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Deciphering Diabetes

diabetes Jan 04, 2021

Diabetes is an umbrella term to describe a condition associated with abnormal blood sugar levels.


There are three primary forms, which include type 1, type 2 and gestational.

  • Type 1 diabetes is associated with the pancreas producing little-to-no insulin, causing people to rely on insulin for survival.
  • Type 2 diabetes describes elevated blood sugar levels and insulin resistance, caused by damage to the pancreas. Damage to the pancreas is generally associated with a poor diet and lifestyle choices. However, genetic predisposition can also play a role.
  • Gestational diabetes can occur during pregnancy. It is generally caused by the changes in hormones leading to insulin resistance, resulting in a blood sugar level spike.

 
Today we will focus on Type 2 Diabetes.

So, I’ve provided a brief overview regarding type 2 diabetes, but let’s dive a little deeper. Type 2 diabetes is a multifaceted condition, which is generally caused by a diet high in carbohydrates, a lack of physical activity and being overweight or obese.  

 


Pathophysiology of blood sugar level regulation

Those without diabetes

  1. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, which is our body’s fuel source.
  2. Initially, glucose travels in the bloodstream, before being absorbed by cells.
  3. A hormone produced in the pancreas, called insulin, allows glucose into the cells.  

 

Those who are prediabetic or have diabates

  1. If blood sugar levels are chronically high, our body cannot produce enough insulin.
  2. Blood becomes thick and sticky, which causes insulin resistance.
  3. Our risk of diabetes and diabetes-related complications, like kidney disease and blindness, increase.

 

How do we manage Type 2 diabetes? 

Firstly, a lifestyle change may take considerable effort. BUT if we can make said changes to our diet and activity level, we can improve our blood sugar levels significantly.  

  • Diet: A low carbohydrate diet is the most recommended form of therapy. Controlling the amount, type and frequency of carbohydrates support adequate blood sugar levels. As dietitians, we recommend low-GI carbohydrates (e.g. wholegrain bread and lentils), as opposed to highly processed carbohydrates (e.g. white bread & sugars).
  • Physical activity: Participating in 30 minutes of exercise each day can improve insulin resistance and improve blood sugar levels.
  • Weight loss: Losing weight is associated with improved insulin sensitivity and blood sugar levels. It’s also important to note that being overweight or obese does not predispose one to type 2 diabetes, it just significantly increases the risk. 

 

What are some warning signs of type 2 diabetes? 

  • Extreme thirst
  • Going to the toilet often
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Depression

If you experience these symptoms regularly, it is recommended going to the doctor and having your blood sugar levels tested. 

 


New research 

Research has shown losing 15kg of body weight and maintaining this weight loss, can put type 2 diabetes into remission. Remission describes a lifestyle where a person can stop taking diabetic medication and their blood sugar levels will be within a normal range. People are also at a lesser risk of developing diabetes-related complications. This evidence has been drawn from ‘The DIRECT Study’, which was funded by Diabetes UK.  


“This all sounds very exciting, but how can I achieve such significant weight loss?”

 Here at CQ Nutrition, we offer a ‘Sugar Busters Program’, where we guide you through a supported framework to achieve weight loss and put diabetes into remission. The program involves a very low-calorie meal replacement, a body compositional analysis, a metabolic rate test, nutrition education, meal plans and ongoing support from a dietitian and a doctor. For more information, head to the website or contact us at CQ Nutrition to find out more.

 
Here is a link to book in with one of our expert dietitians at any of our locations https://www.cqnutrition.com.au/booking/ 

Want an online consultation? Book in on my calendar and in comments write online: https://bit.ly/AnnieROK 

Written by Annabel Johnston, BAppSc&MDietPrac

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