Diabetes is a medical disorder which is characterized by hyperglycemia or high blood sugar levels. This is usually due to problems with the secretion of insulin, the hormone responsible for controlling blood sugar levels within the body. The two main forms of the condition - Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes. In both cases diet is a key factor in the treatment of diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed very early on in life and is caused by a genetic fault which affects the bodys ability to secret insulin. Most people with Type 1 diabetes have to take daily insulin injections. Diet is very important for these people as a means of controlling their diabetes however dietary change cannot prevent Type 1 Diabetes from occurring.
The number of cases of Type 2 Diabetes has increased drastically in recent years. It is often referred to as Adult Onset Diabetes and occurs later in life. It is strongly associated with increased body mass and obesity, and the risk of developing this disease can be greatly reduced through dietary monitoring, weight reduction and exercise.
Uncontrolled or untreated diabetes has many risks, which can be life threatening. Such complications include cardiovascular disease, chronic renal failure, and retinal and nerve damage. Therefore it is clear that seeking treatment of diabetes, in addition to general advice on living with the condition is very important. Proper diet, medication and lifestyle changes can keep diabetes under control.
The risks of developing Type 2 Diabetes can be greatly reduced with a few easy-to-make lifestyle changes. It has been proved that wrong eating habits, obesity, lack of exercise, bad habits like stress all contribute to causing Type 2 diabetes. The Harvard Medical School associate, the Joslin Diabetes Center has noted that at least 10 million Americans who are at high risk for Type 2 diabetes can lower their chances of getting the disease with diet and exercise. This has been proved over again in subsequent studies.
Eating sugar and refined carbohydrates does not cause diabetes, however a high intake of these foods may contribute significantly towards weight gain - which is responsible for diabetes. Achieving and maintaining an ideal body weight as an important step in the prevention and treatment of diabetes.
A reduction in both simple sugars and the intake of simple carbohydrates is ultimately beneficial in the treatment of diabetes. This means reducing white bread, simple cereals, juices and high-sugar beverages. Complex carbohydrates like whole grain pasta, breads, pulses and basmati rice should be eaten in preference - portion size is still important though.
Carbohydrates should be spread through the day, with a small to moderate portion at each meal. Proteins assist in building muscle tone and repairing cells; however some protein-containing foods are high in fat such as meat. Therefore keep protein portions to around the size of your fist, and take 1 portion with each meal. Choose lean options such as fish, eggs, tofu and lean meat.
An overall reduction in fat intake is important in both the prevention and treatment of diabetes. Identify the harmful and good fats in your diet and make the appropriate changes. Trans fats, found in many processed foods, are the most harmful. Saturated animal fat found in meat and dairy also contributes to boosting your cholesterol. Monounsaturated fats such as olive, peanut and canola oils have protective effects - so use these as your oil of choice. Avocadoes and nuts also contain monounsaturated fats. Drinking plenty of water is essential to wash away the toxins from the body.
A good fruit and vegetable intake is crucial in the treatment of diabetes. These items contain an array of anti oxidant vitamins as well as different types of fibers that help to stabilize blood sugars. Of course fruit contains some natural sugar (fructose) so if you have been diagnosed with diabetes you need to ensure you spread it throughout the day and stick to around 3 portions.
Exercise is crucial in preventing diabetes - both from the point of view of regulating weight and in preventing insulin resistance (which can occur prior to the development of diabetes). Jogging, swimming, tennis or joining a gym are all recommended but failing that just try to ensure you walk as much as possible each day.
There are some natural remedies available for the treatment of diabetes like fenugreek seeds, onion and garlic, margosa or neem extracts (azadirachta indica - a subtropical tree) and bitter melon or bitter gourd extracts. Such remedies have no proven efficacy however and should not replace prescribed medication for diabetes control.