Avoiding Diabetes

Whether you are a type 1 or type 2 diabetic, sugared soft drinks should not be on your menu. If you are a type 1, you need to raise blood sugar and get your energy from fresh or dried fruits. If you are type 2, sugar should be off the table – for life. However; have you ever given much thought as to how to avoid diabetes altogether? 

If you have gestational diabetes, even more care is required, because you can pass the tendency to this disease on to all your offspring.

In fact, it’s now a distinct possibility that as few as two sugared drinks a day could double the risk of developing both type 1 diabetes – an autoimmune disorder – and type 2 diabetes, according to a new study out of Sweden.

Type 2 diabetes, which accounts for about 92 percent of all diagnosed diabetes cases in the United States, is generally regarded as a disease of lifestyle related to obesity, lack of exercise, and poor dietary choices. About 28.5 million Americans have diabetes.

Other Forms of Diabetes

Sugared drinks, also called soft drinks, also increase the risk of developing latent autoimmune diabetes, which shares characteristics with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. This form of diabetes, or glucose intolerance, develops slowly, and victims may not need insulin for at least six months after diagnosis, but the process is inevitable nonetheless.

In short, notes the study, from Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, each soft drink you consume raises your risk for developing diabetes by 20 percent. And that’s a lot. Double that, to about 24 ounces (about 700 ml) and you have insulin waiting in the wings for you whether you want it or not.

In addition to the forms mentioned above, diabetes can also appear as:

  • MODY, or Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young (irreversible), develops later than Type 1 diabetes but usually before age 25. It is often genetic, and does not always require insulin treatment.
  • Double diabetes (irreversible) is an autoimmune disease like Type 1.
  • Type 3 diabetes is insulin resistance in the brain (reversibility unknown), and some researchers now associate it with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Steroid-induced diabetes (irreversible in context) can result from the use of steroids in treating asthma, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis (RAs), and certain forms of inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Brittle diabetes (irreversible), a hard-to-control form of Type 1 diabetes, which has elements of IBD, thyroid imbalance, and adrenal gland malfunction.
  • Secondary diabetes (irreversible), which results from certain health conditions like cystic fibrosis, chronic pancreatitis, and polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, to name a few.
  • Diabetes insipidus (unknown), a very rare form of diabetes that results from excessive urination.

The Role of Insulin in Diabetes

Insulin is made in the pancreas and helps the body convert sugar into energy as part of the metabolic process.

When the pancreas fails to work as well as it should, most patients are diagnosed with diabetes, usually type 2 diabetes. Doctors may also refer to something called “metabolic syndrome”, which is a whole complex of problems, type 2 diabetes being only one aspect of a general, body-wide failure.  

Diabetic researchers have begun to believe that one aspect of diabetes (at least, type 2 diabetes) may be as simple as energy storage. Until the problem is identified and fixed, however, insulin is the weapon of choice when diabetics are no longer able to control their blood sugar levels with diet, exercise, and oral medications.

Insulin currently comes in liquid form, in vials or prefilled pens, and is injected by “units” into a fatty area on the body, typically belly, thigh, or forearm, in either slow-acting or fast-acting formulas. In the latter case, one unit typically represents about 10 degrees above normal blood sugar, which is considered to range from less than 100 mg/dl (milligrams per deciliter) before meals to up to 140 mg/dl up to two hours after meals.  

The Future of Insulin

Not too far in the future, expect to get insulin from a patch, an implanted pump, a skin port (like a permanent IV port), or even inhaled insulin. Some scientists are even looking at a bionic pancreas, surgically inserted to take over where the pancreas has failed.

Until we reach that wonderful future, the best thing diabetics can do – for themselves and their loved ones – is to eat right (no sweets, fewer carbohydrates, lots of veggies, focus on lean proteins), exercise, and getting restful sleep. Believe it or not, sleep apnea may be a leading trigger for diabetes and insulin resistance. So if you sleep badly, wake frequently, and never feel rested, see your doctor.

Focus on Diabetes

Diabetes, to most people, is a bad, scary word. Diabetes conjures up images of sick people who need to obsess over food and put themselves in harm’s way on a regular basis. To this line of thought, diabetes is life sentence, and bad consequence of decades’ worth of bad eating and sloppy living, however what if we changed our focus on this type of thinking.

Does it have more to do with shame and guilt than with reality? Will type 2 diabetes really ruin you life? Read on to find out how, to many people, diabetes is a life saver rather than the kiss of death

Diabetes Will Encourage You to Focus on Nutrition.

When you develop diabetes, you will need to focus on what you eat, and you’ll need to keep in mind the ways in which what you eat affects your entire body. This may have have unexpected benefits.

 

Keeping your nutrition in mind when you plan, fix, and eat meals will leave you a healthier person in ways far beyond the ones related to your diabetes. If you speak to dietitians frequently, you’ll notice some patterns in their recommendations: don’t overeat; make sure you’re getting plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; avoid processed food and saturated fats; and get lots of exercise. The reason dietitians recommend these strategies is so many health situations is that these guidelines will benefit every part of your health.

 

So when you focus on your diabetes when planning your diet, you’ll be helping more than just your blood sugars. A diabetes friendly diet will help your heart, your energy levels, your brain, and much more.

Diabetes Will Help You Focus Your Routines

Diabetes will help you stay focused. Having to make decisions all the time is tiring. Before diabetes, you probably wasted time thinking about what to eat, when to exercise, and how to organize your life. You probably flip-flopped back and forth about how to run your life, how healthy you wanted to be, and how much effort you wanted to spend taking care of yourself.

 

Diabetes changes all that. When your doctor tells you that you need to cut out refined sugars and processed foods, to incorporate more exercise into your routine, and always maintain focus on what’s good for your body, you know for certain what you need to do. Many diabetes patients credit the disease with giving them purpose in life. When you have a clear problem, you have a clear goal.

Diabetes Will Give You Things to Think About

Despite all of its drawbacks, diabetes is interesting. When you develop the disease, you’ll have a lot to think about. When you research your condition, you’ll learn about many things: your blood, your diet, and your digestion. And you’ll have concrete examples of all of these things to look at everyday—eating certain foods will lead to higher numbers in your blood sugar charting, and you’ll be able to observe patterns. These are all fascinating topics which lead to a strange conclusion: having diabetes is intellectually stimulating.