Keep type 2 diabetes at bay
Type 2 diabetes is now a global problem, crossing all socio-economic levels. It is a devastating chronic disease that, if not managed well, can result in numerous health consequences that involve major organs. Heart disease, strokes and kidney failure are at the top of the list.
Researchers from Tufts University in Boston looked at data from 102 studies that included over 4,500 adults. This is what they learned about reducing type 2 diabetes risk.
Healthy fats in the diet seemed to result in better blood sugar levels, lowering diabetes risk. This includes:
- All oils – olive, canola, safflower, sunflower, etc.
- All nuts such as walnuts, almonds, pecans, etc.
- Nut butters
- Seeds such as sesame, flaxseed, chia, etc.
On the other hand, fefined carbohydrates resulted in higher blood sugar levels. These are found in:
- White bread, rolls, tortillas, bagels, crackers
- Refined and sweetened cereals such as cornflakes, sweet kid-type cereals, etc.
- Bakery desserts such as pie, cake and cookies
Saturated fats were problematic, too, with higher blood sugar levels. These are found in:
- Fatty red meats
- Processed meats such as bacon, sausage and hotdogs
- Whole-milk dairy fats such as whole milk, cheeses and butter
The researchers evaluated a number of diabetes-related areas in relationship to diet: blood sugar levels, blood insulin levels (a reflection of the ability of the pancreas to make enough insulin) and insulin sensitivity (the body’s ability to use the insulin that is produced from the pancreas). These factors all seemed to be influenced in a negative way by eating more refined carbohydrate foods and saturated animal fats.
It is easy to shift to healthier options, however. Replace:
- Cornflakes with whole-grain Cheerios
- White breads, rolls, etc. with multi-grain varieties (oatmeal rye, whole wheat
- White rice with brown or quinoa
- Bakery desserts with seasonal fresh fruit
This is important information for all of us, since we all have a pancreas that we want to work well for the rest of our lives, but it’s especially true if you have a family history of diabetes.
Recipes to try:
About the Author
Rita Smith is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She's been working in the field of nutrition and disease prevention for more than 35 years and currently works at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, Va. Each week, Rita provides nutrition counseling to clients who have a variety of disorders or diseases including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, gastroparesis and weight management. For these clients, food choices can help them manage their health problems.