Type 1 diabetes is when the body has a malfunction and is unable to produce insulin so the glucose builds up in the body. It is usually diagnosed during childhood, but can be diagnosed later. The body can't use glucose to provide energy so breaks down stores of fat and protein instead.
Type 2 diabetes is different. It develops when the sugar levels in the body have become so high for so long that the body cannot produce enough insulin to combat the sugar, or, when the insulin is produced, it doesn't work properly and will then cause serious problems.
Imagine a sugar bowl. When we are young it's empty. Over decades of eating high sugar processed foods the bowl fills up. The next time you eat these high sugar foods, because the bowl is full it spills into our blood. Insulin becomes less effective because the cells are overfilled with sugar leading to kidney and heart failure, blindness, circulatory problems possibly leading to amputations and obesity. Every part of your body can be effected.
"Your blood sugar is too high – you're Pre-diabetic." Have you heard this from your doctor?
Good news! You can reverse this before developing full blown Type 2 Diabetes through lifestyle changes. Drugs prescribed do not eliminate the sugar from the body. They rid it from the blood and hide it in the body and organs, turning it into fat leading to obesity. Blood readings become normal whilst on medication, so you continue to consume sugars and then a higher dosage is needed. Eventually you will be prescribed injectable insulin and you may gain weight.
Does it not make sense to rid your body of the sugar before it gets to this stage, so medications can be reduced or eliminated?
Carbohydrates are sugars/starches both natural and refined. They have the biggest effect on blood glucose levels because ALL carbohydrates are turned into sugar. Cutting Carbohydrates to a much lower level and reducing portions can help manage your glucose levels and reduce your fat levels.
'Good' and 'Bad Carbohydrates'
Good carbohydrates, such as those found in vegetables are natural and released much slower into the body.
Bad Carbohydrates are found in processed foods and include refined sugar and grains, corn oil and palm oils which have NO nutritional value. These are added to processed foods such as fizzy drinks, cakes, pastries, many breads, biscuits, processed meats, jarred sauces, canned items and 'low fat' and 'healthy foods' such as some low fat yoghurt and a lot of cereals. Look at the amount of sugar next time you go to the supermarket. Remember 4 grams is a whole teaspoon. Many low fat yoghurts contain more than this!! Processed carbohydrates may also contain transfats/processed fats and re-hydrogenated fats which also contribute to many diseases and obesity.
There are natural foods where the carbohydrate levels are higher such as potatoes, whole grains and fruit, so these items, although a good source of vitamins and fibre, should be eaten in much lower levels.
A diet of fresh vegetables, good quality proteins (lentils, fish, shellfish, lean meat and eggs), some dairy (milk and good quality cheeses in moderation), good fats (oily fish, avocados, nuts, olive oil) and keeping fruit and whole grains to very small amounts is ideal to reduce sugar in our bodies/blood, therefore reducing the need for medication.
Weight-loss also occurs when calories are significantly reduced. If you are overweight then losing excess weight has also been shown to be beneficial in managing blood glucose plus blood pressure and cholesterol. Keeping active also reduces the sugar in our body, so a diet of whole natural unprocessed naturally lower carbohydrate foods plus keeping active can keep you free of Type 2 Diabetes.
Mel Lay is an accredited Cambridge Weight Plan consultant who is also qualified to help diabetics lose weight safely.