Essential Adventures of a Foodie with Diabetes

Middle Eastern diet for diabetes

Like a hungry tiger prowling in the jungle looking for the next kill, many foodies go around town searching for their next culinary discovery.

Welcome to the world of foodies where mushroom-infused coffee, lavender lattes, pickled watermelon rind, and whatever that’s Middle Eastern hits the roof of the wow meter! But wait; are you a foodie, but have diabetes? Don’t worry and parch your 10,000-odd taste buds! Get bold for the next food adventure and grab a bite of that gastronomic delight.

Yes you read that right. People with diabetes have to follow certain dietary guidelines and stick to their diabetic diet, but our diabetes specialists in Bangalore think otherwise.

The New Healthy Food Revolution

What with the new food revolution sweeping a health conscious India, people are now preferring millets, whole grains, and a lot of other healthier options. In fact, many small businesses have started flourishing selling healthier snack and meal options. Now, eating out might actually be a healthy option!

Some reports suggest that people from the urban areas prefer their snacks and meals that are millet and whole grain based. This is clearly evident with the organic foods market growing by 25% every year and there’s an ever growing demand for stevia’s (a natural sugar substitute). Is this is an undeniable testimonial to our changing food preferences?

What does all this mean?

Over the years, diabetologists and endocrinologists have published numerous papers on our proclivity to bad diet and the enormous health risks we carry. Our indulgence in carbohydrates, indiscriminate use of table sugar, craving for bad fats, and lack of protein intake has been the culprit for having more than 73 million people with diabetes. Added to that, most people above 35 have hidden hypertension.

Yes. Combine diabetes and hypertension – it’s a hell brew that can lead to many serious diseases. So, people have started to realize the importance of cutting down on unnecessary carbohydrate intake and are opting for forgotten foods; our healthy backyard crops, the humble millets.

However, this does not mean that we have given up on our favorite preoccupation – taking one step forward and two steps backwards. Our love for samosas, kachoris, potato fries, and panipuri only increased with pizzas, burgers, chocolates, ice creams, and sodas.

Imagine consuming such diet right from childhood! It only means childhood obesity, and future risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. With chutzpah, we justify this with science – that the love for junk food is only a primordial reward and pleasure mechanism. The result is a messed up system. Children become prone to many nutritional disorders resulting in nutritional endocrine disorders with an increased risk of PCOS, and cardiometabolic disorders in latter stages.

This is because many hormones like cortisol, insulin, leptin, ghrelin, estrogen, and testosterone are dependent on our eating and sleeping habits. Added sugars, trans fats, caffeine, and alcohol tend to weaken the endocrine system and leads to hormonal disorders. With bad dietary choices, we are subjecting ourselves to numerous health complications that are actually avoidable.

Does this mean we have to limit ourselves to bland tasteless foods? Are all those delicious treats out of bounds?

No. This is just the backdrop for the new foodie adventure that’s about to begin!

 No Conflict in this Middle East!

In this day and age where our next dinner mostly comes from popular food delivery apps, one thing is for sure. There is no dearth of options. You can order authentic Mexican food or if you can’t choose, plainly go Italian. The availability of international cuisine of course has some benefits, especially for those who prefer Middle Eastern cuisine.

Most food experts, popular chefs, for that matter even endocrinologists and diabetes specialists in Bangalore feel that Middle Eastern cuisine is the “Other Mediterranean diet.” Endorsed by doctors for being one of the healthiest cuisines the world over, Mediterranean diet is known to reduce the risk of heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes.

While Mediterranean diet is popular for the use of whole grains, legumes, nuts, olive oil, and fruits and vegetables, the pantry of a typical Middle Eastern kitchen is a well curated collection of spices, sauces, bulgur wheat, nuts, pomegranate molasses, chickpeas, dates, and different varieties of flatbread.

Why Middle Eastern Cuisine?

Endocrinologists and diabetes specialists in Bangalore prescribe Middle Eastern diet because it’s not just tasty, it’s healthy and packs in a burst of local flavors that’s irresistible. It’s diverse with flavors from countries like Iran, Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, and the Arab world. And, as for the style of presentation of foods, which basically invigorates the hunger in you, is very earthy with the colors of saffron, sumac, lemon, and of course the popular cheese Feta.

Who can forget those toothsome Shawarmas, Falafels, kebabs, Kaftas, Fattoush, or the creamy delight, Hummus!

Some healthy Middle Eastern food options


This classic Middle Eastern dish is an appetizer that’s made of boiled and mashed chickpeas. It’s blended in Tahini (sesame seeds’ paste), garlic, lemon, olive oil, and salt. The use of Tahini in breakfast for a period of six weeks is known to reduce the levels of LDL, triglycerides, and blood pressure. Hummus is rich with plant-based protein, dietary fiber, antioxidants, and monounsaturated fats.

Health Benefits:

  • Full of manganese, magnesium, folate, zinc, phosphorus, copper and thiamin, hummus is a great vegetarian diet that’s good for the immune system.
  • It helps fight chronic inflammation with its antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Tahini (sesame seeds paste) present in hummus reduces the risk of arthritis
  • With its low glycemic index, it is good for people with diabetes
  • Reduces risk of heart disease
  • It promotes weight loss by reducing the levels of hunger hormone ghrelin


Fattoush is a Lebanese salad that has a distinctive sweet-sour taste due to ingredients like pomegranate molasses and sumac. It is full of veggies of all colors, and spices like parsley and mint. When you have Fattoush with whole grain pita bread, it’s a complete meal in itself. It is high in protein and fiber, low in glycemic index and fat. It’s gluten-free and a great way to stay healthy.


This is probably one of those snacks that has brought the Lebanese cuisine to the international arena. Made from chickpeas, it is high in plant-based protein, dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals, and low in salt and calories. Opting for an oven-roasted falafel is known to have health benefits for people with diabetes too as it has a low glycemic index.

As for the desserts of the desert, loaded with nuts and dried fruits, they are certainly healthier options when compared to ice creams or other Indian sweets. Keeping in mind the benefits of Middle Eastern cuisine including better heart health, reduced risk of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease and a host of endocrine disorders, our endocrinologists and diabetes specialists in Bangalore encourage a Middle Eastern food adventure. However, there’s only one caution; do not overdo!