Diet Tips

The Best Diabetes Diet Chart For Indians – What To Eat And Avoid

Reviewed by Merlin Annie Raj, Registered Dietitian
ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition
The Best Diabetes Diet Chart For Indians – What To Eat And Avoid Hyderabd040-395603080 October 22, 2019

India is the diabetes capital of the world (1), (2)! More than 60 million Indians are diagnosed with diabetes – including, children, young adults, and pregnant women (3), (4), (5).

The WHO defines diabetes as a chronic metabolic disease that occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin or when the body does not use the insulin that is produced (6).

More often than not, a poor diet, a sedentary lifestyle, and genetics cause diabetes in most people.

While not much can be done about the genes you’ve inherited, changing your diet and lifestyle can help manage and prevent diabetes (7), (8).

This post brings you a diabetes-friendly Indian diet (North, South, East, and West), superfoods, and lifestyle changes that can help treat diabetes.

What Is Diabetes?

What Is Diabetes Pinit


Diabetes is a metabolic disease in which blood sugar levels are high for a prolonged period (8).

The hormone insulin is responsible for regulating blood sugar levels. Diabetes occurs when insulin is either not produced enough by the pancreatic beta cells or is not recognized by the cells (insulin resistance) (9).

If left untreated, diabetes may lead to kidney failure, heart disease, damage to the eyes, nerves, and blood vessels, foot ulcers, and even stroke.

Diabetes is of several types. Here’s the list.

Types Of Diabetes

  • Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune response. An abnormal trigger halts the production of insulin. It is most common in children below 5 years of age.

Insulin therapy (insulin injection) is the best way to treat type 1 diabetes (10).

  • Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is triggered by a sedentary lifestyle and/or heredity. Obesity and consumption of sugary foods constantly create a spike in blood sugar.

This, over time, prevents the cells from recognizing insulin, leading to insulin resistance. Even if there’s insulin, you will feel starved because your cells cannot uptake glucose and give satiety signals to your brain (11).

Diet and lifestyle changes are mandatory for people with type 2 diabetes.

  • Gestational Diabetes

Pregnant women are prone to develop insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia – and this leads to gestational diabetes. It is prevalent in Indian, Hispanic, African, and Asian women.

Human placental growth hormone, estrogen, progesterone, cortisol, and adipokines are responsible for the disruption of glucose-insulin balance (12).

Gestational diabetes poses a high risk to the mother and child. Close monitoring of the mother’s glucose levels, along with dietary and lifestyle interventions, is mandatory.

  • Neonatal Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes in newborn babies is known as neonatal diabetes (13). It occurs due to genetic mutations in the genes that are important for the development of the pancreas, insulin processing, insulin release, and beta cell apoptosis (14).

Genetic testing, therapy, and genetic counseling are recommended.

  • Prediabetes

Prediabetes is the precursor to full-blown diabetes. Glucose levels are high (110 mg/dL – 125 mg/ dL) but not high enough to be categorized as diabetes.

It poses the risk of developing heart disease and stroke (15).

Prediabetes can be treated with dietary and lifestyle intervention.

No matter the type of diabetes, you can improve your condition by changing your diet and lifestyle. Here are a few points to help you manage diabetes with diet.

How Diet Helps Manage Diabetes

The diabetes diet helps manage high blood sugar levels by helping you make the right food and lifestyle choices.

It helps lower blood sugar levels, improves blood cholesterol, reduces blood pressure, and keeps you in a healthy weight range.

The diabetes diet will tell you exactly what to eat and in what quantities to help you lead a better and happier life.

The best part is, we have four diet charts for different regions of India – North, South, East, and West. Here’s your daily diet that you are going to love!

Indian Diet Chart For Diabetes

The Indian diabetes diet chart will ensure you have 1200-1600 calories per day.

Doctors also advise having at least two diabetes-friendly fruits per day between the meals.

Include detox drinks in your diet to feel light and fresh every day.

With these points in mind, here are your diet charts that are diabetes-friendly, yet not too restrictive.


