CVD or heart disease  is the biggest cause of death in diabetics, since it leads to dreaded complications such as heart attack, stroke etc. The good news is that following diet restriction in diabetes for a healthy heart can reduce your heart risk to a great extent, especially when combined with physical activity and adequate drug management

Diet restrictions in diabetes for a healthy heart

The nutrients which need to be limited in consumption to control heart risk in diabetes are  SFAs, TFAs, dietary cholesterol, salt and of course sugars and simple carbs

Even in non-diabetics, these nutrients have recommended upper limits of intake, but in diabetics, these limits are set even lower

Below is the table providing recommended upper limit of intake for these nutrients and strategies for limiting their intake

Nutrients Upper limit for healthy people Upper limit for diabetics Dietary changes/ diet restrictions to get there

Trans Fatty Acids

<1% of calories/ as little as possible Same
  • No margarine/vanaspati for cooking at home
  • Check food labels of ‘ready to eat’ food/snacks etc. for TFA content
  • Check ingredient list of food stuff, for terms such as PHVO, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, vegetable oil solids and avoid the ones which have these
  • Find out whether food is cooked in vanaspati/margarine at your favorite restaurants, if yes, ask for replacement

Saturated Fatty Acids

<10% of calories <6-7% of calories
  • Consume reduced fat milk
  • Butter, ghee in moderation
  • No/little cooking in coconut oil
  • Eat less than 2-3 eggs yolks/week
  • Eat lean meat
Dietary cholesterol <300 mg <200 mg
  • Same as above, except that coconut oil has no cholesterol
Salt <6 gram/1 teaspoon salt or 2300 mg sodium <1500 mg sodium
  • Avoid pickles, papad, chips, namkeen etc.
  • Carefully choose or restrict ready-to-cook/eat food such as pickles, papad, popcorns, oats, upma, soup etc. as they all are high in salt content

In addition, eating more of food containing omega 3 fatty acids, especially long chain ones, such as fish and seafood or fenugreek (methi) seeds, mustard seeds, flax seeds etc. and cooking in oils containing omega 3 FAs such as canola, soybean or mustard oil will be beneficial

Get the Food FHI diabetic diet plan now!

To know about the target levels for risk management and drug intake recommendations, read

managing diabetes beyond blood sugar
CHECK OUT: Our references for diabetes mellitus

CHECK OUT: Our references for the recommendation in heart risk management