You don’t have to let your life be destroyed by diabetes. You can reclaim your life. Every new day is another chance to change your life.
Diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) health condition disease that occurs when our blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high.
Sometimes people call diabetes “a touch of sugar” or “borderline diabetes. It is a deadly disease that occurs when the pancreas is no longer able to make insulin
There isn’t a complete cure yet for diabetes, but losing weight, eating healthy food, and being active can really help.
How diabetes occurs ?
It occurs when our body cannot make or effectively use its own insulin.
Insulin is a hormone made by special cells in the pancreas called islets (eye-lets). Insulin serves as a “key” to open your cells, to allow the sugar (glucose) from the food you eat to enter then, your body uses that glucose for energy.
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What are the most common forms of the diabetes?
It has also been called as juvenile diabetes because it usually develops in children and teenagers.
But people of all ages can develop type 1 diabetes.
In this condition the immune system destroys
insulin-making cells in the pancreas.
These are called beta cells.
It occurs when once the insulin-producing cells are destroyed, a person can no longer produce their own insulin. Without insulin, there is no “key.” So, the sugar stays in the blood and builds up. Healthy diet and regular exercise is an important part of treating type 1 diabetes.
The most common form of diabetes is called type 2 diabetes, or non-insulin dependent diabetes.
How it occurs - Pancreas makes a hormone called insulin. It helps the cells turn glucose (type of sugar from the food we eat into energy ). Initially pancreas makes more insulin to try to get glucose into our cells. But eventually, it cant keep up and the glucose builds up in our blood instead. Type 2 diabetes is typically tied to people who are overweight with a sedentary lifestyle.
Facts about Diabetes (What you need to know?)
About 90% of people with diabetes have type 2. People who are middle-aged or older are most likely to get this kind of diabetes, so it is called adult onset diabetes. But type 2 diabetes also affects kids and teens, mainly because of childhood obesity.
There are about 29 million people in the US with type 2. Another 84 million have pre-diabetes as their blood sugar or blood glucose is high but not high enough to be diabetes yet.
Relation between diabetes and weight loss
There is positive impact of weight loss on diabetes.
If the diabetic person loses 7% of body weight then the person can reduce diabetic risk by 60-70%.
How weight loss benefits a diabetic person -
Improves glucose tolerance which is important to be able to use insulin better.
Protects from developing common diabetes related complications like eye diseases, kidney failure, liver damage, high blood pressure etc.
Lowers blood pressure and improved hemoglobin A1c levels
Pancreas is better able to keep up with your body's need for insulin
Decreased risk of vascular inflammation like atherosclerosis.
Reduced risk for sleep disorder as weight loss will eventually improve our sleep quality and helps us get better control on blood sugar.
Increased energy and improved mood gives motivation to manage diabetes efficiently.
Osama Hamdy, MD, PhD, medical director of the Obesity Clinical Program at the Joslin Diabetes Center says weight loss doesn't have to be dramatic for you to earn big results.
The research found that when people lose around 7% of their body weight, their insulin sensitivity improves by 57%”.
In general ,healthy weight is defined as a body mass index or BMI of 25 or lower. and to get there, there is no need to run marathon or do hours of workout each day. But follow healthy diet and be active on regular basis.
Effective diabetic diet for all ages
Indeed! Losing weight can be extra challenging for people with diabetes but not impossible.
Dial back just a few digits on the bathroom scale, and get your blood sugar levels more in check and feel better overall.
When it comes to diet, the key is to strike the right balance between carbohydrates, fats, and protein.
The best weight-loss diet for someone with diabetes is one they will stick to long-term.
The following diets involve making healthful long-term changes to help a person lose weight safely
Emergence of Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet is based on the traditional eating habits from the 1960s of people from countries that surround the Mediterranean Sea, such as Greece, Italy, and Spain, and it encourages the consumption of fresh, seasonal, and local foods.
What is Mediterranean diet ?
The diet is generally characterized by a high intake of plant-based foods -
Fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, and cereals
Moderate intake of fish and poultry
Low intakes of dairy products (mostly yogurt and cheese)
Please note if anyone is susceptible to sharp spikes in blood glucose levels ,option for lower carbs fruits such as berries and consume moderate amount of other fruits.
What is significance of Mediterranean diet ?
They include a strong vegetable content. Vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, aubergines, olives, onions, rocket and lettuce are not only great for blood glucose levels but make a very visually appealing meals too.
It has a higher proportion of unsaturated to saturated fats, includes plenty of fresh vegetables and depends on largely unprocessed foods.
