Updated: Nov 8, 2020
Overview Diabetes is a chronic health condition caused by a disruption in glucose metabolism, simply put... problems with removing the sugar from the blood. Our body turns carbohydrate and sugar into glucose during the digestive process. The glucose enters the blood stream to deliver it to most of the cells in the body - ONLY - in the presence of a hormone called insulin. Insulin works in the same way as a key, it unlocks the door to the cells so that glucose can enter, there is can work it's magic in providing us with the energy we need to function.
Blood sugar goes up naturally following a meal of snack (as carbohydrates are typically eaten) and then goes back down shortly after, once insulin has done its job. Depending on the type of diabetes, insulin production is either limited or absent, meaning the glucose remains in the blood unable to enter the cells. The effects of long lasting high blood sugar can be very destructive for the body, causing many medical and psychological problems.
Signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes often develop slowly. In fact, you can have type 2 diabetes for years and not know it.
Unintended weight loss
Areas of darkened skin, usually in the armpits and neck
Diabetic patients, on the other hand, have one or two compromised functions:
Insulin deficiency (mainly type 1 diabetes)
Cellular resistance to insulin (mainly type 2 diabetes)
While the treatment for different types of diabetes varies slightly, all patients can tremendously benefit from healthy dietary choices.
This article will cover some of the dietary choices that have been proven to improve blood sugar levels.
Dietary choices suitable for diabetes
Low carbohydrate diet
Restrict highly processed food
Low glycemic food choices
If your overweight aim to loss at least 5% of body fat
Lifestyle changes including good sleep pattern, stress reduction, exercise
If you are seeking to improve your lifestyle to manage blood sugars to improve your diabetes management then get in touch with Core Nutrition Specialists HERE.
Core Nutrition Specialist are dedicated to your health and wellbeing. Our specialist dietitians, holistic mind and body therapists, mental health professional and personal trainer can offer one, or a combination of services to help you gain back control of your life.
The paleo diet In a 2016 study, 32 diabetic participants were started on a paleo diet for 12 weeks. At the end of the study, all participants lost weight. However, what’s fascinating is that other benefits were documented, including better glycemic control, enhanced lipid metabolism, increased insulin sensitivity, and the up regulation of hunger-suppressing hormones ghrelin and leptin.
Another study published in 2009 focused on Haemoglobin A1c and cardiovascular risk factors. 13 participants followed the paleo diet for 3 months, and at the end of the study, Hb A1c significantly decreased.
Researchers concluded their study by stating that “a Paleolithic diet improved glycemic control and several cardiovascular risk factors compared to a Diabetes diet in patients with type 2 diabetes.”
Fish oil Fish oil is extremely healthy for the body as it reduces inflammation and oxidative stress while regulating blood sugar levels.
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids (types of fish oil) also contribute to weight loss. In a 2010 study, researchers recruited 46 participants who were given fish oil for 6 weeks. After finishing the study, participants lost 0.5 kilograms and had improved blood sugar levels.
Researchers attributed this finding to the lower blood cortisol level - a stress hormone (read my article on stress and diet), which is responsible for activating fat storing metabolic pathways and hyperglycaemia.
Green leafy vegetables Several scientific papers support the positive effects of green leafy vegetable on glycemia. Veggies such as kale, spinach, and broccoli are all loaded in antioxidants and fibre. Both of these substances help in the regulation of blood sugar levels. In one study, researchers found that eating one and a half servings of green leafy vegetables per day reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes by 14%
Conclusion Diabetes is a challenging condition to deal with, especially in patients who are not compliant with their treatment and healthy life choices.
Hopefully, this article managed to emphasise the importance of diet for diabetic patients and how simple changes in your food intake could make a big difference in the prognosis.
If you want to learn more about nutrition, diet, and anything related to disease prevention, you can reach out to me by clicking on this link.