Eye damage (retinopathy). Diabetes can damage the blood vessels of the retina (diabetic retinopathy), potentially leading to blindness. Diabetes also increases the risk of other serious vision conditions, such as cataracts and glaucoma.
Diet is an important tool to keep your heart healthy and blood sugar levels within a safe and healthy range. It doesn’t have to be complicated or unpleasant. The diet recommended for people with type 2 diabetes is the same diet just about everyone should follow. It boils down to a few key actions:
Insufficient production of insulin (either absolutely or relative to the body’s needs), production of defective insulin (which is uncommon), or the inability of cells to use insulin properly and efficiently leads to hyperglycemia and diabetes.
If you have prediabetes or other diabetes risk factors and even if you don’t, a few lifestyle tweaks can help delay or even prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. These changes in diet, exercise, and weight management work together to help keep your blood sugar levels within the ideal range all day long:
Insulin is a hormone that is produced by specialized cells (beta cells) of the pancreas. (The pancreas is a deep-seated organ in the abdomen located behind the stomach.) In addition to helping glucose enter the cells, insulin is also important in tightly regulating the level of glucose in the blood. After a meal, the blood glucose level rises. In response to the increased glucose level, the pancreas normally releases more insulin into the bloodstream to help glucose enter the cells and lower blood glucose levels after a meal. When the blood glucose levels are lowered, the insulin release from the pancreas is turned down. It is important to note that even in the fasting state there is a low steady release of insulin than fluctuates a bit and helps to maintain a steady blood sugar level during fasting. In normal individuals, such a regulatory system helps to keep blood glucose levels in a tightly controlled range. As outlined above, in patients with diabetes, the insulin is either absent, relatively insufficient for the body’s needs, or not used properly by the body. All of these factors cause elevated levels of blood glucose (hyperglycemia).
Patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes may discover that if they are overweight at diagnosis and then lose weight and begin regular physical activity, their blood glucose returns to normal. Does this mean diabetes has disappeared? No. The development of type 2 diabetes is a gradual process, too, in which the body becomes unable to produce enough insulin for its needs and/or the body’s cells become resistant to insulin’s effects. Gradually the patient goes from having “impaired glucose tolerance” — a decreased but still adequate ability to convert food into energy — to having “diabetes.”
More than 150 different varieties are known, but white, red, and black quinoa are the most common types in the U.S. The tiny grains cook up quickly in about 15 minutes and are commonly served as a side dish similar to couscous or rice. The mild, nutty taste makes quinoa a good base for salads, or it can be stirred into soups.
Kale (and spinach) contains two pigments, lutein and zeaxanthin, that are beneficial for eye health. According to Harvard’s School of Public Health, sunlight, cigarette smoke, air pollution, and infections can cause free radicals form. These two pigments seem to snuff out free radicals before they can harm the eyes’ sensitive tissues. They also appear to be protective against cataracts.
If you’re not satisfied with your first order, call 1-800-727-8046 within the first 14 days and send the remaining food back for a full refund, less shipping. Good on new 4-week plans, first order only. Limit one per customer.
^ Jump up to: a b Kitabchi, AE; Umpierrez, GE; Miles, JM; Fisher, JN (July 2009). “Hyperglycemic crises in adult patients with diabetes”. Diabetes Care. 32 (7): 1335–43. doi:10.2337/dc09-9032. PMC 2699725 . PMID 19564476.
John’s naturopath, Susan DeLaney, ND, RN, from The Wellness Alliance in Carrboro, North Carolina, considers diabetes to be reversed when an individual is no longer dependent on medication to maintain blood glucose levels within a fairly normal range. Kathie Madonna Swift, MS, RD, LDN, owner of Swift Nutrition and author of The Inside Tract: Your Good Gut Guide to Great Digestive Health, describes reversal of diabetes as “restoring function and bringing the body back into glycemic balance.”
The “Nutrition Facts” label on most foods is the best way to get carbohydrate information, but not all foods have labels. Your local bookstore and library have books that list the carbohydrate in restaurant foods, fast foods, convenience foods and fresh foods. You will still need to weigh or measure the foods to know the amount of grams of carbohydrates present.
A few different approaches to creating a diabetes diet are available to help you keep your blood glucose level within a normal range. With a dietitian’s help, you may find one or a combination of the following methods works for you:
We give you special kudos for managing your condition, as it is not always easy. If you’ve had diabetes for a long time, it’s normal to burn out sometimes. You may get tired of your day to day tasks, such as counting carbohydrates or measuring your blood sugar. Lean on a loved one or a friend for support, or consider talking to someone else who has diabetes who can provide, perhaps, an even more understanding ear or ideas that can help you.