Low Glycaemic Diet - Does It Help Diabetics?
Diabetes is a group of disorders that affect how your body processes glucose (sugar). Glucose is an energy source for your brain and for the cells inside your muscles and tissues. There are differences among the types of diabetes, their causes, and how they are treated.
When people refer to diabetes, they’re usually talking about type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes, also known as insulin-dependent diabetes or juvenile diabetes, is a chronic condition where your pancreas is unable to make insulin. Without insulin, glucose can’t provide energy to your brain and cells.
Type 1 diabetes usually appears during childhood, but it can sometimes start later in life. There is no cure for this form of diabetes, but it can be effectively managed with medications, lifestyle adjustments, and diet.
In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin. It also prevents cells from absorbing glucose correctly, leading to high blood sugar levels. Serious and potentially fatal health complications can occur if blood sugar is consistently left at higher levels.
Type 2 diabetes, also known as adult-onset diabetes, usually appears later in life but can sometimes occur in children. A large percentage of cases of type 2 diabetes are caused by poor lifestyle choices like eating an unhealthy diet, not getting enough exercise, and being obese. Like type 1 diabetes, there is no cure, but it can be effectively managed.
Diabetes Symptoms and Complications
The signs and symptoms of diabetes tend to come on suddenly and affect urination and your appetite. Common symptoms can include:
- Excessive thirst
- Frequent urination
- Persistent hunger
- Unexplained weight loss
- Blurred vision
- Mood swings
If type-1 diabetes isn’t correctly managed, symptoms can become much more serious and lifechanging. Potential complications include vision loss, kidney disorders, gum disease, heart disease, nerve damage, circulation problems, and stroke.
The symptoms of type 2 diabetes often develop over a long period of time and can sometimes go unnoticed. If a person does become symptomatic, they may experience:
- Increased thirst
- Frequent urination
- Unintended weight loss
- Increased hunger
- Blurry vision
- Recurrent infections
- Tingling and loss of feeling in hands or feet
- Slow healing wounds and sores
- Patches of darkened skin around the neck and armpits
Because type 2 diabetes affects several organs, complications can occur throughout the entire body. The longer blood sugar levels go unmanaged, the higher the risk of developing complications. Complications of type 2 diabetes includes heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, nerve damage, vision loss, skin infections, hearing loss, kidney failure, sleep apnea, and dementia.
It’s important to treat type 1 diabetes as soon as possible to prevent long term health complications from occurring. This is done through taking synthetic forms of insulin either by injection or through an insulin pump. Blood sugar levels need to be frequently checked by type-1 diabetics so that they can administer their insulin when needed.
Most people with type-2 diabetes have to manage their condition with a multipronged approach that can include a healthy diet, moderate exercise, weight loss, blood sugar monitoring, and/or medications.
Exercise is not only a wonderful way to maintain a healthy weight but can also help your body with regulating blood sugar levels. If you’re unable to participate in more strenuous exercise, walking, swimming, and resistance exercises are low impact forms of physical activity that are very effective.
Medications, surgical procedures, or insulin therapy may be the next step in treatment if lifestyle changes aren’t enough to manage type 2 diabetes. In addition to
- Metformin/ Glucophage Tablets: Metformin can be taken by patients with type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes, and by people who are at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
- Byetta(Exenatide): Another type 2 diabetes medication that is most effective when taken alongside a healthy diet and exercise.
- Lantus Insulin: Lantus is a synthetic form of insulin that is mostly prescribed for type 1 diabetes but it can also be used by patients with type 2 diabetes when other medications haven’t worked.
- Vitamin B-12 Supplements: Type 2 diabetics often have lowered levels of vitamin B-12 so taking supplements can boost levels of this essential vitamin.
- Weight Loss Surgery: Procedures like bariatric surgery can help obese people who struggle to lose weight achieve a healthier size.
Low Glycaemic Eating
Another way to help manage diabetes is by eating a low-glycaemic diet (low-GI). The focus of a low-GI eating plan is based around eating foods that affect blood sugar levels. The glycaemic index ranks food from a scale of 1-100, with the lower end of the scale including foods that have little impact on blood glucose levels.
The goal of a low-GI diet is to eat foods that are less likely to raise your blood sugar levels. People following a low-GI diet should aim for foods that have a GI rating of 1-55 like:
- Beans and legumes
- Wheat pasta
- Sunflower seeds
- Low fat yoghurt
- Egg whites
- Lean fish
Foods higher on the glycaemic index should be eaten in moderation, especially carbohydrates. Carbs are broken down by your body and turned into glucose so eating excess carbs can impact your blood sugar levels.
Following a low-GI diet can help you lose weight and keep it off. It can also be used by diabetics as one aspect of their diabetes management plan. However, you should always speak to your healthcare provider before starting any new diet or treatment. It’s also important to note that the glycaemic index does not give information on the nutritional value of the ranked foods. You should always eat a well-balanced diet that gives you the vitamins and nutrients you need for a healthy body.
Diabetics can buy their medications hassle-free online through Pharmacy Planet. In our online pharmacy you will find diabetes treatments like Metformin/Glucophage Tablets, Byetta, and Lantus insulin. To have your diabetes medications delivered to your doorstep, start your consultation with us now.