Diet, Lifestyle and Diabetes

Our bodies are dependent on a simple sugar (glucose) for energy. There are many intricate pathways in the body that help with the production of glucose, but also the management and storage of it when it is in excess.

Our genes can influence if we are going to develop adult onset diabetes, however lifestyle and behavioural factors can help prevent up to 90% of type 2 diabetes.

Adult onset diabetes (type 2 diabetes) either occurs when not enough insulin is produced in the body (from the pancreas) or where there is resistance to insulin. This can slowly develop without any warning signals for many years.

Diet, Exercise and lifestyle, have an enormous impact on the regulation of insulin and its role in glucose storage.

If we are constantly challenging our bodies with glucose (sugar), the body will keep producing more insulin to try and counteract, and store these high levels in muscles and cells. Eventually however the insulin making cells will get exhausted and start to fail, leading to a lack of response to insulin and sometimes failure to produce it all. High levels of sugar then begin to circulate in the body: Impaired Glucose Tolerance

Making changes in weight, exercise levels (to expend/manage the sugar storage), and diet (to stop challenging the body) can help prevent adult onset diabetes

Key principles:

Control your weight and get moving:
o Improve the bodies ability to produce insulin and use/absorb glucose

Adhere to a Lower Glycaemic diet: slow release of glucose

o The glycaemic load is the speed at which you digest your food and convert it to glucose (sugar): your body’s energy source.
o By choosing complex grains and whole grains (fibre, quinoa, brown rice) over refined and processed carbohydrates (rice, potatoes, pasta, white bread), this prevents the high glycaemic load: the rapid sugar release and reduces the levels of high circulating glucose in the blood stream

Swap sugary drinks for water / tea / coffee

Choose good fats instead of bad fats:
o Reduce red meat intake: insulin cells can be affected / damaged from high levels of iron, preservatives, and salt in red meat.
o Increase your intake of:
o Oily fish
o Nuts, seeds, polyunsaturated vegetable oils in place of trans fats: butter, fried foods, processed snacks

Whichever ‘diet’ you choose, be it the fasting diets, protein diets, prescription controlled low calorie diets, the principle is the same:

Reduce the high sugar releasing foods, keep moving and keep your weight down.

Low GI Foods