Type 2 diabetes is often treated with oral medication because many people with this type of diabetes make some insulin on their own. The pills people take to control type 2 diabetes do not contain insulin. Instead, medications such as metformin, sulfonylureas, alpha-glucosidase inhibitors and many others are used to make the insulin that the body still produces more effective.
Type 2 diabetes can lead to a number of complications such as kidney, nerve, and eye damage, as well as cardiovascular disease. It also means cells are not receiving the glucose they need for healthy functioning. A calculation called a HOMA Score (Homeostatic Model Assessment) can tell doctors the relative proportion of these factors for an individual with type 2 diabetes. Good glycemic control (that is, keeping sugar/carbohydrate intake low so blood sugar isn't high) can prevent long-term complications of type 2 diabetes. A diet for people with type 2 diabetes also is referred to as a diabetic diet for type 2 diabetes and medical nutrition therapy (MNT) for people with diabetes.
It’s best to get fiber from food. But if you can’t get enough, then taking fiber supplements can help. Examples include psyllium, methylcellulose, wheat dextrin, and calcium polycarbophil. If you take a fiber supplement, increase the amount you take slowly. This can help prevent gas and cramping. It’s also important to drink enough liquids when you increase your fiber intake.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) advocates for a healthy diet with an emphasis on balancing energy intake with exercise. Historically, they have advocated for the majority of calories coming from complex carbohydrates from whole grains such as whole-grain bread and other whole-grain cereal products and a decreased intake of total fat with most of it coming from unsaturated fat.
Although support groups aren't for everyone, they can be good sources of information. Group members often know about the latest treatments and tend to share their own experiences or helpful information, such as where to find carbohydrate counts for your favorite takeout restaurant. If you're interested, your doctor may be able to recommend a group in your area.
Salmon is a type 2 diabetes superfood because salmon is a great source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. There are differences in the fatty acids in wild vs. farmed salmon. This is because of what the fish eat. Wild salmon eat smaller fish and live in colder waters, which causes them to develop a higher ratio of anti-inflammatory omega-3s to saturated fats in their meat. Farmed fish are up to 10 times higher in persistent organic pollutants, antibiotics, and other contaminants. These harmful chemicals are pro-inflammatory and have been associated with increased risk of cancer and heart disease.
Hemoglobin A1c or HbA1c is a protein on the surface of red blood cells. The HbA1c test is used to monitor blood sugar levels in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes over time. Normal HbA1c levels are 6% or less. HbA1c levels can be affected by insulin use, fasting, glucose intake (oral or IV), or a combination of these and other factors. High hemoglobin A1c levels in the blood increases the risk of microvascular complications, for example, diabetic neuropathy, eye, and kidney disease.
Carry a Rescue Snack: Going too long without eating can lead to dips in blood sugar, sometimes called “lows”, which create unpleasant symptoms, including ravenous hunger. This often leads to poor food choices, since we’re more focused on eating anything in sight, even if it’s not healthy. Rather than getting to this point, keep a healthy snack with you throughout the day in case you get stuck somewhere you didn’t plan at a mealtime. A balanced snack will combine a nutritious carb or veggie + source of protein or healthy fat.The chart below provides portable options you can mix and match to your tastes:
It had been about a year since Akua Jitahadi felt like herself. But she was 51 and expected menopause to kick in soon. Plus, she and her daughter had just moved to oppressively hot Arizona. So she brushed off the tired, sluggish feeling as a side effect of being a middle-aged woman adjusting to sweltering temps. And then, overnight, her vision dimmed. Something was most definitely wrong.
Every single part of the body just starts to rot. This is precisely why type 2 diabetes, unlike virtually any other disease, affects every part of our body. Every organ suffers the long term effects of the excessive sugar load. Your eyes rot – and you go blind. Your kidneys rot – and you need dialysis. You heart rots – and you get heart attacks and heart failure. Your brain rots – and you get Alzheimers disease. Your liver rots – and you get fatty liver disease. Your legs rot – and you get diabetic foot ulcers. Your nerves rot – and you get diabetic neuropathy. No part of your body is spared.
