CHENNAI : As per records, over 30 million people have now been diagnosed with diabetes in India, making us the second country with highest diabetes rate after China. Dr Jeffrey I Mechanick, clinical professor in the division of endocrinology, diabetes and bone disease, Mouth Sinai School of Medicine, New York, says that it won’t be long before we climb up the ladder to become number one. Dr Jeffrey, who was recently in the city for an event hosted by Abbott Nutrition on diabetes specific nutrition, shared with us his views on the disease, the risks and measures to follow.
A question that is often asked is does diabetes differ from one community to another. “In south India, people consume more rice as compared to the north. I learnt that there are some types of rice which have high content of glucose, and the others not as much. The south Indian diet, hence, has less proteins, as most of the rice here is polished rice. Polishing breaks the whole grain, hence, people in the south are more prone to diabetes,” he says.
He further explains that, we can take lessons from Latin American diet, in which when the glycaemic index of of beans and lentils are added to the glycaemic index of rice, the final index is much lower. “The technique is to use whole foods and increase the amount of pulses — beans, lentils, nuts, seeds — with low glycaemic index and mix it with rice.
This can become a staple meal,” he advices. “I always tell my patients how to cook, how to steam food and make it as healthy as possible. Eating proper meals is very essential to a diabetic patient, and I advise them to have the beans and lentils ready so that they can have it as a healthy snack too.”
A most common myth associated with diabetes is that, if it is not hereditary you don’t carry the risk of becoming diabetic. Dr Jeffrey says, “Although genes may play a role, it is not the only factor for you to become diabetic.” Is there a specific workout regime one has to follow? “Often people are busy with work and have no time to take a break for any workout. However, it is important that they do some simple exercise. It can be in the form of dancing, walking, simple movements, using stairs, doing yoga, in between work. Even a five-minute workout makes a lot of difference,” he explains.