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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 banana1 mini bagel
1 tbsp low-fat cream cheese
½ grapefruit2 slices light toast
1 tbsp low-fat margarine
4 oz juice1 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 dressing½ pita bread
1/2 cup fruit salad
2 cups salad
½ cup chickpeas
1/ cup tuna plain
2 tbsp light dressing2 slices light bread, lettuce, tomato
10 baked chips
1 small pear
2-3 slices lean ham
1 tbsp reduced-fat mayo1 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 dressing1 cup cooked rice
1 cup broccoli
3-4 oz baked chicken
1 small apple
1 tbsp low-fat margarine2 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.