Diabetes is considered to be one of the most common medical ailments. It has gained popularity and it is a condition in which the quantity of sugar cannot be controlled in the body. Excessive glucose is present in the blood stream and to battle this, the pancreas produces a hormone called insulin and this helps to remove the excess glucose. People with diabetes cannot produce much insulin or the insulin produced is not effective at eradicating the glucose and sometimes there is insufficient glucose.
High blood glucose levels are linked to several issues. Small blood vessels get ruptures and nerves also get damaged and these could result in further complications. Healthy individuals have blood glucose levels of the range between 4 and 6 mmol/L in a fasted state like when just woken up. When meals are taken in the glucose levels will rise but due to the production of insulin they will fall back within normal ranges. Those diagnosed with diabetes usually will have to maintain regular blood glucose levels. This is done through diets and medications and in more severe cases insulin shots.
Risks of uncontrolled diabetes
Uncontrolled diabetes when left unchecked can cause several health compilations. Some of the complications are listed below.
- Heart disease
- Eye problems including blindness
- Circulation problems
- Kidney disease
- Foot problems such as neuropathy and gangrene
Myths surrounding diabetes and diet
It is very integral to consult a nutritionist or a dietician or a licensed medical practitioner to get advice on how to control diabetes. There are also several myths that are associated with this common condition and light must be thrown on them. It must be noted that these are false and in case of any clarifications or doubts, a specialist for diabetes must be consulted.
Myths that are false and commonly heard regarding diabetes and diet include:
- It is a common misconception that consuming sugar is linked to diabetes
- Carbohydrate containing foods are rich in sugar and therefore those diagnosed with diabetes must eradicate these from their diet.
- Protein and fat are the only types of foods that can be consumed by diabetics.
- Current dietary recommendations for diabetes that are supported by reliable evidence
Research has played a significant role in reducing the myths associated with diabetes. Medication, eating regularly and eating moderate quantities and incorporating well balanced diet including carbohydrates, protein, fats, vitamins and minerals can help control diabetes. It is also important to eat foods rich in fiber and engage in a lot of physical activities like exercising.
Eating regularly and in moderate quantity a good diet will help control diabetes. It is important to note that skipping meals can increase or decrease your blood glucose levels therefore it is important eat well and regularly.
Fat is good for you but it is important to know that the type of fat that a diabetes patient consumes is correct and appropriate. It is important to consume unsaturated fat and avoid Trans fats and other saturated fat. It is better to use small quantities of olive oil as opposed to butter or vegetable or coconut oil. Reducing intake of butter and substitute it with healthier varieties is also a preferable option.
Fiber is an important component that should be incorporated in the diet. Fiber helps to manage the blood glucose level and keeps the hunger in control. A lot of vegetables and fruits and bread and cereals are rich in fiber.
Carbohydrates should not be eliminated from the diet. Carbohydrates are found in vegetables like corn, legumes, potatoes, beans and other starchy vegetables. It is also found in diary products and foods such as pasta, rice, cereal and bread. The amount of Carbohydrates that can be consumed should be checked with a dietician or a nutritionist. Carbohydrates also help in controlling the blood glucose level when combined with other nutrients.
Exercising is important and it is always preferable to engage in activities like walk or a stroll as this will help control diabetes and improve your overall health and well-being.
A Plant Diet For Type 2 Diabetes
While poultry, fish, and meat have not direct effect on blood sugars, a plant diet greatly contributes positively to a diabetic’s health and well being. Managing diabetes isn’t a hard task and there are several ways in which vegetarian or vegan diets help with management and prevention of the onset of type 2 diabetes.
Studies have shown that vegetarians and vegans are able to control their insulin better. They have a better insulin resistance and they are more resistant to acquiring type 2 diabetes.
Fiber is important in controlling diabetes and vegetarian diets are rich in these. Therefore it is better and easier to control blood sugar levels.
Foods taken by vegetarians and vegans have lesser calories and this is attributed to their lean build. Obesity and over weight is a cause for diabetes and with vegetarian and vegan diets it is a lot lesser. Meat and diary can increase weight in the negative sense and distribute weight unevenly and this can cause type 2 diabetes. Losing weight can help reduce the onset of Type-2 diabetes. Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, California conducted a study that showed that vegetarians or vegans on average weighed 30 pounds lesser than their meat eating Californian counterparts.
The merit of vegetarian diet cannot be stressed enough because it will also reduce the onset of heart diseases which comes with type 2 diabetes. Vegetarian diets or vegan diets are cholesterol free and have less fat. They also contain saturated fat, which is good for you. This eliminated the onset of heart problems and cuts the risk by 1/3rd. Meat eaters on the other hand have a larger amount of cholesterol and more animal fats, which are more harmful.
Care must be noted though and it is imperative to consult your specialist or a dietician or a nutritionist before starting any diet plan. This is very important especially if you have been diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes or any diabetes for that matter.