North Pinit

Image: Shutterstock

MealFoods To Eat
Early MorningOptions:

  • Warm water with lemon juice.
  • Bitter gourd juice.

  • 1 piece of brown bread with boiled egg whites + 1 cup green tea.
  • 2 small parathas (without ghee or butter) with 1 cup curd
  • Ragi flakes with one cup of milk

  • Cucumber, tomato, carrot, and beetroot salad. Add a dash of lime, and garnish with coriander leaves and a few mint leaves.
  • 1 apple

  • 2 medium-sized chapatis with ½ cup rajma/ chole + 1 cup okra curry/ any other vegetable curry
  • 3 oz baked fish + veggies
Evening SnacksEvening Snacks Green tea without sugar or artificial sweeteners. You can have one small bowl of bhel puri or baked snacks.

  • 2 medium-sized chapatis, any vegetable curry (any type of gourd, brinjal, capsicum, etc.) except root vegetables, with dal/paneer and 1 small bowl of curd
  • Chicken stew, 2 small chapatis, and 1 small bowl of curd
Before Bed1 glass of warm milk with a pinch of raw ground turmeric


East Pinit

Image: Shutterstock

MealFoods To Eat
Early MorningOptions:

  • Warm water with lemon juice.
  • Apple cider vinegar and warm water.
  • Bitter gourd juice

  • 1 small bowl of flaked/puffed rice with milk and banana (without sugar)
  • 1 slice of toasted wheat bread, milk, and one boiled egg white
  • 1 medium bowl of ragi flakes with milk

  • 1 apple or orange or papaya

  • 2 medium-sized chapatis with 1/2 cup vegetables such as peas, cauliflower, capsicum, any gourd, green beans, etc. and 1 cup daal.
  • Fish curry, ½ cup rice, ½ cup vegetable curry, and cucumber and tomato salad.
Evening SnacksOptions:

  • Masala puffed rice and green tea
  • Green tea and two digestive biscuits.

  • 2 chapatis, ½ cup chicken stew, and ½ cup vegetable curry + ½ cup yogurt
  • 2 chapatis, ½ cup vegetable curry, ½ cup daal + ½ cup yogurt
Before Bed1 glass of warm milk


South Pinit

Image: Shutterstock

MealFoods To Eat
Early MorningOptions:

  • Green tea with lemon.
  • 1 cup warm water with lime juice
  • Bitter gourd juice

  • 2-3 idlis with chutney and sambar (use less salt)
  • 2 dosas with chutney and sambar (use less salt)
  • 1 small bowl of upma with chutney
Pre-Lunch1 apple

  • ½ cup brown rice, 1 cup sambar with lots of vegetables, 1 bowl of curd.
  • ½ cup brown rice, 1 cup vegetable curry, ½ cup fish or chicken stew, 1 bowl of curd.
Evening SnacksOptions:

  • Green tea with roasted flaked rice with curry leaves and chopped garlic
  • Black coffee and ¼ cup homemade snacks

  • Vegetable clear soup or chicken and veg clear soup and two chapatis.
  • Mix vegetable curry, two chapatis, and curd.
Before Bed1 glass of buttermilk


West Pinit

Image: Shutterstock

MealFoods To Eat
Early MorningOptions:

  • Lime, honey, and warm water detox drink
  • Green tea with lime juice
  • Bitter gourd juice

  • Rice poha and 1 glass of fruit juice.
  • Ragi poha and 1 cup green tea
Pre-Lunch1 cup cucumber

  • 2 chapatis, 1 cup vegetable curry, 1 cup daal
  • 3 oz steamed or baked fish/chicken, ½ cup rice, 1 cup vegetable curry
Evening SnacksOptions:

  • Green tea and 1 digestive biscuit

  • 1 cup vegetable curry, 2 chapatis, 1 cup daal, and curd
  • Fish curry or chicken curry, 2 chapatis, ½ cup vegetable curry, and cucumber salad
Before Bed1 glass of warm milk

In addition to the foods mentioned in the diet, you can consume the following:

Foods To Eat

Healthy Fats

A.-Healthy-Fats Pinit

Image: Shutterstock

Not all fats are bad. Good fats help maintain the cells’ integrity and prevent heart-related problems. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are good for your health and help in weight loss.

