With the increasing diabetes epidemic, many people are starting to make a conscious effort to their diet. Eliminating refined sugar in their diet seemed to be the first ultimate move. For Type II Diabetics, it may seem that they’ve come to a point of no return – having to rely on long-term medication and finger pricking. However, there’s many ways that people can do to manage their condition, or even reverse Type II Diabetes Mellitus.
The prevalence of Type II Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) is on the rise, running parallel to the increase in obesity, physical inactivity and changes in diet towards unhealthy eating behaviors. Based on figures in Singapore, it has been estimated that the number of individuals with T2DM will reach 1, 000, 000 in 2050.
Diabetes in a Nutshell
T2DM is a chronic condition, caused by the body’s inability to respond to insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas to regulate blood sugar levels. Once the body builds up resistance to insulin, the body would overwhelm the pancreas to produce more insulin that it would normally do. Over time, the pancreas can no longer produce enough insulin to cope with the demand, thus causing an elevation of blood glucose levels. The accumulated glucose in the bloodstream will lead to serious health complications such as:
- Foot Complications (Neuropathy)
- Kidney Disease (Nephropathy)
- Ketoacidosis and Ketones
- Cardiovascular Diseases
The following table shows the criteria for the diagnosis of diabetes.
|Random||Below 11.1 mmol/l |
Below 200 mg/dl
|11.1 mmol/l or more |
200 mg/dl or more
|Fasting||Below 5.5 mmol/l |
Below 100 mg/dl
|7.0 mmol/l or more |
126 mg/dl or more
|2 hour post-prandial||Below 7.8 mmol/l |
Below 140 mg/dl
|11.1 mmol/l or more |
200 mg/dl or more
Source: Minitry of Health
Nutrition is one of the many key cornerstones to manage T2DM. Poor food choices is known as one of the main culprits behind the increasing prevalence of T2DM. Therefore, to curb the growing trend of T2DM, adopting a good nutrition is recommended for all individuals to decrease their risk of T2DM.
Monounsaturated Fatty Acids
Many studies have displayed the potential health effects of Monounsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFA) and T2DM. MUFA has shown to reduce inflammatory-induced T2DM in diabetics, thus alleviating long-term complications in this population. One of the metabolic effects exhibited by MUFA is the improved respond to insulin thus reducing the demand for insulin. Remember to incorporate these foods daily to load up your diet with the mighty MUFA!
Fiber is another component that may help to manage complications caused by T2DM. Studies have reported that fiber consumption decreases fasting blood glucose concentration in diabetics. In healthy individuals, it was observed that fiber slows down the absorption of glucose, leading to better sugar levels. Here are some examples of high fiber food that you can incorporate in your diet.
Sugar Sweetened Beverages
The trend of sugar sweetened beverages consumption has been increasing over the years. Many strong evidences have reported that sugar sweetened beverages are associated with weight gain and obesity. The high sugar content in sugar sweetened beverages have a high glycemic index which is responsible for the rise in blood glucose levels. These examples below are some of the culprits that are contributing to the rise of T2DM.
Known as one of the main culprits for the rise in T2DM prevalence, refined grains have been studied over the years for its association with T2DM. Consumption of refined grains caused a spike in the blood glucose levels, leading to an increased risk of T2DM. Unlike wholegrains, refined grains have their outer shell (bran) removed, which acts as a filter to slowly release the sugar into the bloodstream without causing a spike. Without the outer shell, sugar will be released quickly into the bloodstream, causing a surge. Try to avoid or consume less of these foods for a better glucose management.
Indeed, there are many ways to manage T2DM and adopting a good diet has been shown to be effective in managing blood glucose. There are many great alternatives out there that one can incorporate in their daily diet to curb the growing trend of T2DM. Just like the saying “Nothing is Impossible”, diabetes control is definitely possible!
Schwingshackl, L., Hoffmann, G., Lampousi, A., Knüppel, S., Iqbal, K., Schwedhelm, C., Bechthold, A., Schlesinger, S. and Boeing, H. (2017). Food groups and risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies. European Journal of Epidemiology, 32(5), pp.363-375.
National Health Survey and Singapore Burden of Diseases Study 2010, Ministry of Health.