When type 2 diabetes is first diagnosed, patients are typically encouraged to work with a nutritionist. We often blame the obvious culprits, such as additives, preservatives, and copious amounts of added sugar for spiking our blood sugar and putting on weight. But, is there a correlation between this illness and the whole foods we eat that are not processed or altered? Is it necessary to keep a watchful eye on all the food groups as well as the altered foods to prevent or control type 2 diabetes? In this article, we will discuss the biggest factors to monitor in your diet that can cause or affect your type 2 diabetes.
The Deal With Sugar
First, let's face it. Sugar makes everything, even your least favorite veggies, super tasty! If you are thinking of giving up added sugar, you might be wondering how extreme that reduction should be to help prevent or control your diabetes and if you can substitute sugar grown in nature that has not been altered. Of course, eating, sleeping, stress, and low amounts of exercise over a period of several years and even genetics can play a role in the body building up insulin resistance. So, your diet may not be the only issue to blame, much less sugar glucose. However, unlike genetics, the good news is the foods you intake, such as added sugar, can be adjusted to improve your health and quality of life. Why is sugar, in particular, an issue? Eating more sugar than your body can use as energy can damage the liver's insulin resistance and increase the pancreas' insulin production while the excess is stored as fat, which adds to weight gain, a contributing factor for type 2 diabetes. In other words, avoiding added sugar is helpful with both insulin and weight management, which are two critical components of controlling the disease progression.
Sweeteners With less Impact on Blood Sugar Levels
Many fruits and sweeter vegetables that naturally contain sugar, on the other hand, have less of an effect on blood sugar levels because they contain fiber, water, antioxidants and other nutrients that the body slowly absorbs. For treats or special occasions, try these five sweetener substitutes that have a reduced effect on your insulin level: xylitol, erythritol, monk fruit, yacon syrup, and stevia. Xylitol is found in birch trees and plant fiber and does not contain fructose. Erythritol comes from fermented wheat or starches and is not digestible yet has a sweet flavor. Since it cannot be digested, the erythritol is absorbed into the bloodstream and released in the urine. Monk fruit is extracted from dried melon and does not raise blood glucose levels. Yacon syrup is drawn from the yacon plant and is high in fiber, which helps with controlling glucose levels. Stevia is found in the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant and may be used in the powder, liquid extract, or whole leaf form.
Are Carbohydrates Bad?
Who doesn't love grain products like bread and pasta and starchy vegetables like potatoes and corn? In fact, carbohydrates are an important part of our daily consumption for energy, fiber, and valuable nutrients. When it comes to type 2 diabetes management, however, carbohydrates should be closely monitored. This is because the body converts carbohydrates into sugar glucose.
Starches That Help Your Body
Some carbohydrates are more useful to the body than others. Complex carbohydrates with a low glycemic index are better sources of fiber and nutrients that the body can use and will have less of an impact on your blood sugar than those with a higher glycemic index.The good news is a large portion of the foods we enjoy are part of the low glycemic index diet. Foods like bread and tortillas made with 100% stone-ground wheat, oatmeal, barley, rye, pasta, wild rice, lowfat dairy products, lean meats, various nuts and seeds, and numerous fruits are on the list of healthy low glycemic index foods.
Therefore, what you eat may be converting into more sugar glucose than your body can handle, despite some dietary restrictions. Consider discussing the above sugar substitutes and the low glycemic index foods with your physician and nutritionist as you make a plan for healthy changes to your diet in order to intake more nutrients while supporting to your body's ability to manage your blood sugar levels. If you are in the Lake Wales, Florida area and would like to speak with our osteopathic physician about type 1 or 2 diabetes or you have questions about your diet's impact on your health, contact our office at (863) 949-6541 or conveniently schedule an appointment online to speak with Dr. Navarro and his experienced team.