Foods To Eat – Fish, fish liver oil, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, walnuts, avocados, and oysters.


B.-Carbohydrates Pinit

Image: Shutterstock

Foods that are rich in whole carbs are also good sources of fiber. Fiber helps in digestion and metabolism of food. Foods that contain refined carbs do not contain fiber.

Foods To Eat – Rye, oats, quinoa, millet, legumes, brown rice, wild rice, whole wheat, and low sugar bran flakes.


C.-Vegetables Pinit

Image: Shutterstock

Vegetables are good sources of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. Having at least two servings of vegetables (cooked or raw) a day will help you lose weight and boost your immunity.

Foods To Eat – Spinach, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, peas, capsicum, gourds, onion, garlic, celery, asparagus, beans, brinjal, lettuce, zucchini, tomato, broccoli, and kale.

Healthy Proteins

D. Healthy Proteins Pinit

Image: Shutterstock

Proteins are essential for our body. Consume a source of protein with every meal. Eat animal proteins in limited amounts.

Foods To Eat – Lentils, Brussels sprouts, soy, kidney beans, tofu, hummus, pumpkin seeds, chicken, turkey, fish (sardines, mackerel, tilapia, catla, rohu, singi, magur, pomfret, cod liver oil, hilsa, tuna, and trout).


E.-Dairy Pinit

Image: Shutterstock

Dairy products are rich in calcium, vitamins, and proteins. Low fat or no-fat dairy products are good for you. Try not to add too much salt or sugar.

Foods To Eat – Low-fat milk, egg whites, non-fat yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese, low-fat or non-fat sour cream,and unflavored soy milk.

Apart from these, here’s a list of superfoods that help lower blood sugar levels, reduce body weight, and improve overall health.

Superfoods For Diabetes

  • Fenugreek
  • Bitter gourd
  • Psyllium husk
  • Millets
  • Brown rice
  • Legumes
  • Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Cinnamon
  • Turmeric
  • Nuts and Oilseeds – Walnuts and flaxseeds

Also, it is a myth that people with diabetes need to avoid fruits completely. Click here to know about 25 diabetes-friendly fruits.

You must also improve your lifestyle. Be more active and agile. Here’s how to go about it.

Lifestyle Changes For People With Diabetes

Lifestyle-For-Diabetics Pinit

Image: Shutterstock

Waking up early, practicing yoga, working out, eating right, getting proper sleep, meditating, taking out time for yourself, going to bed early, etc. are a few changes that will bring positivity and happiness in your life. You will feel less stressed out. This will boost your immune system and help your body function normally.

Maintain a journal to keep track of your progress. Write down your goals for the next day – such as waking up early, going for a swim, etc. The next day, check the tasks that you were able to complete. This method will also give you the joy of accomplishing small goals. Gradually, you will not need the journal anymore. You will love your new lifestyle and a whole new you.

Here are some more tips to keep diabetes in check.

Dos And Don’ts

Things To DoThings Not To Do
Use artificial sweeteners, but only in small amounts.Do not eat salty or sugary foods.
Take detox drinks every morning.Do not skip breakfast.
Include fruits and vegetables in your diet.Avoid using too much oil to prepare the food.
Bake cakes or make sweets at home using less sugar or artificial sweeteners in measured amounts.Do not eat sweets or cakes/pastries that have high sugar content.
Tame your hunger pangs by drinking water, fruit juice, buttermilk, etc.Do not go to bed late and wake up late.
Eat dry fruits but in very less quantity.Do not eat foods that are high in bad fat and bad cholesterol.
Work out every day.Do not overstress yourself.
Consult your doctor to know your ideal weight and work towards achieving it.Do not follow any diet without consulting your doctor.


Diabetes is incurable. However, its severity can be toned down. Switch to a better lifestyle. Eat right and work out to keep your mind and body in balance. Consuming excess of fatty food will make you more insulin resistant, making you eat more. Therefore, following a diet that is apt for people with diabetes will help in controlled weight loss. Follow the diabetes diet chart and let us know if it worked for you. You can also post your suggestions in the comments box.

