Suggest ways to manage diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is not caused by eating
this is a common misconception. Diabetes is not caused by eating too many carbohydrates. Some people (non-diabetic) may eat all the carbohydrates they can get and still have their blood glucose under control. Others may adopt a healthy lifestyle and have a sky high blood glucose if they don't take antidiabetic drugs.
Patients with type 2 diabetes may have:
- less insulin production
- insulin resistance
When someone is first diagnosed as a type 2 diabetic patient it is possible that insulin production is even greater compared to a healthy individual but insulin resistance is high.
After some years the body's capability to produce insulin may diminish to the extent that supplemental insulin is necessary to maintain an acceptable level of blood glucose.
At any stage during the course of type 2 diabetes eating the 'good' carbs lessens the load on the pancreas (the organ that produces insulin) and makes insulin regulation much easier.
When eating, blood glucose levels start to rise and insulin secretion occurs. In type 2 diabetics insulin secretion may be slower than required, leading to a higher blood glucose.
'Good' carbohydrates ingestion cause a slower rise in blood glucose level, thus reducing the amount of the required insulin.
'Bad' carbohydrates are most of the simple sugars (glucose, sucrose etc) and some processed sugars. You can find them in pastries, white bread and processed food. Most complex carbohydrates are better for blood glucose regulation. They can be found in fruits, vegetables, unprocessed whole grains etc.
The glycemic index is an interesting parameter in diabetes. It means how fast the blood glucose is raised after the ingestion of a specified amount and type of food. A high glycemic index means that blood glucose rises really fast.
Let me give you an example. If you eat an orange your blood glucose will rise slower than drinking orange juice (made at home) and much slower than drinking an orange containing refreshment. All of the above are made from oranges but they have a different effect on blood glucose.
I hope this complex subject is a bit more clear to you now!
If you have any more questions, please ask again.
What should my blood sugar level be and can I do anything to lower it if it is high?
Healthy lifestyle is the answer!
Preventing diabetes means adopting a healthy lifestyle. This is not only about carbohydrates. You've got to
- maintain a healthy body weight
- prefer healthy calories
- exercise regularly
Let me explain some of the above in more detail.
Healthy calories: avoid fatty meals, eat a lot of fiber (if not contraindicated by other medical conditions), eat a moderate portion of food. Examples of food you should try to avoid: pies, cakes, visible fat on the meat, delicious sauces but full of fat etc. Eat fruits, vegetables etc every day. Red meat less than once a week. Poultry a couple of times per week. Eat fish at least twice a week. Prefer olive oil for cooking. Avoid fried food. If you drink alcohol then keep it to a single glass of wine per day.
- exercise: 30 minutes of fast walking every day or every other day is very beneficial. If you already do more than that then you should continue doing it.
The normal (fasting) blood sugar ranges from 75 to 99 mg/dL.
If your blood sugar is higher than that then
- if it is <126 you should have an oral glucose tolerance test to check for "hidden diabetes".
- if is 126 or more then you probably have diabetes and you need treatment.
In either case you should consult your doctor or ask me again for advice.
Of course I'll be available if you need me to clarify any of the above.
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