Most people think that being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes is life-altering disease that is irreversible. Though being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes is certainly no fun, and can mean quite a significant and shocking lifestyle change (chief of which is depending on medication such as insulin for life), it is often something people can learn to work around with in their daily lives.
Many people with diabetes or pre-diabetes have improved their health by simply making simple dietary changes. You can too! Making these quick changes could also allow you to reduce or eliminate diabetes medication, and help you lose weight as well.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes simply put is a blood sugar (glucose) and insulin disorder. For someone with diabetes, the way the person’s body produces or uses insulin (which is a pancreatic hormone) is affected. Insulin is basically a hormone that helps to lower blood sugar levels in the body’s bloodstream and distribute it to individual cells.
Type 1 diabetes results when, for autoimmune or other rare congenital or genetic reasons, the pancreas becomes damaged and is unable produce insulin. This form of diabetes is most often diagnosed in childhood but can also occur in some adults.
In type 2 diabetes, there are inherent defects in both the production of insulin by the pancreas (insulin deficiency) and the use of insulin by the body (insulin resistance). When the pancreas’s insulin producing cells get more and more damaged, it progresses to the point where the pancreases is unable to release sufficient insulin to help the body’s resistance to it – causing a spike in blood sugar levels.
Having excuses blood sugar or glucose in the body is a problem as it damages blood vessels. The body’s tissues are also unable to use glucose effectively for energy as too much of it stays in the bloodstream instead of entering the individual cells for energy.
High glucose levels are typically a consequence of an underlying process that was set in motion most times for years before the blood sugar becomes high. In other words, a typical person who has developed high blood sugar levels and gets diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, has had too much insulin in his/her body for some time. This is due to the pancreas reacting accordingly to the dysfunction or death of its beta cells which are responsible for producing insulin in the body.
The pancreas has basically two major problems in this case – it’s ability to generate more insulin is getting worse, and in addition the insulin that is produced is not working very well in lowering blood sugar levels. Hence the pancreas has no choice but to crank out more insulin to get the body’s insulin receptors to overcome the residence. This approach works to keep blood sugar levels normal for a while, until so much beta cell function is lost that the pancreas is simply unable to produce all the extra insulin.
Now the question you may be asking is – why is it bad to have high insulin levels?
Well, insulin increase the storage of fats and also reduces the body’s ability to use fat as fuel. This typically leads to weight gain, which in a way also plays a role in the worsening of insulin resistance. If this condition is left uncheck, your body would eventually see a vicious cycle. This will result in the insulin resistance worsening leading to high insulin levels, which then make it easier to gain weight due to excess fat being accumulated, which in turn also leads to further insulin resistance, causing a flood of insulin the body, leading to even more weight gain, and on it goes.
The good news in all this is that diet and exercise can significantly help to lower insulin resistance and the associated weight gain – which could help prevent and even reverse the early onset diabetes associated with type-2 diabetes.
Blood Sugar Levels Testing
Testing your blood sugar levels frequently is one of the best ways to keep diabetes at bay. Simply monitoring your blood sugar levels through the years and taking an active interest in them will enable you to take measures that will keep diabetes at bay.
Testing the blood sugar levels at home can be done very conveniently using a simple blood glucose meter, that is pretty inexpensive.
Here are the general steps to take when you’re set out to take your blood sugar level reading
- Wash your hands clean, then dry with a towel.
- Now place a test strip in your blood sugar meter.
- Next simply prick your finger with the provided lancet to draw. drop of blood accordingly.
- Place the drop of blood on the tip of the test strip (usually marked in white).
- After a couple of seconds, the blood sugar meter will provide you with a reading.
Once you’ve got your reading, compare then with the range provided below:
- Normal blood sugar range: Typically less than 100 mg/DL (5.6 mol/L) after an overnight fast, and up to 140 mg/dL (7.8 mol/L) within 2 hours after a meal.
- Prediabetes: Ranges between 100-125 mg/dL (5.6-7.0 mmol/L) after an overnight fast
- Diabetes: 126 mg/dL (7.0 mmol/L) or higher after an overnight fast, or higher than 200 mg/dL (11.1 mol/L) at any other time.