Diabetes mellitus (DM) was first recognized as a disease around 3000 years ago by the ancient Egyptians and Indians, illustrating some clinical features very similar to what we now know as diabetes.1 DM is a combination of two words, “diabetes” Greek word derivative, means siphon - to pass through and the Latin word “mellitus” means honeyed or sweet. In 1776, excess sugar in blood and urine was first confirmed in Great Britain.2,3 With the passage of time, a widespread knowledge of diabetes along with detailed etiology and pathogenesis has been achieved. DM is defined as “a metabolic disorder characterized by hyperglycemia resulting from either the deficiency in insulin secretion or the action of insulin.” The poorly controlled DM can lead to damage various organs, especially the eyes, kidney, nerves, and cardiovascular system.4 DM can be of three major types, based on etiology and clinical features. These are DM type 1 (T1DM), DM type 2 (T2DM), and gestational DM (GDM). In T1DM, there is absolute insulin deficiency due to the destruction of β cells in the pancreas by a cellular mediated autoimmune process. In T2DM, there is insulin resistance and relative insulin deficiency. GDM is any degree of glucose intolerance that is recognized during pregnancy. DM can arise from other diseases or due to drugs such as genetic syndromes, surgery, malnutrition, infections, and corticosteroids intake.5-7
Including a variety of carbohydrate-containing foods is important; options can include whole grains (≥ 3 grams of fiber per serving), fruits, starchy vegetables and dairy. All meals should include a carbohydrate source, protein and a fruit or a vegetable to help stabilize blood glucose levels and meet an individual’s nutrient needs. An example may be grilled chicken, sweet potato and roasted asparagus.
Metformin is likely effective for as long as 10 years, based on long-term follow-up of patients in the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP). In this trial, investigators randomized 3234 at-risk patients to 3 groups: metformin 850 mg twice daily; lifestyle modification (7% weight loss, 150 minutes of physical activity per week, and a one-to-one 16-lesson curriculum covering diet, exercise, and behavior modification); or placebo.4 At a mean 2.8-year follow-up, the incidence of diabetes was 31% lower in the metformin group (95% confidence interval [CI], 17%-43%) and 58% lower in the lifestyle modification group than in the placebo group (95% CI, 48%-66%; P<.001 for both comparisons).
There are two main tips I tell people to help control their type two diabetes. First of all, start the day with a breakfast with some complex carbohydrates AND some lean protein! Many people make the mistake of skipping breakfast or eating a higher sugar one which starts the day off on the wrong foot. Aim for complex carbohydrates such as oatmeal, fruit, whole grain toast or high fiber English muffins paired with lean protein such as peanut butter, eggs, or Greek yogurt.
According to American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommendations, it may be appropriate for people with type 2 diabetes whose A1Cs are close to target to manage diabetes with lifestyle changes alone for three to six months—provided their doctor deems them "highly motivated." If that doesn't work, metformin is typically the first in a long list of type 2 blood glucose–lowering medications to add to the diet and exercise plan.
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The main kinds of carbohydrates are starches, sugars, and fiber. Learn which foods have carbohydrates. This will help with meal planning so that you can keep your blood sugar in your target range. Not all carbohydrates can be broken down and absorbed by your body. Foods with more non-digestable carbohydrates, or fiber, are less likely to increase your blood sugar out of your goal range. These include foods such as beans and whole grains.
While some people attempt to manage their type 2 diabetes with diet and exercise alone, this may not work for everyone. In fact, though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 16 percent of people with diabetes don't take medication, the majority of people with diabetes require insulin or oral meds at some point, often at diagnosis.
Treat yourself as you would a good friend who is struggling with a lifestyle change. You would be supportive and encouraging – a slip is not the end of it all. Sometimes it’s OK to indulge in a treat, but don’t feel guilty – enjoy it to the fullest – then get back on track. It’s OK to sit and read a book one day – just try to not make it the normal thing to do. I realized this morning when I had breakfast with a friend who is struggling with weight loss and I saw that the biggest difference was our attitude. She was moaning about how hard it was to lose and what she couldn’t eat and how much she had to work out, instead of looking at the fact that she has lost 20 pounds! That said, it’s not always easy to be positive, but all I really need to do is look back 4 months and I know I am making a difference.”
