Exercise and diet are vital

Exercise & diet are vital(Getty Images)

Diabetes currently affects more than 69 million (6.9 crores) Indians, which is more than 8.7 per cent of the adult population with an average onset age of 42.5 years (http:www.idf.orgmembershipseaindia). Diabetes is on the rise, yet in most cases, the onset is preventable or can be reversed in the prediabetes stage. However, after the onset of diabetes it is not enough to keep the blood sugar levels controlled. It is important to institute lifestyle interventions that can improve insulin sensitivity and blood lipid profiles, help lose weight and lower high blood sugar levels. Eating well balanced meals and inculcating regular physical activity into routine will help manage and beat diabetes.


The Diabetes Prevention Program, a major clinical study, looked at people at risk for diabetes and showed a decrease in the risk of progressing to type 2 diabetes by 58 per cent by instituting lifestyle changes involving 150 minutes of exercise per week. The American Diabetes Association recommends both aerobic exercise and strength training for optimal fitness and blood sugar control. All exercise regimes should be under the guidance of your medical doctor.

Everything counts. Set small goals, gradually building up the program. The amount of exercise that produces a beneficial effect on health is not large; as little as 30 minutes of moderate physical activity daily may offer protection from diabetes. Even if exercise for 30 minutes at a stretch is not possible, try three 10-minute walks per day with the same benefits. More importantly, commit to the lifestyle change:

Choose a parking as far from the door as possible

Use the staircase instead of the elevator.

If working at a desk, every 15 to 20 minutes take a standing break.

Studies show that in patients with type 2 diabetes, structured regimens of physical activity for 8 weeks or longer improved glycosylated haemoglobin independent of changes in body mass. Further improvement in glycosylated haemoglobin with increasing intensity of exercise maybe also be seen. Exercise should be routine and combine both endurance and resistance training, to be truly effective.


Eating right to manage diabetes does not equal deprivation or going hungry. The nutritional needs parallel those who do not have diabetes. What is needed is attention to food choices. The diet should be tasty, balanced and one that will boost energy levels and improve the mood. Eating to take control of diabetes also means targeting a weight loss which can help lower blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.Keep the belly fat off, aim for a slim waistline; it lowers the risk of diabetes.

Stay focused; Stay committed.

Eat right; eat balanced.

Finally, get moving, and stay moving!


Compared to fats and proteins, carbohy drates impact blood sugar levels more. It is advisable to limit the refined carbohydrates like white rice, white bread and pasta, snacks and packaged foods.

Eat high-fibre com plex carbohydrates, like brown or wild rice, yams, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, whole wheat or whole grains, rolled oats, high fibre low sugar cereals, low sugar bran flakes, peas or leafy greens, which are digested slowly preventing the production of too much of insulin.

Prefer sparkling water with a twist of lime to alcohol, soft drinks, soda or juices.

Choose foods with labels showing low sugar.

Avoid processed and packaged foods; prefer fresh, colourful and whole fruits and vegetables to tinned and canned.

Replace sugar in recipes with mint, cinnamon, nutmeg, or vanilla extract.

The ABCDE Principle of Diabetes Care

A: A1c control (HbA1c indicates sustained control of blood sugar level)

B: Blood Pressure control

C: Cholesterol control

D: Diet control

E: Exercise


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