With so much in the media on diet lately – paleo, 5:2, low GI, low carb/high protein, high carb/low protein, Atkins etc… How on earth are we supposed to know what to eat to prevent type 2 diabetes, or, more importantly what caused the problem to start with?
Sugar, fat, carbs, have all had their spot in the limelight, copping the blame for our health woes. But what does the evidence say?
It's not clear whether high fructose corn syrup or extra calories in the form of sucrose (table sugar) are the culprit. But, soft drinks are directly related to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity. Often they are consumed as well as food and may add as many calories as the meal itself into your daily allowance.
Apart from sugary drinks, there is not a single food to blame for diabetes, but rather a whole way of life. Munching on a diet high in refined carbohydrates (white bread, sugary snacks and desserts), red meat, processed meat (sausages, burgers, and the like) and full fat dairy -increases the risk of developing diabetes by 60% – even without considering other risk factors like obesity. It’s thought the Western diet increases whole-body inflammation, which has been linked to insulin resistance- the precursor to type 2.
The challenge is always how do interpret all these studies that blame one food or another. There are literally dozens of studies that promote or blame almost every single food that we eat. That is clearly unlikely to be the case and we need to find a way to filter this enormous overload of studies saying 'this or that'. The trouble is they are right and wrong…
In simple terms if you are overweight you will increase the chance of going on to develop insulin resistance and that may well lead to diabetes.
The really useful question is, "Why are YOU overweight"? Maybe you drink soft drinks to excess, or eat too much rice? Perhaps you love cakes and candy, or rather, you consume kilograms of meat every week? Maybe you drink too much alcohol?
Whatever it is that YOU do - that is what YOU need to change. Weight gain is a personal experience and to lose weight, improve insulin resistance and maybe reverse diabetes it needs a personal solution.
Please see the following articles for more information:
Carbohydrate counting, or carb counting, is a method of calculating the grams of carbohydrate consumed at meals and snack times. As I’ve mentioned, when you have diabetes, the carbohydrates that you eat can have the greatest effect on your blood glucose levels. By counting how much carbohydrate you have across a day, can really help you with managing your blood glucose levels and to keep them in a normal range. Also, by spreading your carbohydrate foods evenly across the day, can help maintain your energy levels and keep your blood glucose levels within your target range.
In a person with diabetes who takes insulin, you will need to consider what foods you are eating, and how much carbohydrate are in those foods. Understanding carbohydrate portions can make this a whole lot easier.
One serving of carbohydrate is measured as 15 grams. A food that contains 15 grams of carbohydrate is also called “one portion of carbohydrate” or simply “one portion.” You can use portions of carbohydrates to help with your carb counting.
Your doctor may set you an amount of allowable amount of carbohydrates you can consume in a day, this will depend on your age, if you’re trying to lose weight, and your activity levels. Generally speaking, Dr Sultan recommends 10-12 portions for men and 6-9 portions for women.
Let’s look at a brief example: Dr Sultan may recommend for you to have 10 portions of carbohydrates across the day. 10 portions are equal to 150g of carbohydrate. Knowing that you can have 10 portions can make it easier for you to spread your carbohydrates evenly throughout the day. It may also help to prevent you from going overboard and having too many carbohydrates, which could cause a spike in your blood glucose levels.
Example of allowable carbohydrates per day: 10 portions or 150g
|Breakfast||Morning Tea||Lunch||Afternoon Tea||Dinner||Supper|
|3 portions||1 portions||3 portions||1 portions||2 portions||0 portions|
Check out How to reduce carbohydrates in your diet.
If you have heard of the “Diabetic Diet,” we have written an article about it. If you’re interested in history, check out our article that includes when it began and how it has changed.
If you want to learn more about diabetes, we have dedicated information pages:
Carbohydrate counting and understanding how many carbohydrate portions you should eat in a day, is covered in our 12-week program. The program is personalised, giving you more of the content that you want to see. When you sign up, you receive the first week free!