Do keep in mind that a blood sugar meter reading is not considered accurate enough to make a definite diagnoses of a pre-diabetic or diabetic condition. Do go in for a doctor’s consultation to confirm the diagnosis. Also you may want to keep in mind that single abnormal blood sugar reading is not sufficient to secure a diabetic diagnoses, at least 2 to 3 readings are required to do this.
The relationship between food and Diabetes
Often people with diabetes have significant difficulties in keeping their blood sugar in the normal range. The body’s blood turns ‘sweeter’ as the glucose levels continue to rise.
The sugar found in your blood typically comes from 2 places – the food you eat and your liver. There is not much you can do to control the amount of sugar your liver makes, but you most certainly can control the food that you consume on a daily basis.
Typically there are 3 broad categories of food. These are known as major nutrients (or macronutrients) such as protein, carbohydrate and fat. Most food we consume are a combination of two or even all three major nutrients, however we often tend to group our food according to their major content of macronutrients – i.e. typically protein, fat or carbohydrate.
The link between carbohydrates and blood sugar
Carbs or carbohydrates are essentially food that turn into glucose when they are digested by the body. When the sugar or glucose enters the bloodstream – we call it blood glucose or blood sugar.
As someone consumes more carbs in a meal, the more sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream and the higher the blood sugar recorded levels would be.
Some food that we think of as “healthy” – such as fruits also do indeed have a lot of sugar in them. Most people also don’t know that starchy food such as rice, pasta, bread and potatoes also quickly turn to sugar when digested.
Did you know that eating a single potato could raise blood sugar levels to the equivalent levels fo eating 9 teaspoons of sugar?! How someone’s blood sugar levels would respond is also hard to predict as this lies in a variety of factors such as baseline insulin sensitivity and genetics.
Food such as poultry, meat, tofu and eggs are major protein sources. Though most individuals have different responses to these food, consuming a moderate amount of protein typically has little effect on blood sugar levels.
Fat typically has very little effect on blood sugar. However, we seldom do eat fat all by itself. Some food like cheese, are made of mostly fat and protein. Consuming these types of food won’t raise your blood sugar levels by much.
However other foo such as fries and doughnuts, are mast mostly of fat and carbs. Because these contain high levels of carbs, they would significantly raise your blood sugar levels.
Lowering blood sugar levels with diet
The simply solution to type-2 diabetes is by removing food that raise your blood sugar levels fro your diet. Well, would there be even anything good left to eat if you do that? We at health365pro.com sure think so!
Here’s just a simply picture containing the best food to consume to control diabetes.
Many people around the world with type-2 diabetes are now choosing a diet that is typically low-carb in nature, and many doctors and physicians are also recommending the same.
Most people notice that when starting with their first meal, their blood sugar starts improving. The need to use insulin or other medications also reduces. General weight loss and other health improvements often follow suit. People on such diet also usually fell much better and have more energy and are a lot more alert compared to before.
Food that is low in carb is an effective way to help control blood sugar levels an is also safer for more people.
Do note that if you’re on medications, you must consult with your healthcare provider when changing your diet as the need for medication, especially for the intake of insulin may significantly reduce with the change in diet.
The science behind diabetes reversal
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) in 2019, stated that a reduction in carbohydrate consumption is the single most effective manner to improve blood sugar control for those with diabetes.
Research has also shown that low-carb diets are effective and safe options to treat type-2 diabetes. This evidence also include systemic meta analysis and reviews conducted in trials.
An analysis done in 2017 also discovered that low-card diets also reduced the need for diabetes medication and even improved certain health markets in people with type-2 diabetes. This also included reduction in levels of haemoglobin A1c (commonly known as HbA1c), triglycerides, and blood pressure. This also led to an increase in HDL (high density lipoprotein) cholesterol – commonly known as the ‘good cholesterol’.
In one of the most promising trials conducted by Virta Health, a group subjects with type-2 diabetes followed a very low-card diet and received monitoring services by physicians and health coaches. After exactly one year, 94% of the participants in the low-card group had reduced or completely stopped their insulin use. In addition, 25% had HbA1c in the normal range without requiring any medication, suggesting that their diabetes was in complete remission, and an additional 35% didi the same with only metformin. At the end of the two-year mark, a remarkably high number of subjects also demonstrate a sustained improvement in blood sugar level control.
This and other evidence suggests that type 2 diabetes does not have to be an irreversible disease that someone has no control over. It is clearly a treatable disease when effective diet and lifestyle changes are implemented.