Diabetics should consume a diet rich in nutrient-rich, low glycemic carbohydrates such as brown rice, legumes and vegetables; heart-healthy proteins; and limit sodium. Furthermore, they should limit sugary and processed snack consumption.
Many popular Singapore hawker foods contain too many calories, fat and salt for people living with diabetes to consume safely and sustainably. Luckily, there are ways of making them more diabetes friendly!
People living with diabetes must carefully choose their carbohydrates. Aiming for low glycemic index (GI) foods such as brown rice, sardines and ikan bilis is key – just watch portion size! Additionally, certain hawker food such as tauhuwa or preserved radish is quite high in sodium content (so ask for less or no salt!).
Dietary guidelines recommend eating foods rich in nutrient-dense carbohydrates like vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains and dairy products as sources of carbs; lean meats, fish and nuts and seeds should provide protein while olive oil or avocados provide heart-healthy fats that should also be included as part of a balanced diet.
An appropriate diabetic diet can make managing type 1 diabetes much simpler, easing its complications such as cardiovascular disease and hypertension. Carbohydrate restriction and healthy meal planning are effective tools in combatting complications like cardiovascular disease.
As protein is essential to proper bodily function, its consumption should not be completely restricted from your diet. Instead, protein intake must be properly managed by eating an assortment of food low in fat and sodium which contain protein-rich options like lean meats, fish, poultry eggs and milk.
Diets for diabetics must also include plenty of vegetables and whole grains that are high in fibre to aid digestion, reduce blood sugar spikes and block cholesterol absorption into the bloodstream. Foods with a low glycemic index such as brown rice, quinoa or leafy vegetables can also be beneficial to them.
Many are worried about how a diabetic diet will alter their lifestyle, but with proper planning you can still enjoy local hawker fare while managing your condition. Limit the number of carb-rich food while cutting back on fried foods and sweetened beverages as much as possible.
Diabetes patients should limit their fat consumption as too much can increase cholesterol and triglyceride levels and potentially contribute to cardiovascular disease. Diabetics should opt for healthier fat sources like olive oil which is rich in antioxidants and essential fatty acids.
People living with diabetes should prioritize cakes that contain alternative sweeteners like stevia or monk fruit extract that provide sweetness without increasing blood glucose. They should also limit their consumption of high-sugar foods like cookies and crackers.
Mee Sua, Preserved Radish and Ikan Bilis are delicious options that are suitable for people living with diabetes when dining out, providing high amounts of fibre and protein. However, when selecting these dishes it’s important to pay attention to portion size, as brown rice has a lower glycemic index that helps minimize spikes in blood glucose. In order to cut back on sodium intake it is also advised that these hawker dishes be eaten without sauces if possible.
Singapore hawker foods may score highly when it comes to taste, but their nutritional profiles often go beyond expectations. Eliminating all forms of fast food may not be best for diabetics; rather, making a few dietary adjustments could help manage blood sugar more effectively.
People living with diabetes should avoid foods rich in saturated and trans fats (such as meat, full-fat dairy foods, cream and solid cooking fats such as lard and ghee) to keep their heart healthy. Instead, opt for unsaturated fats like polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids and oils which contain unsaturated fatty acids which provide healthful omega 3s and 6s.
Regular physical activity and eating a balanced diet are also key components of managing diabetes and heart health, helping reduce risks and enhance quality of life. Cardiologists offer advice for managing these areas including dietary guidelines, exercise recommendations, smoking cessation assistance and stress reduction; plus they may prescribe medications as needed to assist.