Everything about Diabetes

Knowing Basics :
Blood Sugar and Insulin: Metabolism refers the body’s process that directs into storage such as in fat into fueling normal growth, development and physical activity. Carbohydrates (including complex carbohydrates and simple sugars), fat and protein are three nutrient groups in our diet that provide the energy and building blocks for metabolism growth. Carbohydrates and fat provide most of the energy to keep our body working including our muscles and our vital organs such as brain, liver, heart, lungs and kidneys.

Carbohydrates are broken down in the intestine into smaller sugar that can be absorbed into circulation. Sugar or glucose is thus transported from the blood across the cell wall into the cell where it is broken down further providing a major source of energy. Alternatively sugar may be stored in liver or muscle as a glycogen, which is complex carbohydrate that serves as an energy reservoir in times of energy need. For sugar to get entry to most cells, it must be carried through the cell wall by glucose transporters. This is where insulin plays a role.

Insulin is a hormone, which means it is a protein that is made and secreted by specialized cell and then circulated in the blood stream and affects other organs and their functions. Insulin is made up in the pancreas by beta cells. These beta cells can sense the level of sugar in the blood. When blood sugar levels starts to rise the beta cells make and secrete insulin, which increases the transport of sugar into the cells and keeps the blood sugar from rising too high.
Insulin also stimulates the process in the cells of the storage of sugar of fatty acids as fat; and the use of amino acids, the building blocks of protein. Insulin provides protein, fat and glycogen break down. Insulin directs the storage of energy and stimulates the building of tissues growth.
When Blood sugar level falls insulin production and secretion shut down and all of the processes are reversed. Sugar is released from the storage depot instead of stored in muscle and liver, fat is broken down and fatty acids released and proteins are broken down rather than synthesized. Insulin is like a traffic cop directing nutrients into storage and growth.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease in which the level of sugar in your blood becomes elevated over long periods of time often years or permanently.

The most common types of Diabetes are type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes: In this type of diabetes body fails to produce insulin, the hormone that unlocks the cells of the body allowing glucose(sugar) to enter and fuel them.

Type 2 diabetes: This is most common form of diabetes. It is caused when body cannot produce or properly use insulin.

Gestational diabetes: This type of diabetes occurs during pregnancy and then usually goes away after the baby is born. It is very important to treat gestational diabetes because it can harm developing fetus. Mothers who experience gestational are at great risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

Pre- diabetes: This is condition that occurs when a person’s glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough for diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.
Common symptoms of Diabetes are
  • Unusual Thirst
  • Frequent Urination
  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue
  • Lightheadedness
  • Weight loss
  • Yeast or vaginal infection in woman
  • Tingling or numbness in hands or feet
Causes of Diabetes
Being overweight or obese is one of the major reasons. Also when something happens that hurts either the pancreas or islet cells inside it, then the body can’t make enough insulin to keep blood glucose normal and then causes diabetes.

Risk Factors of Diabetes

  • Weight
  • Age
  • Family History
  • High Blood Pressure
  • History of diabetes during pregnancy
  • Low physical activity

Problems diabetes can lead to:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Kidney problems
  • Foot and skin problems
  • Nerve damage
  • Depression
  • Eye problems and blindness.
Food That Fights Diabetes….
The American Diabetes Association recommends that you “Rate Your Plate,” making sure 1/4 is devoted to starchy foods, 1/4 to lean protein, and 1/2 to colorful, delicious vegetables. It’s a quick, visual way to assure that you’re eating in balance.

 Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load:
The glycemic index is a system developed to rank carbohydrates based on how much they raise blood sugar levels. High Glycemic Index foods are quickly digested and absorbed. Producing rapid rise in blood sugar and insulin levels. Low Glycemic Index foods on other hand are slowly digested and absorbed producing a smaller more gradual rise in blood sugar and insulin level
Different carbohydrates have different Glycemic Index’s. Following are the Glycemic Index of some common food:

Yogurt low-fat (sweetened)    14
Peanuts                                  15
Artichoke                                15
Asparagus                              15
Broccoli                                  15
Cauliflower                             15
Celery                                     15
Cucumber                              15
Eggplant                                 15
Green beans                          15
Lettuce, all varieties               15
Low-fat yogurt, artificially sweetened 15
Peppers, all varieties              15
Snow peas                              15
Spinach                                   15
Young summer squash           15
Tomatoes                                15
Zucchini                                  15
Soya beans, boiled                 16
Cherries                                  22
Peas, dried                             22
Milk, chocolate                       24
Pearl barley                            25
Grapefruit                               25
Milk, whole                             27
Spaghetti, protein enriched   27
Kidney beans, boiled            29
Lentils green, boiled             29
Soya milk                              30
Apricots (dried)                     31
Milk, Fat-free                        32
Milk ,skimmed                      32
Fettuccine                            32
M&Ms (peanut)                    32
Chickpeas                           33
Rye                                      34
Milk, semi-skimmed            34
Vermicelli                             35
Spaghetti, whole wheat       37
Apples                                 38
Pears                                   38
Tomato soup, tinned           38
Haricot beans, boiled         38
Plums                                  39
Ravioli, meat filled               39
Carrots, cooked                  39
Snickers bar                        40
Apple juice                          41
Wheat kernels                     41
Spaghetti, white                   41
Black-eyed beans               41
All-Bran                                42
Peaches                               42
Chickpeas, tinned                42
Oranges                               44
Lentil soup, tinned               44
Carrot juice                         45
Macaroni                             45
Pineapple juice                   46
Rice, instant                        46
Grapes                                46
Grapefruit juice                   48
Multi grain bread                48
Rice, parboiled                  48
Baked beans, tinned         48
Porridge, non instant         49
Jams and marmalades     49
Whole grain                       50
Barley, cracked                50
Ice-cream (low- fat)          50
Yam                                  51
Orange juice                     52
Kidney beans, tinned       52
Lentils green, tinned         52
Kiwi fruit                            53
Bananas                           54
Sweet potato                    54

Table 1: Food Glycemic Index
Glycemic Index – tells how quickly a carbohydrate containing food turns into sugar but it dosen’t tell how much carbohydrate is in serving food.
Glycemic Load  – considers both the Glycemic Index and the amount of carbohydrate in food. Carrots for example have a high Glycemic Index but carrots are low in total amount of carbohydrates, unless one eats massive amount. So compared to other resources of carbohydrates like bread, sweets and potatoes the Glycemic load of carrots is relatively low. Sugary foods (candy, sodas, cookies, etc) are very high in carbohydrates and tend to rank high on Glycemic Index.

Bottom line if a food contains very little crbohydrates, it will not have much impact on blood sugar and insulin levels, regardless of Glycemic Index. On the other hand if a given meal has a high Glycemic Index and high carbohydrate content it will push the blood glucose insulin.

Sample Breakfast Menus

¼ cup cheerios
4 oz skim milk
½ banana
1 mini bagel
1 tbsp low-fat cream cheese
½ grapefruit
2 slices light toast
1 tbsp low-fat margarine
4 oz juice
1 cup oatmeal
4 oz skim milk
1 tbsp raisins

Sample Lunch Menus

1 cup pasta
1/ cup tomato sauce
2-3 oz ground turkey
2 tbsp light dressing
½ pita bread
1/2 cup fruit salad
2 cups salad
½ cup chickpeas
1/ cup tuna plain
2 tbsp light dressing
2 slices light bread, lettuce, tomato
10 baked chips
1 small pear
2-3 slices lean ham
1 tbsp reduced-fat mayo
1 wrap sandwich with lean filling
2 tbsp light dressing
6 oz light yogurt

Sample Dinner Menus

1 cup pasta
1 cup spaghetti sauce
2 tbsp parmesan cheese
2tbsp light dressing
1 cup cooked rice
1 cup broccoli
3-4 oz baked chicken
1 small apple
1 tbsp low-fat margarine
2 soft taco
½ cup black beans
½ cup salsa
lettuce, tomato
2 tbsp light sour cream
 1 sweet potato
1 cup green beans
3-4 oz broiled fish
½ cup apple sauce
8 oz skim milk

Small Changes to Stop diabetes:

  1. Eat a healthy diet that is low in calories, fat and saturated fats.
  2. Choose more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean meats, low fat diary products and unsaturated fats.
  3. Increase fiber intake to 30gms/day.
  4. Reduce intake of sugar.
  5. Engage in moderate intensity physical activity such as brisk walking for at least 30 minutes for 5 days a week.
  6. Lose at least 5% of body weight.

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