As it is Diabetes Week between 9-15 June, we asked our nutritionist to shed some light on the subject with a blog entry…
Diabetes has become a pandemic in the 21st Century, and is one of the biggest issues confronting the developed world today.
Diabetes is a nutritional condition in which the amount of sugar (glucose) in the bloodstream is too high because the body cannot control it properly.
This blood glucose level is normally kept in range by the hormone insulin, produced from the pancreas in β-cells in the ‘islets of langerhans’.
Insulin regulates by allowing glucose to enter cells so it can be used as fuel by the body.
Type I diabetes is often genetic, occurring when the body is unable to produce any insulin and this has to be replaced, usually through insulin injections.
Type II diabetes is when the body is able to make some insulin but not enough, or when the insulin produced does not work properly (called 'insulin resistance').
The aim for both types of diabetes is to achieve and maintain the best possible control of blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol; which will reduce your risk of contraindications in the future.
What you eat or don't eat and your physical activity level are vital in controlling all these factors.
Eating regularly is the main issue, at least every two or three hours to feed your system.
Eat starchy wholegrain carbohydrates with a low glycaemic index (GI) as these are turned into slower releasing sugars in the blood.
Using information on the back of packets you can ‘carb count’ to ensure you only load your body with appropriate amounts of sugar (g) at a time.
If you think you may have Diabetes you should consult a trained professional in nutrition and dietetics.
The most effective treatment for Diabetes is to control blood sugars by your intake and timing of food to reduce hypo and hyperglycaemia.
Monitor this and then work to maintain tight levels between 5.5-8.5mmol/l.