Diabetes is the new age epidemic. An increasing number of people are suffering from this disease and its related complications. Here, it is essential to understand that only medications are not enough to manage this menace. In fact, a modification in lifestyle and diet is a must in the management protocol of diabetes. This fundamental fact opens a door to the term ‘diabetes meal plan.’

Diabetes meal plan

‘Diabetes meal plan’ is a comprehensive guide on what to eat, how much to eat and when to eat for diabetics. It is a plan based on Glycemic Index (GI) of foods, carbohydrate count (carb count) and the plate method. Ideally, this is formatted for a diabetic individual by a trained and a qualified dietician or nutritionist. It is different for different individuals, depending on the blood sugar levels,activity levels and overall diabetes control. 

Generally, a good thumb rule to follow is not to exceed more than 15 grams of carbohydrates in a snack, lunch and dinner, however, can be 15 to 30 grams of carbohydrates for women and 30 to 45 grams of carbohydrates for men. Of note, food items with high GI are to be avoided, as the higher the GI of a food, the more increase in the blood sugar and insulin levels.After this bird's eye view of the diabetic meal plan, let us look into some facts of potatoes.

The Potato fact file

Potato is a cheap and easily available vegetable and a kind of staple food for many. It is full of starch that breaks down into sugar; may be this is a fact that makes us doubt its place in a diabetic meal plan.

We should not forget that potato is also rich in dietary fibre, vitamin C, B6 and potassium. Above all,it is free of fat and cholesterol.One small potato of 150 grams has about 110 calories, which is around 25 grams of carbohydrates.

According to the standard in diabetic meal plan, half a cup of potatoes is one carbohydrate choice,i.e., 15 grams of carbs. The GI of potatoes is variable between 58 and 111; on an average it is 78 for a boiled one and 87 for an instant cooked one.

Depending on an individual’s carbohydrate allowance, potato can be included in the meal plan of a diabetic patient. Let the dietician decide the quantity of potatoes to be eaten. It also depends on the other things eaten with potato during that meal. For example, a steamed cauliflower is an excellent choice along with potato in a meal.

The Way to go

As seen the potato is loaded with nutrients and is equally important for all diabetic or non-diabetic persons. However, what makes a potato unhealthy is its consumption in large quantities and the way it is cooked. Fried potato or potato cooked with margarine, butter, cheese or cream is unhealthy.All you need to do is be vigilant on your blood sugar levels. How well a diabetic patient tolerates potatoes or any other food is very individualistic. So, you need to track your blood sugar levels all through the day or as recommended by your diabetologist, especially 2 hours after meals using a glucometer and making sure that it is not exceeding the control level.