Cheers to good health!

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

I am 24 years old, and I have been diagnosed with diabetes. Does this mean I have to follow a restricted diet for the rest of my life?

It is not a “restricted diet” but rather a “controlled diet.” You can have anything you want, but keep a check on your daily sugar and salt intake. Yes, you need to avoid certain foods that, in general, do no good to anybody. Be active, avoid a sedentary lifestyle, and practice yoga.

Will drinking bitter gourd juice or neem juice help to treat diabetes?

Yes. Doctors recommend bitter gourd juice and neem juice for individuals with diabetes. There is scientific evidence that bitter gourd and neem help in lowering blood glucose levels. You can either have boiled bitter gourd or chew three or four neem leaves first thing in the morning.

Bitter gourd contains an insulin-like compound called polypeptide-p or p-insulin. This compound can control diabetes naturally. Neem leaves contain flavonoids, triterpenoids, glycosides, and antiviral compounds that may help manage blood sugar levels. However, overating may have hypoglycemic effects.

I am 62 years old, and I cannot do heavy workouts. Please suggest any other alternative.

Start by going on long, lazy walks. Later, pick up the pace of your walks. You can also practice pranayama. Work with a yoga expert who will guide you.

How much weight will I lose?

Check with your doctor to know what your ideal weight should be according to your age, medical history, sex, current weight, bone mass, etc. Then, plan your daily diet accordingly to reach your ideal weight.

Is eucalyptus oil effective in treating diabetes? Where can I buy eucalyptus oil?

Yes, there is scientific evidence that eucalyptus oil helps reduce blood glucose levels. You can buy eucalyptus oil from various online stores. Mix four to five drops of eucalyptus oil in warm water or warm milk and drink it. Make sure not to add too much of eucalyptus oil as it might be toxic.

Which fruits should I eat?

Eat gooseberries, black plum (jamun), apple, banana, guava (not ripe), raw papaya, etc. You can also eat fruits that have high fructose content such as mango, litchi, and grapes. But make sure not to overdo them.


  1. The Elevated Susceptibility to Diabetes in India: An Evolutionary Perspective” Frontiers in Public Health, National Institutes of Health.
  2. Diabetes in India”
  3. Incidence trends for childhood type 1 diabetes in India” Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism.
  4. Childhood diabetes in India” Annals of Pediatric Endocrinology & Metabolism, National Institutes of Health.
  5. Gestational diabetes mellitus in India.” The Journal of the Association of Physicians of India, National Institutes of Health.
  6. Diabetes” World Health Organization.
  7. Gestational diabetes in India: Science and society” Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, National Institutes of Health.
  8. Can Diabetes Be Controlled by Lifestyle Activities?” Current Research in Diabetes & Obesity Journal, National Institutes of Health.
  9. Insulin and Insulin Resistance” The Clinical Biochemist, National Institutes of Health.
  10. Type 1 diabetes: A predictable disease” World Journal of Diabetes, National Institutes of Health.
  11. Type 2 diabetes: Overview”, National Institutes of Health.
  12. Gestational diabetes mellitus” Saudi Medical Journal, National Institutes of Health.
  13. Neonatal Diabetes” Journal of Investigative Medicine High Impact Case Reports, National Institutes of Health.
  14. Neonatal Diabetes Mellitus” Endocrine Reviews, National Institutes of Health.
  15. Prediabetes” StatPearls, National Institutes of Health.

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Charushila Biswas

Charushila Biswas is a Senior Content Writer and an ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist. She is an alumni of VIT University, Vellore and has worked on transgenic wheat as a part of her Masters dissertation from NRCPB (IARI), New Delhi. After completing her Masters, she developed a passion for nutrition and fitness, which are closely related to human psychology. And that prompted her to author a review article in 2015. She has written over 200 articles on Fitness and Nutrition. In her leisure time, Charushila loves to cook and enjoys mobile photography.