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In a recent news piece, it was mentioned that students with Type-I diabetes have been allowed to take snacks during examinations conducted by the CBSE. This, on one hand, shows the progressive and empathetic adaptation of our education system towards the needs of students, while on the other, highlights the critical role snacking can play in maintaining general wellness in cases of diabetes.

Let us understand this better.

To start with, let us recap as to what goes inside the body with diabetes, essentially and in short: Diabetes is a disorder in which the body’s ability to produce or respond to the hormone insulin is impaired, resulting in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates and elevated levels of glucose in the blood.


What snacking does, is that, while one is taking medication or insulin that could cause low blood sugar between meals, snacking prevents this imbalance from happening. An imbalance or fluctuation in the blood sugar level, which in extreme cases is called hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), could potentially be quite dangerous for health.


Sometimes, the overdose of medication, skipping meals, long gaps between meals eating less than normal, or exercising more than usual can lead to low blood sugar for these individuals.  A low sugar level can have further symptoms such as a headache, blurriness of vision, shaking, palpitations, sudden nervousness etc. During a short term, hypoglycemia can be more dangerous than hyperglycemia and can be potentially fatal, so taking the necessary measures to raise blood glucose levels should be an immediate need.


Having small and frequent meals is the key to preventing frequent hypos. Snacking is the best way to prevent this situation. People with diabetes on certain types of tablets or insulin may require one snack between each meal and at bedtime. Trained diabetes educators can guide you very well about how you to snack during certain times of the day to keep from having low blood sugar. Most often, your snacks will be easy to digest foods that have 15 to 45 grams of carbohydrates. This will be based on your diabetes treatment plan from your doctor, physical activity, general type of lifestyle-sedentary, moderate or heavy worker and low blood sugar pattern.

When to have a bite??(Of a diabetic snack)

Carb counting (how to count the carbohydrates) will help you keep your blood sugar under control. Your diabetes educator may tell you to eat a snack at certain points of the day, most often at mid-morning break, mid- evening break or at bedtime (This helps keep your blood sugar from getting too low at night). Other times, you may have a snack before or during exercise for the same reason. Ask your dietitian about the snacks you can have and what to avoid.


Tips for choosing the right snacks

·         Check the label-Always check label before picking any packaged food. Food labels are an essential tool for diabetes meal planning. One should pay attention to the details, such as calories, total carbohydrates, fiber, fat, salt, and sugar.

·         Portion or size is the key -Snack should provide not more than 120 calories. The common mistake people do is to go overboard. Healthy snacks can quickly turn into unhealthy if eaten in large portions. Including low GI (GLYCEMIC INDEX) foods can definitely work since these foods digest more slowly. Also adding protein to a snack with carbohydrate can increase fullness, slow down glucose absorption and the decrease the risk of blood sugar spikes.

·         Be careful with low-fat snacks- Studies have shown that people tend to eat more of a snack if it's low-fat because they think they're saving on calories. In actual low-fat snacks, such as cookies, have only about 10 to 12 percent fewer calories than their full-fat snacks.

·         Please note that the products saying: -

1.    Sugar-free doesn't mean carbohydrate-free.

2.     No sugar added, but not necessarily no carbohydrates.

3.    Sugar alcohols contain carbohydrates and calories as well.

·      Take care of extra carbs-Limit carbohydrate snacks to one or two servings (include good whole grains), especially if you're trying to lose weight. For e.g- 1 whole wheat cracker with peanut butter, or a few pieces of fruit.

Some healthy snack options- Yogurt, nuts, few whole-grain crackers with peanut butter, snacks of raw veggies with low-calorie dips, small servings of a fruit, hard boiled eggs and much more. These are just a few examples to name.

Well, it is said that managing diabetes is less of a science and more of an art. If that’s true, then include snacks (or some artful) snacks in your diabetes management plan which are healthy & nutritious and at the same time please your taste buds too…. Happy snacking!!!                                                                

Comments ( 3)

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17-09-30 09:29
inderjeet swaroop

inderjeet swaroop

good article

17-07-14 12:53
Rigzin Angchok

Rigzin Angchok

Hello I am rigzin

17-07-14 02:55
inderjeet swaroop

inderjeet swaroop

hello I am inderjeet

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