Diabetes is a growing problem in the United States. According to research conducted by the American Diabetes Association, in 2015, there were more than 30 million Americans with some form of diabetes. That equates to over 9 percent of the population. Around 84 million Americans were classed as “prediabetic” which means that they are in grave danger of developing diabetes in the next few years.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition which means that the body cannot break down glucose properly for energy and to regulate blood sugar.
There are two main types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetics are people who do not have the ability to produce insulin. Because they can’t make insulin, type 1 diabetics are unable to take glucose out of the bloodstream to supply their cells with energy. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed at a young age.
Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, is a condition that used to be known as adult-onset diabetes. This condition means that the body is able to produce insulin, but that it doesn’t respond to that insulin appropriately, so the pancreas works hard to release insulin to encourage the cells to take up sugar from the bloodstream, but the cells are slow to respond, and blood sugar remains high for longer than it should.
There are other sub-types of diabetes, such as latent autoimmune diabetes, and gestational diabetes, but these are comparatively rare.
Managing Diabetes With Nutrition
The link between diabetes and nutrition is something that people are paying a lot of attention to at the moment. People with Type 1 diabetes have no choice but to take their insulin and monitor their blood sugar closely. There is no known cure for this kind of diabetes, and failure to manage it properly can have serious, potentially life-threatening consequences.
Type 2 diabetes is slightly different because before people are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, they spend some time in a state that is known as pre-diabetes. Being prediabetic means that your blood sugar is higher than normal, but that the condition is not yet serious enough to be classed as diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is diagnosed when a person’s blood sugar reaches a stage where their blood sugar becomes, and remains, dangerously elevated.
Many people with Type 2 diabetes can manage it with lifestyle changes or medication. If the condition is caught early and properly controlled, then they may be able to avoid the need to take insulin. This is good news because monitoring your blood sugar regularly and taking insulin around mealtimes is a lifelong commitment. The consequences of forgetting or making mistakes with dosages are severe.
Can Type 2 Diabetes Be Reversed?
Proper nutrition, regular exercise, and a healthy lifestyle can help people who are prediabetic to avoid developing diabetes. There is no cure for Type 1 diabetes, but it is possible to put Type 2 diabetes into remission, meaning that there is no longer a need to take medications. Not everyone who suffers from diabetes will find that they can reverse their condition, but there is a lot of evidence to suggest that those who are overweight or obese can benefit from weight loss, as long as it is done in a sustainable and sensible way. Changing to a diet that is low in simple carbohydrates could also be beneficial.
Making the lifestyle changes required to control diabetes can be an intimidating task. It’s a good idea to find a diabetes nutritionist in Long Beach that can advise you on what you should be eating, and how much, to ensure that you can support your healthy lifestyle.
Diabetes UK notes that people who lose around 15Kg, or 33lbs, on average, have a high chance of their Type 2 diabetes going into remission. This is good news and an attainable goal for a lot of people, however, the purpose of weight loss should not be taken in isolation. Extreme crash dieting may result in short-term weight loss, but with a high chance of regaining the weight once the diet comes to an end. Instead of crash-dieting, it is best to pay attention to good nutrition. Choose healthful, filling foods that are rich in protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates, and eat the right amount to sustain your body at a healthy weight.
Taking this approach may mean slower weight loss, but encourages healthy behaviors that will last for a lifetime, and has the greatest chance of allowing your body to recover so that you can beat insulin resistance and enjoy many years of health and wellbeing.
Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics need to take nutrition seriously and consider how the foods they eat might impact on their bodies. Diabetes can be controlled, but it is a serious condition and small changes to how you live your life and greatly reduce its impact.