Control portions and eat smaller meals. Consuming generous portions and large meals requires your pancreas to work harder to secrete the needed insulin to bring your blood sugar down. The extra calories consumed due to sizeable portions and large meals also makes it harder for you to lose weight which is usually necessary for better blood sugar control.
While diabetes is characterized by high blood sugar values, type 2 diabetes is also associated with a condition known as insulin resistance. Even though there is an element of impaired insulin secretion from the beta cells of the pancreas, especially when toxic levels of glucose occur (when blood sugars are constantly very high), the major defect in type 2 diabetes is the body's inability to respond properly to insulin.
When incorporating fiber rich foods in your diet, which helps with blood sugar control – remember to stay hydrated with enough daily water intake. Drink water with meals and snacks and keep a water bottle with you to take sips throughout the day. Staying well hydrated helps with regularity and promotes blood sugar control. Aim for 60-100 fluid ounces per day.
Birth weight: There is a relationship between birth weight and developing diabetes, and it's the opposite of what one might intuitively think. The lower the birth weight, the higher the risk of type 2 diabetes. At the other end of the spectrum, a very high birth weight (over 8.8 pounds or 4 kg) also is associated with an increased risk. Additionally, mothers of infants who had a higher birth weight (over 9 pounds) are at increased risk for developing diabetes.
In reality, when people in a study followed the Paleolithic diet, it turned out the diet was lower in total energy, energy density, carbohydrates, dietary glycemic load, fiber, saturated fatty acids, and calcium; but higher in unsaturated fatty acids (good fats), dietary cholesterol, and several vitamins and minerals. Research also demonstrates that people with diabetes are less hungry, have more stable blood sugar, and feel better with lower carbohydrate diets.
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Although kids and teens might be able to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes by managing their weight and increasing physical activity, other risk factors for type 2 diabetes can't be changed. Kids with one or more family members with type 2 diabetes have an increased risk for the disease, and some ethnic and racial groups are more likely to developing it.
The COACH Program® provided by Diabetes Tasmania, is a free telephone coaching service for people at risk of or diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. It provides people with the opportunity to work with a coach (health professional) to understand, manage and improve their health in particular around the risk factors associated with diabetes and its complications.
Eat Slower: Once we start eating, it takes about 15 to 20 minutes for our bodies to realize we are full. Eating too fast can lead to overeating, which can lead to a spike in blood sugar and/or weight gain…which can lead to greater insulin resistance. Consciously aim to eat slowly – give yourself at least 15 minutes – especially if you start a meal very hungry. If you are a fast eater or do not have a lot of time, eat 50% to 75% of your planned portion and then wait 10 to 15 minutes (call a friend, work a little, take a walk, anything). If you are still hungry, then eat half of what’s left. Repeat until you are satisfied, not stuffed. Pay attention to how much food it actually takes to make you full so if you are in a pinch, you can make sure your eyes don’t become bigger than your stomach.
I recommend for my patients to eat a variety of foods when managing Diabetes Type 2 with diet. I particularly encourage patients to include protein from a variety of sources, fiber, and vegetables or fruit with each meal. Including small portions of many food groups with each meal ensures that patients’ bodies are being healthfully fueled and they will often feel more satisfied with their meals preventing overeating and grazing throughout the day.
Two large studies - one in Finland and the other one U.S. (the Diabetes Prevention Program- DPP) have shown the benefit of weight loss in diabetes prevention. In the Finnish study, more than 500 men and women with impaired glucose tolerance were assigned to a control group or an exercise/weight loss group. By the end of the study, the weight loss group had lost about 8 pounds, and the control group about 2 pounds. The weight loss group had significantly less participants develop diabetes than the control group.
In fact, in a study published in the German journal Naturheilpraxis mit Naturalmedizin (Naturopathic Practice with Natural Medicine) the dry concentrated bark extract of Hintonia latiflora—combined with additional nutrients— significantly lowered HgBA1C values (average levels of blood sugar), fasting glucose levels (blood sugar before a meal) and postprandial (after eating) blood sugar levels.
