Diabetes: Can we do anything about it?

Diabetes occurs in the body when the body does not produce sufficient insulin or if it can’t utilize the insulin it produces. Insulin is the major hormone which regulates blood sugar. There are two types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2.

Type 1 Diabetes:

Type 1 diabetes is due to deficient production of insulin by body, so it requires regular administration of insulin.

Type 2 Diabetes:

Type 2 diabetes occurs when body cannot efficiently use insulin which it produces.

Diabetes is a serious concern:

  • Significant rise in people suffering from diabetes, from 108 million people in 1980 to 422 million people in 2014.
  • There is rise in diabetes from 4.7 % in 1980 to 8.5 % in 2014 in adults whose age is over 18.
  • According to WHO report, Diabetes is the seventh major cause of death in 2012.
  • In 2016, approximate 1.6 million people died because of diabetes.
  • Diabetes can lead to blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and lower limb amputation. High blood sugar leads to serious damage of many body organs especially the blood vessels and nerves.

Good news is : It can be controlled and even reversed with a good lifestyle.

Every food you eat contain three nutrients viz protein, fat and carbohydrates. Carbs have significant effect on blood sugar control. Body breaks carbs into glucose which in turn increases blood sugar level. There are many studies available which claims that restricting carbohdrates to 20 grams per day [also read Keto Diet], shows sudden improvement in diabetes. While other researchers also claim that taking carbs in the moderate limit of 80 grams per day [also read LCD] shows good results in blood sugar control.

So question is what are Carbohydrates? Is there anything like good or bad carbs? Should diabetic people consume carbs?

Carbohydrates have three components: Fiber, Sugar, Starch.

Fiber: (Daily Recommended dosage: 20 to 30 grams)

Two types: soluble and insoluble. They do-not get broken up into glucose, hence do-not increase your blood sugar level. If a certain food has 5 grams of carbs and out of 5, 3 grams are fiber then it has only 2 grams of net carbs. Body cannot digest fiber but both types of fibers are required by the body for proper functioning of digestive system and for maintaining blood glucose level or cholesterol level.

Soluble Fiber:

Dissolves in water and helps in controlling blood glucose and cholesterol level. Foods rich in Soluble Fiber: oats, avocados, brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, broccoli, turnips pears, kidney beans, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley, psyllium husk etc.

Insoluble Fiber:

Does not dissolve in water. Helps the food to move past the digestive track and helps prevent constipation. Foods sources: wheat, whole wheat bread, whole grain couscous, brown rice, legumes, carrots, cucumbers, cabbage, cauliflower and tomatoes etc.

Now the remaining two types of carbohydrates are starch and sugar. Fibers and starch are complex carbohydrates while sugar is considered as simple carbohydrates.

Simple Carbohydrate Vs Complex Carbohydrate:

Simple carbohydrates are simple sugar. Sugar is found in many food items as well as fruits. It increases your blood glucose levels quickly. Complex Carbohydrates take long time to break down and get absorbed. They are basically starches which are formed by the long chain of saccharides. Hence they do not increase the blood sugar level as fast as compared to simple carbs.

Complex carbs food sources: brown Rice, quinoa, oatmeal, whole grains, sweet potatoes etc.

If I had to take away one point from above, then it would be “Insulin regulates blood sugar and Carbohydrates play very crucial role in elevating blood sugar” .

Our recommendations: Diabetic people should definitely give Ketogenic or LCD diet a try [after consulting your doctor]. It has helped several people. Sugar consumption should be limited to natural sources like fruits, honey etc. If in case one has to use a sweetener, we would suggest stevia or jaggery. White sugar is to be avoided.

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2 thoughts on “Diabetes: Can we do anything about it?”

  1. Hello.This post was extremely interesting, particularly because I was investigating for thoughts on this subject last Wednesday.

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