The diet is not a restrictive diet and so it is not linked with vitamin or mineral deficiencies and therefore gets further praise as an easy diet to adopt and follow.
Mediterranean diet is high in fruit and vegetables, fibre and unsaturated fat and low in saturated fat could all help to reduce the risk of diabetes.”
It has the most favorable for changes in insulin and fasting glucose levels. Those following the Mediterranean diet also lost an average of 1.5 kilograms (kg), or 3.3 pounds more than those on a low-fat diet.
#2 Low-carbs diet
Low-carbs diet benefits -
The low carb diet as the name suggests intake of foods deficient in carbohydrates.
This diet helps people with diabetes and efficiently manage to stabilize blood sugar levels and this will eventually result in
lower average blood glucose, or HbA1c levels
reduce food cravings, especially for sugar
lower the risk of hypoglycemia
aid weight loss efforts
decrease the risk of long-term diabetes complications
Most of the calories in a low-carb diet should come from healthful, natural sources, including -
good fats, such as olives or avocados
fruit in moderation as it is healthful substitute for sugary snacks and processed foods.
As part of a healthful, low-carb diet, people should avoid or limit intake of the following:
processed foods, such as prepackaged meals and salty snacks
sugar-rich foods, such as cakes, candies, pastries, cookies, sodas, and juices
starches, especially white bread or bagels
potatoes, including potato chips
other starchy vegetables
white pasta or any junk foods
However, whole-grain bread, lentils, and beans are also high in carbs, but they can be a vital part of a healthful diet. Eat these foods in moderation or as a substitute for unhealthful carbs, such as cakes and pi
A low-carb diet can help people with diabetes avoid complications. It can control blood pressure , reduce energy slumps, aid weight loss, and even reverse the course of the disease. But before trying any new diet, always talk to a doctor or dietitian.
#3 Paleolithic diet
The Paleolithic or “paleo” diet attempts to replicate the diet that people ate thousands of years ago when they had to hunt for food. Staples of a paleolithic diet include fruits, vegetables, lean meat, and fish.
It typically resembles a low-carb diet. The focus is on eating fresh foods and removing processed foods including dairy, starches and refined sugar.
In a small 2013 study, 13 people with type 2 diabetes followed the paleo diet for 3 months, then switched to a diabetic diet for 3 months
Paleolithic diets are thought to be useful for people with diabetes as they have following benefits like -
Increased insulin sensitivity
Improved heart health
Reduced body fat and increased muscle mass
Kindly note - Speak to your doctor or dietitian if you are considering paleo to evaluate whether the diet would be suitable for you.
Many people who eat paleolithic diets look to return to their roots and eat more healthily.
#4 Vegetarian or Vegan Diet
Interesting research about vegan diet
A 2017 review highlighted the benefits of eating a plant-based diet in people with diabetes.
In one study, 99 people of varying ages ate either a vegan diet or an American Diabetic Association (ADA) diet that included whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and meat.
After 22 weeks, the participants on the vegan diet lost an average of 6.5 kg (14.3 pounds), while those on the ADA diet lost 3.1 kg (6.8 pounds).
Also, 43% of the participants on the vegan diet decreased their diabetic medications, compared to 26% on the ADA diet.
Why Vegan Diet ?
Manage your blood sugar efficiently
Get our A1c level under control
Improve insulin sensitivity
Ease metabolic syndrome
Helps the body make good gut bacteria
Healthy vegan diet won’t cure your diabetes completely. But it helps to keep our blood sugar more stable.
But If we lose weight, it can lower your glucose levels. This may change how much insulin you need to take. It’s a good idea to keep the doctor looped on any changes to your diet.
#5 DASH Diet
The DASH Diet, which stands for Dietary Approaches To stop Hypertension, is promoted by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Its long touted for its benefits in lowering high blood pressure and is also a top choice in diabetes care and one that's easy to start.
DASH is rich in fruits, vegetables and grains, and low in fat, sugar and sodium .This balanced approach promotes consumption of a variety of foods like whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy products, fruits, vegetables, poultry, fish, and nuts and it includes more whole food and less processed foods.
DASH adopts healthy eating habits, . People with diabetes on this plan are advised to reduce their sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams per day. The plan also limits sweets, sugary beverages, and red meats.
This dietary approach is a nutritious, balanced, and sustainable eating plan that can improve a number of health parameters, including hypertension, insulin resistance, hyperglycemia, and overweight/obesity.
