MONTH 1 – Article
Type 2 Diabetes
Last Reviewed: 04/02/2022
Time To Read: 3mins
What is Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a disease that usually occurs in adults. However, type 2 diabetes is now being seen in children and teenagers which is a major public health concern.
Type 2 diabetes is diagnosed by high blood sugar levels. When carbohydrates are eaten, they are mostly broken down by the body into glucose (sugar). Glucose is essential for normal body function and provides energy.
Insulin is a hormone in the body and is produced by the pancreas. Insulin is responsible for removing excess glucose (sugar) from the blood. When the cells of the body stop insulin working, this causes blood sugar levels to rise which can result in diabetes.
Despite what people often think, carbohydrates and sugar are not the cause of insulin resistance in the body. Insulin resistance occurs when there is an increase in fat inside muscle and liver cells. There are a lot of studies that show that saturated fat worsens insulin resistance, and that monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats improve insulin resistance. Saturated fats are found in foods such as meat, dairy products, processed foods like cookies and cakes, oils like palm and coconut oil and some margarines.
Because fat has twice the number of calories as carbohydrates and protein, it is easy to gain weight if a diet is high in fat. Weight loss is key to help manage, and possibly reverse, type 2 diabetes. Exercise and maintaining a healthy diet are also important in diabetes prevention and maintenance.
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Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:
- Feeling tired
- Going to the bathroom often
- Infections that take a long time to heal
- Blurred vision
If you have any of the above symptoms, you should discuss these with your doctor.
Complications of Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes can have some severe complications if not managed well. Some of these include:
- Retinopathy – damage to the blood vessels in the eyes, which if left untreated, can cause blindness.
- Neuropathy – damage to the nerves, often the nerves of the legs which causes pain and numbness in the feet.
- Foot problems – if a person has neuropathy, often they cannot feel cuts or damage to the feet. This might turn into an ulcer and get infected. If healing is slow or poor, an infection could become large. This could result in amputation if the infection cannot be treated.
- Atherosclerosis – this happens when fat builds up in the artery walls. Fat build up in the artery walls can prevent blood flow to the body. This will increase the risk of heart disease, including heart attacks and stroke.
The best way to prevent type 2 diabetes is:
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Exercise often – at least 30 minutes five days per week
- Eat a healthy diet – one that is high in whole foods that are plant based will help with this goal
It is possible for some people with type 2 diabetes to bring their blood sugar levels back to normal just by eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and exercising regularly.
If you have elevated blood sugar levels and would like to learn how to eat well and improve your health, think about joining The Food Cruncher Lifestyle Plan. We teach you all things food and exercise so that you can get on with living, without feeling like you are on a diet.
We hope you found this article useful.
Michelle @ The Food Cruncher.
Riccardi G, Giacco R, Rivellese A.A. Dietary fat, insulin sensitivity and the metabolic syndrome. 2004. Clin Nutr. Review. Aug;23(4):447-56.
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