Archive for December, 2011

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes

Here are some disturbing statistics related to diabetes. Type 2 diabetes accounts for approximately 90% of all diabetes cases.

“The number of people diagnosed with and dying from diabetes continues on a relentlessly upward trajectory, with no signs of abating”. This statement was made by officials at the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) 47th Annual Meeting (Sept 2011).

Ann Keeling, CEO of the International Diabetes Federation, describes diabetes as a global catastrophe!!

So, what are the latest stats for diabetes?

In 2003 there were 150 million people worldwide with diabetes and it was predicted that by 2025 there would be 300 million. Well guess what, as alarming as that prediction was at the time, it was nothing compared to the reality. In 2011 there are already 366 million people worldwide with diabetes. This is a 30% increase on the 2010 figure of 285 million. This year 4.6 million deaths will be attributed to diabetes.  This means one person will die from diabetes every 7 seconds!

What causes type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is largely a lifestyle disease. The current statistics for diabetes are very alarming and personally I find them very disturbing because I know that in the majority of cases type 2 diabetes can be prevented with the correct lifestyle and diet. I also believe that it can be reversed if appropriate changes are made.

Obesity is a major risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes. It is no wonder we are seeing such an astronomical increase in the incidence of type 2 diabetes when we consider the explosion in the number of people who are overweight or obese.

Genetics play a role but only a small one. The condition will not develop without the adverse impact of environmental factors such as diet and lifestyle.

What can be done for type 2 diabetes?

Nutrients and herbs

There are many nutrients that are essential for the maintenance of healthy blood sugar levels and normal glucose metabolism. These include chromium, magnesium, many of the B Complex vitamins and others. A diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates can deplete the body of these essential nutrients. Alcohol, caffeine and excessive fluid loss will also cause significant losses of these nutrients.

Many herbs can be very beneficial for reducing sugar and carbohydrate cravings, improving the way the body metabolises sugar, improving fat loss and improving blood sugar levels. Many are also beneficial for reducing the unhealthy factors associated with diabetes including high cholesterol and triglycerides, high blood pressure and circulatory problems.

These nutrients and herbs are often prescribed to kick start the process of weight loss and make it easier for you to embark on a healthy eating regime without having to battle cravings for fat producing foods. The actual prescription for each individual may be slightly different because individual metabolism, health needs and preferences are taken into account.

The use of natural medicines is not a substitute for a healthy life style

You can take control of the situation easily and quickly. If you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome, which often precedes type 2 diabetes, you can improve your health significantly by making the appropriate dietary and lifestyle changes.

  • Fat loss is of major importance. Even if you are slim, you could be carrying a little extra weight around the middle. This can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. As little as 5 to 10% weight loss can make a big difference.
  • Exercise not only helps with fat loss it also helps transport glucose into the cells. Regular moderate exercise is fundamental to good health. It should always be something you enjoy and should suit your age, statue and capabilities. A combination of cardio and resistance is best.
  • The food you eat has a huge impact on your health. It will improve or damage your health depending on what you eat and how it is prepared.
  • Eat lots of fresh vegetables, avoiding too much of the high starch vegetables such as potatoes and corn. In summer salads are great, or you can steam, stir fry or bake your vegetables. Aim at 3 cups per day and if you eat more that’s great.
  • Fruit is good but should be eaten in moderation (2 to 3 pieces per day) because it is high in natural sugars.It is a good idea to combine a piece of fresh fruit with a few nuts eg almonds (only a 3 or 4). This slows down the absorption of the sugars in the fruit and gives you a more even blood glucose and energy curve. Minimise the very sweet, starchy fruits such as bananas.
  • Protein is important for improving muscle mass, particularly in conjunction with moderate exercise. Fish, lean meat, free range chicken and eggs and low fat dairy products are good sources of animal protein. The main vegetable sources of protein are the legumes such as chick peas (in homus), lentils, red kidney beans, adzuki beans, soy beans and related products such as tofu and tempah. Nuts, seeds and grains also provide some protein. Non-animal sources of protein do not contain all the essential amino acids, so vegetarians need to have a wide variety of these foods every day in order to obtain enough complete protein.
  • Avoid processed foods. These are often loaded with sugar and/or fat and are a source of empty kilojoules that do nothing to improve your health. They encourage overeating, make you feel sluggish and are a major cause of excessive weight gain.
  • Foods that have a low Glycaemic Index (GI) are beneficial providing they are healthy! Many foods that are marketed as low GI are not healthy and will not help you lose weight eg ice cream, chocolate spreads.
  • Glycaemic Load (GL) is also a consideration. It is determined not only by the GI of the food but the size of the total meal. The higher the glycaemic load the higher your blood sugar will be.

Simply by eating correctly and partaking in regular moderate exercise you stand a good chance of preventing type 2 diabetes, or reversing it if it already exists.

 

 

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