Understanding Diabetes And How To Manage It

November 14th was world Diabetes day which was a time to raise awareness for the disease and try to raise funds for research. Like all other diseases, it is on the rise in the world we live in today. Diabetes is categorized in two types – Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. In both types, the disease starts with a dysfunction in glucose metabolism. What’s that? Well, here is what normal metabolism looks like:
When we eat food, the food is digested and the carbohydrate part is broken down into simple sugars, much of which is glucose. Glucose enters the blood stream (Blood Sugar), and insulin is produced in the pancreas to manage its transport and distribution around the body. Insulin (which is a hormone) opens the door for glucose into different cells for a variety of uses. Some of the glucose is converted to short term energy for immediate cell use, and some is stored as long term energy (fat) for later use.
As a person develops diabetes, the metabolism process collapses. Type 1 diabetes cannot produce adequate insulin because the cells that produce insulin in the pancreas have been destroyed. This is the result of the body attacking itself, making type 1 diabetes an autoimmune disease. Type 2 diabetes on the other hand can produce insulin but the insulin does not do the job it’s supposed to do (i.e. manage the transport and distribution glucose around the body). This is called insulin resistance which means when the insulin starts giving orders to dispatch the blood sugar, the body doesn’t pay attention. The insulin then becomes ineffective, and the blood sugar is not metabolized properly.
Diabetes is on the rise especially in young people now, whether they are overweight or not (diabetes is very common in people who are overweight, and one advice for managing the disease is to lose weight). Modern drugs and surgery offer no cure for diabetes. At best the current drug allows diabetes to maintain a reasonably, functional lifestyle but these drugs will never treat the cause of the disease.
A lot of these cases developing could be preventable and some may even be reversed. I know I’m going to set some raised eyebrows with this statement, but hang on to your horses people – there has been studies and research done into tis that prove that some diabetes can indeed be reversed. How?
The food we eat has enormous influence over this disease. The right diet not only prevents but also treats diabetes. So what is the right diet? According to James Anderson, M.D., one of the most prominent scientists studying diet and diabetes today, a high-carbohydrate, low-fat – plant-based diet may help prevent diabetes. His studies and experiments with diabetic patients have shown a decrease with a decrease with insulin dependency over weeks of being on a more plant-based, almost vegetarian diet.
Adopting a high-carbohydrate, low-fat, plan-based diet will go a long way to reduce or in some cases eradicate the insulin dependency.
It has to be a lifestyle change, and this does not mean eating bland food. It means having complex carbohydrate like whole grain foods rather than the simple processed options (the white stuff –white flour, rice, sugar, packet and frozen meals, fast foods). Choosing the slow-release carbohydrates like whole grain will help to stabilize blood-sugar levels. It means eating and juicing more fruits and vegetables (less fruits, more vegetables especially greens like spinach), it means making careful food choices and meal planning to help you achieve a healthier lifestyle. It also means including exercise as part of your routine, going for a 30 minutes brisk walk is a good start. Try to manage you stress levels better (elevated stress levels have an adverse effect on hormone levels, of which insulin is one). So if you are trying to prevent or control diabetes, there is a simple option which is trying to live a healthier lifestyle by incorporating a high-carbohydrate, low-fat, plant-based diet. Live well and stay blessed.
Peace and fabulous health!

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