Diet and Diabetes

By Nutritionist Stephanie Mirich

Each day we hear more and more about the dangers of Diabetes. But what is it exactly? Most importantly, why should we be‘aware’?

Diabetes is a chronic disease where high levels of insulin in the blood can affect the individual’s health drastically. In short, we use insulin (produced by the pancreas), to control blood sugar. Blood sugar, or glucose is what we use as a source of fuel for our body. In return, the pancreas makes insulin, whose job it is to remove glucose from the blood and get it into where it will be used as fuel. This is where, for those with Diabetes, life can get difficult. People with Diabetes have difficulty moving blood sugar into the necessary places. Either their pancreas doesn’t produce the needed amount of insulin, or their cells don’t respond to the insulin.

There are two types of diabetes:

• Type 1 diabetes occurs in mostly children and young adults. In this instance, the body makes hardly any insulin, and therefore daily injections are needed.
• Type 2 diabetes is what we see in most people. It is prevalent in adults mostly, and unfortunately many don’t know they have it.

Diabetes means more than just annoying injections and watching sugar intake. Average symptoms include excess thirst, dizziness, and frequent urination and can later lead to gout, amputation, and even death.

So how do you avoid this misery? Easy…PREVENTION. Since there are no true medical cures for Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes, the only thing one can do is to live a healthy lifestyle and keep an eye out for early symptoms. Of course, eliminating fatty, fried and processed foods can help to keep the disease from developing, there’s a bit more to it.

By using The Glycemic Index, diabetes sufferers can choose foods that are healthy and beneficial to them. Foods high in sugar are associated with a high glycemic index, and should therefore be avoided or eaten in moderation. Of course, on the other side, most foods with a low glycemic will of course be more fibrous and rich, but fats are also a part of this category, so it is important to know what you are putting into your body at all times.

Creating a meal plan for patients with diabetes is essential. It takes the guesswork out of eating, and can help people reach realistic and healthy weight loss goals. Fiber-rich foods, fish, fruits, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates (brown rice, legumes, whole grains) can reduce and even eliminate diabetes in some circumstances. So, even though you can reverse the damage that diabetes inflicts on the body by welcoming a healthier lifestyle, prevention is always your best defense against the disease.