Type 2 diabetes can be a 'devastating diagnosis' says expert
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Type 2 diabetes only presents a grave threat if blood sugar levels are left to run riot. Blood sugar levels continue to rise if you have type 2 diabetes unless steps are taken to control them. This is owing to a dysfunction in the way the body processes insulin, which usually regulates blood sugar.
Fortunately, you can curb high blood sugar levels by making healthy dietary decisions.
Much research has been conducted into the foods that are most conducive to blood sugar control.
Most of the winning items rank low on the glycaemic index (GI) – a rating system for foods containing carbohydrates.
It shows how quickly each food affects your blood sugar (glucose) level when that food is eaten on its own.
Dried peas have been singled out for their ability to moderate blood sugar rises in a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Researchers compared the glycaemic and insulin responses to three different meals based on dried peas, potatoes, or both in patients with type 2 diabetes undergoing dietary treatment.
The meals, prepared according to local recipes and consumed at weekly intervals in random order at lunchtime, contained comparable amounts of carbohydrate, fat, protein, and water.
The carbohydrate source of the meals differed and was supplied from either dried peas (meal one), potatoes (meal three), or a combination thereof (meal two).
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Blood was taken over 180 minutes to gauge blood sugar concentrations.
The increases in post-eating blood sugar and insulin concentrations were delayed and “significantly smaller” after the pea meal than after the potato meal, the researchers wrote.
They concluded: “These findings suggest that carbohydrates in dried peas may be largely disregarded in carbohydrate counting and that type 2 diabetic patients should probably increase their consumption of low-glycemic, high-fibre foods at the expense of high-glycemic, low-fibre foods.”
What else ranks low on the GI index?
Low GI foods include:
- Some fruit and vegetables
- Wholegrain foods, such as porridge oats.
Some low GI foods, such as wholegrain foods, fruit, vegetables, beans and lentils, are foods we should eat as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
However, “using the glycaemic index to decide whether foods or combinations of foods are healthy can be misleading”, says the NHS.
The health body explains: “Foods with a high GI are not necessarily unhealthy and not all foods with a low GI are healthy.
“For example, watermelon and parsnips are high GI foods, while chocolate cake has a lower GI value.”
Type 2 diabetes – do you have it?
Many people have type 2 diabetes without realising. This is because symptoms do not necessarily make you feel unwell.
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:
- Peeing more than usual, particularly at night
- Feeling thirsty all the time
- Feeling very tired
- Losing weight without trying to
- Itching around your penis or vagina, or repeatedly getting thrush
- Cuts or wounds taking longer to heal
- Blurred vision.
“See a GP if you have any of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes or you’re worried you may have a higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes,” advises the NHS.
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