Nutrition Meets Food Science

Food and Fitness to Prevent Diabetes

Diabetes is a state when body’s ability to utilize a given load of sugar is compromised. Most often it happens because the major hormone needed to facilitate the uptake of sugar at the cellular level “insulin” is either inefficient or deficient.

Insulin deficiency can be an autoimmune response of the body but insulin inefficiency is definitely preventable.

The good news is that to make the “body’s insulin efficient” all what you need is to consume a defined quantity of a Checklist of “Quality Every Day Foods” and “Regular Physical Activity”.

Just think … Is it a tall order to achieve the above ….than reaching a stage of becoming a diabetic from where there is no return…

Are we doing anything to arrest this damage early ?

Our food can work as a medication provided we use it like a medicine! If we know our everyday foods, their quantum, and frequency of consumption it works like a medication. The raw material which we put inside our body on day to day basis serves as a base to synthesize a series of chemical modulators which in turn govern our internal environment. It is this good internal environment which is characterized by less body fat which makes the insulin work efficiently in the body.

How do we do it ?

Simple steps to follow:

  1. Be wise when you fill your plate …. Half of your plate should be veggies (lightly cooked or raw or steamed – local, seasonal and colored ). Make salad an inherent part of your meals. Start your Meal with Salad. Regular intake of salads with vegetables is related to lower body fat. Be careful of the hygiene and sanitation. High fibre intake lowers body fat
Mixed vegetables on a plate isolated on white background
  1. Get a lot of plant proteins in your daily diet- Pulses, dals, Peas,beans, nuts , oilseeds. Make sure one quarter of your plate has good quality protein. Add low fat milk and milk products, egg whites and lean chicken or fish if non vegetarian. Eat your proteins after your salad and before your carbs. The order of eating impacts the rise in blood sugars.

  1. Get good quality fat- High Omega 3 and MUFA . Select from black chana, Chawli or Lobia, Urad dal, Rajmah, Soyabean, walnuts, almonds, tilseeds, melon seeds, chia seeds , methi seeds, Green leafy vegetables, Bajra flour—all these foods give you good quality fats.
  2. Use limited quantity of visible fat (3 teaspoon per person per day) of Omega 3 and MUFA rich oil. Choose from Rice Bran, Olive, soyabean or use a blended oil.
  3. SAY NO to refined flour and saturated fats, trans fats— Foods like khari, ghutli, pav, rumali roti, doughnuts, pastries, cakes, biscuits are all based on refined flour and saturated fats. Instead use whole grains based products with good quality fats. Higher intake of refined carbohydrate and restaurant food is associated with increase in body fat.
Circle with lots of food items
  1. Use prebiotic foods like raw banana, whole chana, Bajra flour which are rich in Resistant starch which is a prebiotic. Enhance the amounts of prebiotic effect by steaming and cooling or roasting with minimum fat.
Probiotic (or prebiotic) rich foods including pulses, nuts, fruit and milk products, good for immunity and the gut
  1. Get a Probiotic food based source- beneficial live microorganism of specific species (Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli) in your daily diet.


  • Do not skip breakfast. Plan  wholesome, nutrient dense and convenient options. Ideal Combination includes A source of Good quality Protein ( Egg whites/Low fat Milk or Yoghurt/Chicken/Tofu/Low fat Cottage cheese) with one to two servings of whole grain cereal base  coupled with dietary fiber (  vegetable Stuffed Roti/ A Thepla/ Oats/Whole grain flakes).Research shows that breakfast skippers have high body fat.
  • Snack Smart in the evening  Good Quality Fats through handful of nuts  in your diet brings the right balance of fatty acids like Omega 3 and MUFA in your diet (mainly from invisible fats) which favour the synthesis  of  protective prostaglandins or Biochemical regulators which are non inflammatory. You can replace your refined carbs based snacks with two ounces (56 g) of almonds Or a Combination of almonds, walnuts, cashew and pistachio. Healthy snack build muscles and keep body fat low.
  • Use Whole Fruit as a snacking option. Use two seasonal colored fruits medium size in a day but in small portions one in the first half and other in the latter half of the day. Eat fruits in between the meals and never along with the meal. Based on antioxidant potential the fruits which are rated highest are Guava, Pomegranate, apple, pear, citrus fruits. High fibre intake lowers body fat.
Grapefruits, pomegranates, lemons, melons and watermelons
  • Say NO to FRUIT JUICES. Opt for other good beverage choices like butter milk, coconut water etc. Juices take away the fibre and spike blood sugars.
  • Get One Hour of Physical activity every day (aerobic play, dance – 10,000 steps and resistance exercise- calesthenics, yoga, or martial arts, taekwandoo, capioara ; choose any).Regular physical activity decreases body fat.
  • Get atleast 6-8 hours of sleep every day. Research shows lack of sleep favors accumulation of body fat. Adequate slep decreases body fat.
  • Prioritize consuming lots of fluids in a day preferably through a conscious increase in water intake ( 12 glasses /day).
  •  Do a good deed every day and Keep the smile on your face! Destressing lowers body fat.

So friends it is better to start early ….all what you need to do to prevent diabetes is to reduce your body fat and sensitize your insulin… Let’s get stated today….

Jagmeet Madan


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