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Social and cultural eating


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Most people enjoy a meal out or socialising with friends, and having diabetes shouldn’t stop you.


To have fun and stick to your goals, it's helpful to plan ahead. So, think about lower carb options and portion sizes before you are faced with a host who insists you have to try everything!


Here are 10 top tips to remember when eating out:


  1. Watch your portions. Portions are much larger in restaurants.
  2. Plan ahead. Think about low carb alternatives or how to say "no" nicely to an insistent host.
  3. Avoid snacking on bread. Before meals arrive, replace bread with olives or nuts.
  4. Aim to eat more protein. Meat, fish, eggs and pulses fill you up more.
  5. Order low carb items. Replace bread, chips or rice with salads or beans.
  6. Avoid fruit juices and fruit lassis. They are high in fructose which causes fatty liver.
  7. Avoid adding high sugar sauces.
  8. Eat fewer puddings and desserts.
  9. Stick to alcohol limits.
  10. Intermittent fasting. Try to arrange your fasting days or times around your social calendar.
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Type 2 diabetes affects people from African, Asian and other ethnic minority backgrounds up to six times more than white ethnic groups.


This is largely because of where fat is stored in the body. People from most ethnic minority groups store more fat in the belly area rather than under the skin. This affects the pancreas, which produces insulin. So people from BAME groups tend to develop type 2 diabetes at a lower body mass index (weight against height) than people from white ethnic groups.


Diet also plays a significant part. Many foods that are traditional for ethnic minority groups have high levels of starchy carbohydrates (carbs). Starch breaks down into glucose (sugar) in the body. This raises blood sugar levels and any excess is stored as fat. For example, a meal of potato curry and chapatis could contain the carb equivalent of 27 teaspoons of sugar. 


Reducing carbs helps you manage your diabetes more effectively and may mean you can come off medication.


We've put together a guide to help you understand this, together with individual meal plans for ArabicCaribbeanWest African, and South Asian vegetarian and non-vegetarian diets.


Want to be surprised? Watch our video to understand how starchy foods can have a huge impact on your blood sugar.



"Just try new things. Don't be afraid. Step out of your comfort zones and soar, all right?" - Michelle Obama

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Our dietitian has created some tasty 7-day low carb cultural meal plans to help you make a fresh start with your cooking. Why not download and get started today?

Watch dietitian Salma visit the Halal food festival and discover some easy alternatives to eat more healthily.

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