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How to tackle diabetes head on with the right nutrition

Did you know by 2030, it is expected that the number of people suffering from diabetes will rise to 522 million worldwide? Diabetes has been identified as the leading cause of heart disease, stroke, blindness and kidney failure, yet 1 in 2 people still remain undiagnosed. If nothing changes, more than 5 million people here in the UK will be diagnosed with diabetes by 2025.

Although both men and women are susceptible to diabetes, it is men who are more prone to the disease. Those being diagnosed with diabetes tend to be getting younger and younger. This is due to a combination of poor diet choices and lack of exercise. Here in Wales, almost 95,000 have already been diagnosed with diabetes, 90% of those are suffering from Type 2, which in 2 out of 3 cases is a preventable form of the disease.

So, with so many young people suffering from a preventable disease and the number forever increasing, what can we do to stop this? Diet is a huge factor when it comes to preventing Type 2 diabetes and throughout this blog, we are going to look at what the experts recommend and the different diets available to try and kick this disease to the curb.

What is GI?

GI is probably the best place to start. GI (or Glycaemic Index) is a system used to rate how much carbohydrates a certain piece of food contains. The glycaemic index of food will tell you how quickly it will affect your blood sugar level once consumed.

The glycaemic scale runs from 0 to 100 (with 100 being pure glucose). Research has shown that keeping an eye on the GI of your foods can help manage Type 2 diabetes. Foods which are considered to have a low GI rating (55 or below) are slowly absorbed carbohydrates, including most fruit and vegetables, nuts, milk (unsweetened), pulses and some wholegrain breads and cereals.

The table above gives examples of foods which have been given either a low, medium or high GI rating.

But remember, products with a low GI doesn’t necessarily mean they’re healthy. For example, most chocolates have a low GI due to their fat content.

What’s the best diet for those suffering from Type 2 diabetes?

There’s currently so many dietary methods and strategies on the market with the intention to either treat, manage and possibly reverse Type 2 diabetes. We have delved into the most recent data in order to find a common theme and see what the experts have to say…

“Low carb and keto diets for Type 1 and 2 diabetes”

It has been shown that glycaemic control can be regained in those suffering with Type 2 diabetes by eliminating ‘simple carbohydrates’ and by reducing the ‘complex carbohydrate’ intake. Although all diet programmes should be personalised to the individual with the combination of exercise, reducing the intake of complex carbohydrates can help one control their blood sugar level. (Bolla, Caretto and Piemonti, 2019)

“Effects of high protein/low carbohydrate on blood glucose control in Type 2 diabetes”

Research in this area has shown that a ratio of Carbohydrate:Protein:Fat at 20:30:50 is more effective at decreasing and controlling blood sugars over a five week period in Type 2 diabetics. This method has been proven to work best, as opposed to the alternative ratio of 50:15:30 of Carbohydrate:Protein:Fat. (Cannon and Nuttall, 2014)

“Low carbohydrate diet in type 2 diabetes”

Although reducing the amount of carbohydrates in the diet of someone suffering from Type 2 diabetes can be useful when trying to control their blood sugar levels, this should not be done at the expense or nutrition. It must be ensured that other elements are present in the diet, such as fibre to maintain overall health. (Czyewska-Majchrak et al, 2014)

“Controlling obesity and diabetes prevention”

Those with Type 2 diabetes or on the borderline of developing diabetes are recommended to restrict their daily intake of rapidly digestible carbohydrates, which include potatoes, white bread and rice, syrups and sugars. Alternatively, it is recommended to switch to a diet that includes higher quantities of fat, primarily products rich in unsaturated fatty acids.

“Management of Type 2 diabetes”

Evidence from clinical trials have shown vegetarian and Mediterranean dietary patterns may be effective in improving glycaemic control in people suffering from diabetes, although more research in this area is needed.

The common theme throughout the research found is that lowering the intake of carbohydrate in the diet will allow someone who is suffering from Type 2 diabetes the ability to control their glucose levels. As there is a great portion of the UK suffering with this preventable disease, there is a place in the market for nutritious foods to support those dealing with the diagnosis.

If this topic is of interest and you would like further information as to how we could support you, get in contact with us!

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