In recent times in Saudi Arabia, food choices, size of portions and sedentary lifestyle have increased dramatically that resulted in high risk of obesity. Unfortunately, many Saudis are becoming more obese because of the convenience of fast foods, and this adds to the scary diabetes statistics.45 On the other hand, Saudis drink too many high-sugar drinks. In addition, Backman46 reported dietary knowledge to be a significant factor that influences dietary behaviors. In another study conducted by Savoca and Miller47 stated that patients’ food selection and dietary behaviors may be influenced by the strong knowledge about diabetic diet recommendations. Significant positive relationship was observed between knowledge regarding diabetic diet and the amount of calorie needs (r = 0.27, p < 0.05).48 The study concluded that knowledge regarding diabetic diet is essential and is needed to achieve better dietary behaviors. Results of study conducted in Saudi Arabia25 reported that more than half of the diabetic patients denied modifying their dietary pattern, reduction in weight and perform exercise.
You may feel fine, but that is no guarantee that your blood sugar levels are in the target range. Remember, diabetic complications do not appear right away. And complications may develop even when the blood sugar is only slightly elevated. Regular blood sugar monitoring can help you keep your blood sugars in control and prevent serious damage to your eyes, kidneys and nerves. If your sugar levels are out of line, consult your doctor.
In conclusion, effective lifestyle modifications including counseling on weight loss, adoption of a healthy dietary pattern like the Mediterranean diet, together with physical activity are the cornerstone in the prevention of type-2 diabetes. Therefore, emphasis must be given to promoting a healthier lifestyle and finding solutions in order to increase adherence and compliance to the lifestyle modifications, especially for high-risk individuals. Results from epidemiological studies and clinical trials evaluating the role of the Mediterranean dietary pattern regarding the development and treatment of type-2 diabetes indicate the protective role of this pattern. As a result, promoting adherence to the Mediterranean diet is of considerable public health importance as this dietary pattern, apart from its various health benefits, is tasty and easy to follow in the long-term. Diet is an important aspect in the management of a diabetic patient. The diabetic healthcare provider and the patient should understand the basic dietary needs of the patient. In this form, there may be plenty of insulin in the bloodstream, but the cells are resistant to it. Glucose cannot easily get into the cells, and it backs up in the bloodstream. Over the short run, people with uncontrolled diabetes may experience fatigue, thirst, frequent urination, and blurred vision. In the long run, they are at risk for heart disease, kidney problems, disorders of vision, nerve damage, and other difficulties.
When the insulin levels are unable to keep up with the increasing resistance, blood sugars rise and your doctor diagnoses you with type 2 diabetes and starts you on a pill, such as metformin. But metformin does not get rid of the sugar. Instead, it simply takes the sugar from the blood and rams it back into the liver. The liver doesn’t want it either, so it ships it out to all the other organs – the kidneys, the nerves, the eyes, the heart. Much of this extra sugar will also just get turned into fat.
Globally, T2DM is at present one of the most common diseases and its levels are progressively on the rise. It has been evaluated that around 366 million people worldwide or 8.3% in the age group of 20-79 years had T2DM in 2011. This figure is expected to rise to 552 million (9.9%) by 2030.10 This disease is associated with severe complications which affect patient’s health, productivity, and quality of life. More than 50% of people with diabetes die of cardiovascular disease (CVD) (primarily heart disease and stroke) and is a sole cause of end stage renal disease which requires either dialysis or kidney transplantation. It is also a major cause of blindness due to retinal damage in adult age group referred to as diabetic retinopathy (DR). People with T2DM have an increased risk of lower limb amputation that may be 25 times greater than those without the disease. This disease caused around 4.6 million deaths in the age-group of 20-79 years in 2011.11
Medications and insulin do nothing to slow down the progression of this organ damage, because they do not eliminate the toxic sugar load from our body. We’ve known this inconvenient fact since 2008. No less than 7 multinational, multi-centre, randomized controlled trials of tight blood glucose control with medications (ACCORD, ADVANCE, VADT, ORIGIN, TECOS, ELIXA, SAVOR) failed to demonstrate reductions in heart disease, the major killer of diabetic patients. We pretended that using medications to lower blood sugar makes people healthier. But it’s only been a lie. You can’t use drugs to cure a dietary disease.