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Diabetes doesn’t have a cure and can only be prevented or maintained if one is diagnosed with it. Towards that end, nothing can replace a healthy diet. Choosing what to include in the diet and what to avoid becomes very crucial. This has, however, also given way to multiple misconceptions regarding certain foods. Many believe that consuming meat and dairy can either cause diabetes or mess up the sugar levels of diabetics.
To understand this better, we reached out to Dr Mubasheer Ali, senior consultant & diabetologist at Apollo TeleHealth Services. He says, “A balanced diet is one of the efficacious ways to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes. Meat and dairy are part of a healthy diet, but the uncertainty whether they are good for diabetics remains in both the scientific community and the public.”
Dr Ali says, “Meat consumption can actually increase your risk of diabetes. Individuals who eat meat regularly tend to have higher plasma total and low-density lipoprotein, high cholesterol levels, higher blood pressure, higher risk of hypertension, and higher body weight, all of which contribute to an increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.”
Many clinical studies have noted that the apparent problems of meat consumption are not limited to red meat. “Although the saturated fat present in poultry and fish products is lower than what is present in red meats, saturated fat content is nonetheless higher in poultry and fish when compared to vegetables, fruits, legumes, or grains,” says Dr Ali.
There’s no doubt that dairy products contain important proteins and vitamins. In fact, they’re considered to be one of the most important sources of calcium. However, some dairy foods are high in fat and saturated fat. Hence, it is important to look at the label before buying anything. Switching to lower-fat alternatives such as semi-skimmed milk from whole milk is a good start.
“Yogurts and cheese available in the market have different fat content in them. So, it’s always advised to check the label and go for the lower-fat options. The glycemic index(GI) of milk and other dairy foods isn’t too high generally but neither is it too low. So, it is always suggested that you check for low-fat options in order to avoid the risk for diabetes,” says Dr Ali.
So, now that you know more about the link between diabetes and the consumption of meat and dairy products, make an informed choice about your diet!