime in order to effectively manage diabetes.


7. What should a diabetic eat?

Having a controlled diet is something every diabetic needs to pay attention to. Does that mean you need to be paranoid about every ounce of food you eat, no not at all! You need to plan meals that are rich in protein and complex carbs but low in fat.


8. Top 3 food ingredients?

  • Fenugreek seeds or methi dana has a high soluble fibre content and an alkaloid called trigonelline which helps keep blood sugar levels in check. Soak a handful of them in water overnight and eat them on an empty stomach the next morning. You can also add these crunchy bitter seeds to dosa batters and chappati dough or use them in a salad.
  • Bittergourd or karela might not be the most delicious vegetable but it works brilliantly well to lower blood sugar levels and control diabetes. The best way to have karela is in its juiced form - just close your eyes and down the glass in one shot. Or you could use it in a stir fry where it tastes great!
  • Guar Gum or good old gavar source of fibre, glyconutrients and a low glycemic index that aids in controlling blood sugar levels and the insulin requirement of the body, plus even a simple sabzi tastes great.
  • Besides these high fibre food like whole wheat, broken wheat, semolina, oats, ragi, pulses like chana dal and soya bean, leafy veg like methi and spinach and amaranth


9. What should be avoided?

 Foods that have a high glycemic index which cause extreme fluctuation in the blood sugar levels are strict no-no’s. Sugar, jaggery, sugarcane juice, processed foods and beverages, sago, potatoes and other starchy tubers, refined flour, cream, cheese mayonnaise and alcohol are best avoided.


10. Can you get rid of diabetes completely?

It is not a very easy task to completely reverse the effects of diabetes but it is not impossible. Type 2 type of diabetes can be completely cured by the right kind of lifestyle which mainly involves monitoring your diet and exercising regularly.

Here is a list of diabetic friendly recipes on that you can eat guilt free.

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MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.