Benefits of DASH Diet
This diet promotes blood pressure reduction by encouraging the consumption of foods that are low in saturated fat, total fat, cholesterol, and sodium and high in potassium, calcium, magnesium, fiber, and protein.
This diet also helps in reducing episodes of hyperglycemia (excess glucose in the blood) and control blood glucose levels in children with Type 1 diabetes
Improve blood lipids and blood pressure while also decreasing A1C.
Improves fasting blood glucose levels and hyperglycemia (an abnormally high concentration of fats in the blood)
Improvements in insulin sensitivity which may be helpful for individuals with pre-diabetes or who are at risk for type 2 diabetes
You can love what you eat while still managing your diabetes and protecting your heart. With the DASH diet, it's all about moderation and balance.
#6 Gluten free diet
Gluten is a family of proteins found in grains, including wheat, rye, spelt, and barley. The two main proteins in gluten are glutenin and gliadin.
Examples of gluten free food and drink that are appropriate for people with diabetes and celiac disease include:
1% fat milk, cheeses, Greek yogurt, and fortified soy milk
eggs, chicken, fish, beef, and pork
nuts, olive oil, and avocado
carrots, green beans, cucumbers, squash, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, mushrooms, onions, peppers, spinach, cabbage, greens, and tomatoes
hummus, peanut butter, beans, and legumes
gluten free grains, including buckwheat, quinoa, millet, sorghum, and teff
unsweetened whole fruits
beverages that are zero sugar, zero calories, and sweetened with low or no calorie sugar substitute
Gluten consumption leads to leptin resistance which contributes to obesity and type 2 diabetes
The 2015 study from Sweden and Denmark found that gluten actually prevents leptin from binding to its leptin receptor. Leptin is a protein produced by the body that regulates appetite and dietary intake.
Leptin is also directly linked with the obesity gene. When leptin is unable to properly bind with the leptin receptor, it’s referred to as “leptin resistance” which is considered a major risk factor for obesity.
It has been hypothesized that dietary cereal grain protein could cause leptin resistance by preventing leptin from binding to its receptor,” explained the study.
Gluten-free diet significantly reduced the incidence of Type 1 diabetes
This 1999 study (discussed again in 2014) from Denmark determined that a gluten-free diet largely prevented the onset of type 1 diabetes in mice. The mice followed a gluten-free diet for almost an entire year, reducing the incidence of type 1 diabetes from 64 percent to a remarkable 15 percent.
Why gluten is bad for your body ?
Gluten peptides enter the pancreas where they affect the morphology and might induce beta-cell stress by enhancing glucose- and palmitate-stimulated insulin secretion.
Gliadin is responsible for most of the adverse health effects of gluten like Coeliac disease.
Coeliac disease is a condition that occurs when the lining of the small intestine is damaged by gluten. It is an autoimmune disorder which causes immune system attack your gut and nervous system. It also promotes body-wide inflammation, which could lead to chronic disease.
Henceforth, nutrients are not properly absorbed, leading to a host of problems. Several groups are more at risk from developing celiac disease, and these include type 1 diabetics
Celiac disease is cause by gluten foods and to return the intestine to a normal pre-coeliac state it is necessary to adhere to a strict gluten-free diet. Diet is essential to manage diabetes, but when combined with coeliac disease this needs careful attention.
What a diabetic person should do?
Consumption of minimum 5 glasses of water on empty stomach and minimum 8-12 glasses in whole day. This will enable more glucose to be flushed out of the blood.
One teaspoon of fenu-greek seeds in a glass of water on an empty stomach is very beneficial for high blood pressure and diabetes
Consumption of Bitter gourd/Karela is really good as it is filled with insulin polypeptide-P and can help reduce increased sugar levels.
Consume Vitamin C rich foods like orange, lemons etc. atleast 600mg daily to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
Exercise regularly as it will help us lose weight , increase insulin sensitivity and helps muscles to pick up sugars from the blood
Control carbs intake as too many carbs breaks down into glucose which will eventually raises blood sugar levels.
Increase consumption of foods rich in fiber like vegetables,fruits,legumes and whole grains to improve blood sugar control. The recommended daily intake of fiber is about 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. That's about 14 grams for every 1000 calories.
Implement portion control, measure and weigh portions, eat slowly, keep a food journal to regulate calorie intake to promote healthy blood sugar level.
Controlling stress levels through exercise, meditation will help control sugar control
Managing diabetes and obesity is not a science but its a art! Art of sharing and inculcating knowledge to follow healthy lifestyle.