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Dieting with Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes is a common, long-term condition that affects around 3 million people in the UK. The condition exists in two forms and in each form it causes the amount of glucose in the blood to be too high. Insulin is produced in the pancreas and is a vital part of your body that helps glucose enter the cells where it is used as fuel; Type 2 diabetes develops when the pancreas is creating insulin that does not work well in the body or when enough insulin is not being created. Formerly known as Adult-Onset Diabetes, Type 2 diabetes is a condition that can develop in anyone and, in theory, at any time; on the other hand, a person can be born with Type 1 diabetes. It is not yet fully understood why and how a person gets Type 1 diabetes, nor is there any cure for it currently.

Diabetes types

Excessive weight is the leading cause of Type 2 diabetes and this is, of course, linked directly with the UK's rising weight levels with experts suggesting that around 2 thirds of all adults in the UK are either overweight or obese. With this rise in obesity occurring all over the Western world - and some experts point to the correlation between the increase in wages and the increase in BMI as being of vital importance – it is certain that, if there is not a shift in the lifestyle choices that are leading to weight gain, the frequency of Type 2 Diabetes will also increase.

Dieting with diabetes does not have to be difficult and organisations such as the NHS and Diabetes UK do not recommend cutting out any food types or eating foods created specifically for people with diabetes. Instead, most experts agree that dieting with this condition is more a case of ensuring that your meals are nutritious and regular, so that you receive everything that you need for a healthy lifestyle. Eating a balanced diet that includes fruit, vegetables, starch and non-dairy sources of protein and dairy is something that everyone should try and do and it is fine to enjoy treat foods from time to time, but it is important that you recognise and remember that, if you have diabetes, the foods you eat and the physical activities you take part in are a part of your treatment.

Dieting advice and tips

There are some guidelines that are good for those with type 2 diabetes to keep in mind when trying to plan their diets:

  • Eat three regular meals – Some diets suggest avoiding mealtimes as an aid in weight loss, but as a diabetic it is important that you eat regularly to ensure that you take in the nutrients that you need and to help you control glucose levels.
  • Include starch in each meal – Foods with good levels of carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, rice and cereals are important in controlling blood glucose levels although they shouldn't be consumed in excess.
  • Eat less fat – A low fat diet can benefit health and cutting out saturated fats, in particular, is good for your heart. Cutting fat from your diet will allow for weight loss, but is also not likely to have adverse affects on your condition.
  • Eat fruit and vegetables – Fruit and vegetables contain natural sugars and are an excellent alternative to unhealthy foods.
  • Eat more beans and lentils – Kidney beans, butter beans and chickpeas, for example, have little effect on glucose levels and also help to control blood fats. Supplementing foods with them can be an effective way of boosting your nutritional intake whilst helping to control diabetes too.
  • Limit sugar intake – Cutting sugar out completely is not necessary, but it is important that you are careful about the amount of sugar that you take in. Substituting fizzy drinks with the sugar-free variety can be a good way of adding balance to your diet.
  • Drink in moderation – Drinking too much is bad for you, especially if, as someone with diabetes, you regularly drink high-sugar alcohols which can dramatically increase your blood sugar level; additionally, drinking on an empty stomach can make low blood glucose levels more likely to occur when a person is taking some diabetes medications.

Fruits for diabetes

If you have diabetes then the most important thing is for you to carefully manage your diet and nutritional intake – monitoring your blood sugar levels and ensuring that you are digesting the correct amount of glucose is essential. If you struggle with Type 2 Diabetes, then medication may also be prescribed to you. A prescription treatment like Metformin can be an excellent aid in ensuring that you maintain healthy and safe blood glucose levels.

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