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Diabetes and changes in culture-specific dietary habits

Nov 04, 2015

Food habits and methods of cooking are culturally linked and specific to each ethnicity. Traditional diets tend to lean towards the geographical area the person comes from and what can be easily harvested.

In the last few decades, however, these traditional diets have seen a huge change due to migration, fast growing economies, globalization, industrialization, modern technology, frequent travel, evolving tastes and willingness to experiment with food.

From an Indian scenario, the inclusion of other cuisines in our already existing varied diets lead to over consumption of food and thus to an increase in the total caloric intake. Choosing refined carbohydrates over traditional millets, replacing local cooking oils with butter, and opting for more industrialized food products than traditionally fresh cooked meals, mark major changes in our eating patterns.

What are the changes in dietary habits that you see locally in terms of consumption and preparation? 

Information about the moderator

Ms. Dave, PGD, RD, is a trained diabetes educator and member of the IDF Consultative Section on Diabetes. She has been working in outpatient care over 11 years and is currently working in a private endocrinology clinic in Mumbai.


1) Evolving food habits in India (Krishnaswamy and Vaidya, 2012).

2) Food Culture and Diabetes in United States (Kulkarni, 2004).

3) Globalisation of diabetes (Hu, 2011).

4) Changes in Dietary Habits after migration and consequences of health: a focus on south Asians in Europe (Holmboe-Ottesen and Wandel, 2012).

5) Using Cultural Competence Constructs to understand food practices and provide diabetes care and education (Goody, 2009).