29th June 2018 | Blog
4 Myths About Diabetes
Diabetes is a lifelong condition that occurs when a person’s blood glucose level is too high. There are actually a few different types of diabetes, but Type 1 and Type 2 are the most common.
What’s the difference?
Type 1 diabetes is caused by a misfunction of the immune system, where the immune system attacks the cells that make insulin. This is the type typically diagnosed in childhood.
Type 2 diabetes occurs where the body doesn't produce enough insulin, or the body's cells don't react to insulin. The biggest cause of Diabetes 2 is obesity, but generally poor diet with too much simple sugars and not enough fibre may well lead to development of Type 2 diabetes.
Simple sugars, without fibre, are released very quickly into the blood stream. Every time our blood sugar is raised our pancreas must produce insulin to reduce the blood sugar levels back to within the normal boundaries. Long term this puts pressure on the pancreas and can lead to a reduction in its ability to function at this level, so it can’t keep up with the demands on it. Type 2 is the more common type now, with around 90% of adult sufferers in the UK having Type 2.
Because of the way Type 2 diabetes is developed (primarily through diet), there are several popular misconceptions about diabetes and what diabetics can and can't eat.
Diabetics can’t eat sugar
Diabetics don’t have to totally cut sugar out of their life. You can still enjoy the occasional sweet treat, as long as it is planned and portioned correctly.
Cut those carbs out
Carbohydrates are the ones responsible for raising blood sugar levels so carb intake must be carefully monitored, but not cut out completely. Focus on the whole grains though, instead of starches, as the high fibre content will be digested slower, keeping your blood sugar more stable.
You’ll need special meals
Diabetics don’t have to have any kind of special diet – just eat a balanced, healthy one. The principles of healthy eating apply to everyone the same – you don’t need to shell out on expensive “diabetic safe” foods, just pay attention to the content of your meals.
Just stick to proteins
A high protein diet has actually been shown to cause insulin resistance, according to the latest studies. If you’re eating too much protein, especially animal protein, you could be doing yourself more harm than good.
So, what should a diabetic be eating?
Of course, listen to your doctor’s advice but the below is a general rule of thumb you can follow. And as we’ve been saying so far these are just what you should be eating more or less of. It doesn’t mean you have to completely cut these foods out of your diet and stick to all the “good” ones forever.
- Good fats that contain omega 3, from oily fish, avocados, nuts & seeds and olive oil.
- Fresh veg, a little fresh fruit, lots of beans and greens.
- Complex carbs such as whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat) wholegrain bread, beans, lentils.
- Good quality protein such as fish, poultry, beans, lentils and nuts.
- Transfats, damaged fats, from deep fried foods.
- Lowfat foods, that often add more sugar to compensate.
- Sugary drinks, especially with fructose, e.g. fizzy drinks, cordials, alcohol.
- Simple sugars, e.g. sweets, biscuits, cakes.
- White bread, sugary cereals, refined pastas or rice.
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