Dr. Karuturi Subrahmanyam
Can people with diabetes eat root vegetables?
Root vegetables are plants that grow underground and store nutrients for the rest of the plant. They include carrots, beets, turnips, parsnips, potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, and more. They are often used in soups, stews, salads, and roasts. But are they good for people with diabetes?
The pros of root vegetables
Root vegetables have many benefits for people with diabetes. They are low in calories and high in antioxidants, which can protect your cells from damage. They also contain a variety of vitamins and minerals that your body needs for health. For example:
A medium baked sweet potato has enough vitamin A to meet your daily requirement. Vitamin A is important for your vision, immune system, and skin.
A cup of chopped raw carrots also has a lot of vitamin A, as well as vitamin K, which helps your blood clot properly.
A cup of mashed turnips has as much calcium as half a slice of cheese. Calcium is essential for your bones and teeth.
A medium baked russet potato has more than twice the potassium of a banana. Potassium helps regulate your blood pressure and fluid balance.
The cons of root vegetables
Root vegetables also have some drawbacks for people with diabetes. They are high in starches, which are a type of carbohydrate that your body breaks down into glucose for energy. If you eat more carbs than your body needs, it will store them as fat and cause weight gain. Eating too many carbs at once can also spike your blood sugar levels, which can lead to complications like nerve damage, eye damage, and kidney damage.
Therefore, it is important to watch your portion size and choose lower-carb options when eating root vegetables. Some tips are:
Limit your intake of potatoes, especially white potatoes, which have a high glycemic index (GI). GI is a measure of how fast a food raises your blood sugar. The lower the GI, the better for your diabetes control.
Choose sweet potatoes or yams over white potatoes. They have a lower GI and more fiber, which can slow down the absorption of glucose.
Eat carrots raw instead of cooked. Raw carrots have a lower GI and more crunch, which can make you feel fuller.
Try turnips, beets, or celeriac instead of potatoes. They have fewer carbs and more water and fiber content.
Add some protein and healthy fat to your root vegetable dishes. This can help balance your blood sugar and keep you satisfied.
Root vegetables can be part of a healthy diet for people with diabetes if eaten in moderation and with caution. They provide many nutrients and antioxidants that can benefit your health. However, they also contain starches that can raise your blood sugar if eaten in excess or without other foods. Therefore, it is best to limit your portions, choose lower-carb options, and pair them with protein and fat sources.m
Dr. Karuturi Subrahmanyam, MD, FRCP (London), FACP (USA)
Internal Medicine Specialist
Phone : 85000 23456