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Diabetes Type 2 and Dietary Intervention
It was recently Diabetes Awareness Week, and I devote this blog to the escalating epidemic of Diabetes Type 2 and how sound nutrition can manage this debilitating and dangerous condition.
Diabetes is primarily divided into two types, Diabetes Type 1 and Diabetes Type 2. Diabetes Type 1 accounts for ten per cent of all cases of diabetes and is an auto-immune disease with various causative factors. Diabetes Type 2, which is the subject of this discussion, accounts for the remaining ninety per cent of diabetes cases in which diet plays a central role in its onset and development.
The carbohydrate foods we eat, for example, bread, pasta, cakes, biscuits, sweets, and sugary drinks, are broken down by our digestive system into glucose and transported from our intestines into our blood stream. The pancreas, an organ located near our intestines, secretes a hormone called insulin which drives glucose from our blood steam into our body cells where it is converted in to energy to fuel our body processes and energy demands.In people with diabetes Type 2, our body cells don’t respond properly to insulin’s action and therefore do not allow glucose to enter the body’s cells efficiently (a condition called insulin resistance) resulting in excess sugar building up in the blood.
If uncontrolled, Diabetes Type 2 can lead to serious health complications such as cardiovascular disease, eye disease and blindness, kidney disease and limb amputations due to the toxic nature of excess sugar in the blood stream.
Historically, diabetes Type 2 developed in the over 40s as a result of decades of consumption of a high sugar and refined carbohydrate (white bread, white pasta, cakes and biscuits) diet. However, increasingly, diabetes Type 2 is occurring in children due to the obesity epidemic and the dominance of low-nutrient, high sugar food consumption.
Both obesity (and specifically excess fat cells) and refined carbohydrates impair the ability of insulin to drive glucose into our body cells and are the major causes of insulin resistance resulting in the development of diabetes Type 2.
Not All Doom and Gloom…
Achieving ideal body weight through the careful selection of appropriate foods is linked to the normalisation of blood sugar levels and greatly improved health outcomes in diabetic individuals.
The key dietary recommendations for blood sugar normalisation are a whole food diet made up of good quality lean protein, plenty of green leafy and colourful vegetables, healthy fats and complex starchy carbohydrates.
Of particular importance are:
Dietary intervention is key to restoring blood sugar balance in diabetics which dramatically improves their health outcomes.
If you, or anyone you know, suffers from diabetes, it is important that they manage their diet correctly to maximise their health expectations. A degree-qualified nutritional therapist will be able to advise you on the correct dietary, lifestyle and supplemental choices for optimum blood sugar control.
Juliet Schaffer from Evolve Nutrition is a fully qualified and accredited Nutritional Therapist with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutritional Medicine. If you are seeking nutritional advice regarding a specific health concern, or would like guidance for achieving and maintaining a health-promoting diet, take the option of a free 20 minute telephone consultation to see how professional nutritional advice can benefit you. Check out Evolve Nutrition’s website at www.evolve-nutrition.co.uk for contact details or phone 01279 726640 to book a free initial telephone consultation.
Juliet Schaffer, Nutritionist, Evolve Nutrition