Today, I led my first Health & Food club workshop and the topic was diabetes. This is the notes that accompany the class, which I hope people found informative and helpful.
So what is diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin to function properly, or the body’s cells don’t react to insulin. This means that glucose stays in the blood and isn’t used as fuel for energy.
What are the signs of diabetes?
• feel thirsty
• urinate more than usual, especially at night
• feel tired all the time
It’s estimated that more than 1 in 16 people in the UK has diabetes. Currently 3.9 million people are living with diabetes in the UK, with 90% of those affected having type 2 diabetes.
What problems can be caused by diabetes?
Vision loss and blindness
Lower limb amputation
Strokes and cardiovascular disease
How to help type 2 diabetes
Eat a healthy, balanced diet
Lose weight (if you’re overweight) and maintain a healthy weight
Stop smoking (if you smoke)
Drink alcohol in moderation
Get plenty of regular exercise
Type 2 diabetes is strongly linked to obesity and tends to run in families. It is more prevalent in South Asians and Afro-Caribbeans.
184,000 KILLED BY SUGARY DRINKS IN A YEAR
I came across a very interesting article in the Telegraph newspaper recently, concerning a warning from scientists over deaths caused by sugary drinks.
Deaths due to diabetes, cancer and heart disease have been thought to have a link to the rise in consumption of fizzy drinks in the under 45’s. The breakdown of deaths are as follows:-
133,000 diabetes related deaths
45,000 cardiovascular disease
6,450 from cancer caused by fizzy drinks fruit drinks, energy drinks and sweetened ice teas in 2010
One group of people who are thought to be particularly at risk are young girls, with the early onset of puberty causing a cancer risk. It is suggested that for every year a girl starts early in puberty, then there is a 5% higher risk for breast cancer.
A sad case I came across, involved a man who drank 3 litres of cola a day and died, after his lungs swelled four times their normal weight. It is such a waste of life that could be avoided, given the right help and support. Addiction to sugar I believe, is now becoming as bad as smoking.
If you think the artificial sweetener approach to soft drink is any better, then you may wish to think about some research that came from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2012, where women who drank one of these drinks a day, increased their risk of a stroke by 83 per cent. Artificial sweeteners could also cause diabetes (research courtesy of the Diabetes Care 2013) who say that these sweeteners can cause a sudden blood insulin and glucose spike/rush, which will could eventually make the person insulin resistant, thus causing diabetes.
In the hot weather, you may wish to crack open a can, but first think about whether this is a once in a while drink, or if you have consumed far too much and should think about cutting your intake down. Most importantly, consider children and their consumption. Sugar has been given the nickname of ‘crystal meth of the food world’ and so far, I cannot help but agree.
Can’t get off the sweet stuff?
Try sugar replacements such as Trivia with the stevia leaf extract and xylitol.
Coconut nectar is a great sweetener because not only is it 100% organic and alive with enzymes, but it is great for those who may be diabetic. It is raw, low glycemic, GMO free and is vegan.
What is good for a diabetic to eat?
Try kidney, pinto, cannellini, or black beans, you can’t find better nutrition than that provided by beans. They are very high in fibre giving you about 1/3 of your daily requirement in just a ½ cup.
Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
Spinach and kale – are so low in calories and carbohydrate.
Grapefruit, oranges, lemons and limes.
A vegetable packed full of vitamin A and fibre. They are a great alternative to potatoes as they are lower GI, meaning they go through the digestive system slower and that stops sugar spikes and surges.
Blueberries, strawberries or blackberries are just some you can have.
Fish High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines
Swap the white rice, pasta, breads and grains for wholegrain variety.
Nuts provide key health fats along with hunger management. Some nuts and seeds, such as walnuts and flax seeds, also contain omega-3 fatty acids.
Some fats help protect your heart. Think avocados, almonds,walnuts and pecans.
Foods which have reputed health benefits for diabetics are cinnamon, turmeric, olive oil, asparagus, apples, flaxseed, garlic, melon, oats, tomatoes and quinoa.