Is it possible to reverse diabetes with simple lifestyle changes?
For many of those with Type 2 diabetes, it is possible for the condition to be managed and in some cases reversed. In fact, up to 58% can be controlled through the careful following of the dietary requirements for Type 2 diabetes, a more balanced regime with excer. However, Type 1 is an autoimmune condition which is not linked to diet or lifestyle; the body destroys its own insulin producing cells and therefore requires lifelong management with insulin medication.
Are there any particular foods that can help keep blood sugars stable?
Foods with a low glyceamic index (GI) can help keep blood sugar levels stable. The GI is a ranking (1-100) of carbohydrate containing foods and is based on the rate of absorption of sugars into the bloodstream and its overall effect on blood sugar levels. For instance, wholegrain foods have a low GI (<55) as they contain the entire kernel (bran, germ and endosperm). This increases the amount of fibre and therefore slows down absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. Example of low GI foods:
What type of diet should I follow to help treat my Type 2 diabetes?
As the susceptibility to Type 2 diabetes is heightened by being overweight or obese, it is especially important to try to stick to the dietary requirements for Type 2 diabetes—maintain a healthy weight and therefore follow a calorie-controlled, nutritionally balanced diet. This means consuming lean proteins (turkey, chicken), fish, eggs and plant-based proteins such as tofu, pulses and beans, in addition to wholegrain carbohydrates, healthy fats (olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds) and 5 or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day. It is important to follow a low GI, high fibre diet and to reduce consumption of foods high in fat, sugar and salt. Equally, the intake of alcohol and sugar-sweetened beverages should be reduced.
Could my diabetes be reversed by drastic weight loss?
Losing weight will most definitely help improve your condition. Maintaining a healthy weight is important for everyone. Most people who need to lose weight can obtain health benefits from losing just 5% of their weight. In fact, for those without the condition, every Kg lost is associated with a 16% reduction in the risk of Type 2 diabetes. In order to achieve a safe and healthy weight loss, weight loss should be 1-2lbs (0.5-1kg) a week. This can be obtained by reducing total daily calorie intake by 600 Kcal.
It has been said that a low-carb diet can reverse diabetes and stabilise blood sugars—is this true? Is a low-carb diet safe for people with diabetes?
Carbohydrates are important components of our daily diet, providing us with energy and many essential nutrients, dietary requirements for Type 2 diabetes do not involve omitting carbohydrates from their diet completely however, consideration needs to be given to the type (low GI) and quantity of carbohydrates consumed, as this will have a part to play in blood sugar control. Nonetheless, there is evidence to suggest that a low-carb diet is effective for people with Type 2 diabetes as it can lead to weight loss and thus improvements in blood glucose control however, it is not definite whether following a low-carb diet in the long-term is safe or effective in reversing diabetes completely.
What is the recommended daily allowance for carbohydrate and sugar for those with Type 2 diabetes?
In regards to the dietary requirements for Type 2 diabetes, there is no definitive answer—it is best to consume a healthy, balanced diet that is suitable for your specific age group. For the general population, carbohydrates should make up 1/3 of all meals and maximum sugar intake is 30g (7 tsps of sugar). However, for those with Type 2 diabetes, we know that a low GI carbohydrate and high fibre diet is favourable and that the carbohydrates chosen should be wholegrains, fruit, vegetables and legumes. It is the added sugars found in sauces, confectionary goods, low-fat foods, ready meals and fruit juices which those with Type 2 diabetes should be more aware of.
See also: Are Carbs Bad For Me?
What is the personal fat threshold theory?
This hypothesis was put forward by Professor Taylor; his belief is that every individual has their own personal fat threshold (PFT) and therefore determines the amount of fat they can gain before diseases such as fatty liver, insulin resistance and subsequently Type 2 Diabetes develops. His theory supports that the dietary requirements for Type 2 diabetes revolves around losing a substantial amount of weight, this may enable normal blood glucose levels to be reached.
Is it possible for anyone to develop Type 2 diabetes or are there particular risk factors?
Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder, so it is possible for anyone to develop the condition however, as 60-90% of Type 2 diabetes is obesity related, those who are overweight or obese are at greater risk. Nonetheless, age (>40 years), ethnicity (South Asian) and family history are also other factors which can increase the risk.
Is it true that some foods are addictive? How can I curb cravings?
It is the energy dense foods (those high in sugar and fat) that we find more addictive; this is because they provide little nutritional value and have negative effects on our blood sugar levels. The constant rise and fall in our blood sugar levels stimulates hunger and results in craving unhealthy foods. By fueling your body with the right nutrient-rich foods you should not feel the need to constantly snack; ensure that each meal is based around healthy fats, vegetables, lean proteins and wholegrain carbohydrates.
See also: Five Tips on How To Quit Sugar
Do vitamin supplements actually work or is eating a healthy and balanced diet more effective?
In some cases where possible micronutrient deficiencies are apparent (i.e elderly, during pregnancy, those who are vegans or vegetarians or with certain health conditions), then taking a vitamin and mineral supplement is essential and can be effective when consuming the recommended doses. However, it is always preferable to obtain vitamins and minerals from a whole food, balanced diet.
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