Healthy Eating For People With Diabetes

Temuco, Chile(Zone 9b)

What is Type 2 diabetes

(Information from The Garvan Institute, Australia).
As an Australian Dietitian I do receive information and news regarding research in differents areas and I am sharing some with you, so you, as a pre diabetic or newly diagnosed type2, can understand better this "Dis_ Ease" as I do call diabetes type 2.

Type 2 diabetic is considered a ‘modern lifestyle’ disease, often associated with inactivity and obesity. Commonly referred to as ‘mature onset’, it is usually diagnosed in people over 45 years of age, but is increasingly being noted in younger people. As the obesity epidemic hits the Western world, the cases of teenagers developing type 2 diabetes are becoming alarmingly frequent.

In 2003, the countries with most people with diabetes were: India (35.5 million), China (23.8 million), the United States (16 million), Russia (9.7 million) and Japan (6.7 million).

There are approximately half a million people with diagnosed diabetes in Australia and many more who are undiagnosed. In the last 20 years, the number of Australians diagnosed with diabetes has trebled and 275 people develop diabetes every day.

At least three quarters of the estimated 150 million diabetics world-wide are type 2 and the World Health Organisation expects numbers to double to over 300 million by 2025.

What are the causes and symptoms?

Type 2 diabetes occurs because some people cannot respond normally to the insulin they make (unlike type 1 diabetes which is characterised by the body not producing enough insulin). This results in high concentrations of glucose in the blood, which can damage many of the body’s systems, especially blood vessels and nerves.

Insulin is an important hormone made in the human pancreas – a small organ that sits close to the intestine. Insulin regulates the body’s use of glucose (sugar), which is one of our major energy sources. Insulin is particularly important after we eat a meal when glucose enters the blood stream from the intestine. The elevation in blood glucose at this time triggers the release of insulin from the pancreas. Insulin then travels through the blood and assists the transfer of glucose from blood into cells so it can be used for energy.

There is now evidence of an underlying genetic predisposition for type 2 diabetes, with some genes consistently associated with an increased risk of developing the condition. The inability of the body to utilise glucose (insulin resistance) is strongly correlated with waist measurements and abdominal fat levels. Garvan Research shows that fat directly around organs in the stomach, rather than fat under the skin, is a major risk factor. If left untreated, diabetes can cause serious long-term complications including kidney disease retina damage, cardiovascular disease and nerve damage, often resulting in amputation.

You are in a high-risk category of developing type 2 diabetes if you fit any of the following criteria:

* Over 45 years of age, overweight and/or have a high blood pressure
* Over 45 years of age and have a family member with diabetes
* Have heart disease or have suffered a heart attack
* Have/had high blood glucose levels or have impaired glucose tolerance
* Have/had gestational diabetes
* Are overweight (i.e. have a Body Mass Index higher than 25)

Type 2 diabetes develops gradually, so sometimes symptoms often go unnoticed. These may include frequent urination, thirst, blurred vision, skin infections, slow healing, tingling and numbness in the feet. Sometimes no symptoms are noticed at all or the individual assumes that they are part of the normal ageing process. Either a Fasting Blood Glucose (FBG) or Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) ordered by a doctor, are used to make a diagnosis.

What treatments are available?

Through research we now know that there are many genes involved in the development of type 2 diabetes and they may trigger the disease ONLY IF THERE IS A STRONG ENVIROMENTAL INFLUENCE.

At the present time, researchers are conducting a series of DNA studies on human abdominal fat samples to find the key genes involved in the body’s inability to process glucose (insulin resistance). There are proteins in our cells that receive and transmit messages to and from other cells, scientists isolated & showed that one of these proteins PKC (= Protein kinase C ) is a key player in regulating removal of glucose from the blood. When PKC is blocked, the body is protected against the development of a prediabetic condition, despite fat consumption and low levels of physical activity.

Now is me, the dietitian:

Healthy eating will help to control blood glucose level, blood fat level (cholesterol and triglycerides), blood pressure and body weight. Diabetes is a lifelong condition that need a lifestyle change. Good eating habits and increasing exercise level long term is essential.

The Overall Dietary Principles For Diabetes Include:
1. Having regular meals and snacks over the day. 3 meals and 3 small snacks is ideal.
2. Selecting a variety of foods from different food groups. These would include cereals, fruit and vegetable, low fat dairy products and lean meat fish or chicken.
3. Avoiding saturated fats found in animal foods like full cream milk, meat, butter and cheese as well as palm oil and coconut products.
4. Taking moderate amounts of unsaturated fats like olive, sunflower oil, mono or polyunsaturated margarines, oily fish, avocado and seeds and nuts.
5. Prefer carbohydrate foods that contain lots of dietary fibre and are the type that result in a slow and gradual rise in blood glucose levels. These are said to have a low glycemic index. Great selections include wholegrain breads, high fibre breakfast cereals, pasta and noodles, basmati rice, legumes such as baked beans, vegetables and low fat milk and yogurt.
6. Being aware that some sugar can be included in a healthy eating plan as part of a high fibre food (eg on cereal). It is not recommended that sweets, lollies and standard soft drinks as well as high fat baked food with added sugar be eaten regularly.
7. Selecting low salt commercial products and not adding salt at the table.
8. Alcohol only in moderation. If you have to, try to keep to 2 standard drinks per day for women and 4 for men and have at least 2 alcohol free days a week.

This message was edited Dec 16, 2009 9:17 PM

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