How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

January 13, 2024
4 mins read

By Nutrition TeamMonday, July 29, 2013.Approximately
2.5 million people in the UK are known to have diabetes. Most diabetes
cases are type 2, and this is predominantly due to our growing obesity
epidemic. Further to this, there are many people in the UK who suffer
from diabetes but don’t know it. Recent findings from the Royal Hospital
for Children in Bristol have also shown that children are developing
diabetes at an alarming rate.A
recent report by the World Health Organisation predicts the number of
deaths from diabetes will soar by 25% in the next decade. The extensive
study says that 76% of British men and 69% of British women, over the
age of 30; are overweight.What is diabetes?Individuals
with diabetes have too much glucose (sugar) in their blood because the
body is unable to use it effectively. This is because the body’s method
of converting glucose into energy is not functioning properly.Normally,
a hormone called insulin carefully controls the amount of glucose in
our blood. Insulin is made by a gland called the pancreas, which lies
just behind the stomach. It helps the glucose to enter the cells where
it is used as fuel by the body. We obtain glucose from the food that we
eat, either from sweet foods or from the breakdown of starchy foods such
as bread or potatoes. After a meal, the blood glucose level rises and
insulin is released into the blood. When the blood glucose level falls,
for example after an overnight fast, the level of insulin falls.
Insulin, therefore, plays a vital role in regulating the level of blood
glucose and, in particular, in stopping the glucose from rising too
high.There are two main types of diabetesType 1 diabetes
(insulin dependent diabetes or early-onset diabetes) develops when
there is a severe lack of insulin in the body because most or all of the
cells in the pancreas that produce it have been destroyed. This type of
diabetes usually appears in people under the age of 40 with healthy
weights. It is treated by insulin injections and diet.Type 2 diabetes
(non insulin dependent diabetes or late-onset diabetes) develops when
the body can still produce some insulin or when the insulin produces is
not recognised properly by the cells in the body. This type of diabetes
usually appears in overweight people over the age of 40 but alarmingly,
it is becoming increasingly common in 20 – 40 year olds. It is treated
by diet alone, or by a combination of diet and tablets, or by a
combination of diet and insulin injections.Symptoms of diabetesIncreased thirstExcessive urinationFeeling very tiredLosing weight rapidly without explanationGenital itching or regular episodes of thrushBlurred visionType 2 diabetes
develops slowly and the symptoms are usually less severe. Some people
may not notice any symptoms at all and their diabetes is only picked up
in a routine medical check up.Type 1 diabetes
develops much more quickly; usually over a few weeks, and symptoms are
normally very obvious. In both cases of diabetes, the symptoms quickly
settle down once the diabetes is treated. Early treatment will also
reduce the chances of developing serious health problems.If any of the following factors apply to you, you may be more at risk of developing diabetes:A family history of diabetesBeing between the age of 40 and 75Being very overweightOf Asian or Afro-Caribbean originWomen who have had a baby weighing more than 4 kilos (8 lbs 8oz)The
major danger with diabetes is that people with the disease are at a
much greater risk from heart disease and strokes. This problem is
compounded by the fact that many people are not aware of it.One
of the groups highest at risk are women aged 40 – 59 with diabetes, who
are up to eight times more likely to die from cardiovascular disease.
The risk for men is five-fold. Taking simple measures like maintaining a
normal body weight and taking regular exercise, such as walking briskly
for at least half an hour a day, helps to reduce the risk of developing
both cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.Here are some healthy eating tips to help prevent and control type 2 diabetes:

regular meals based on low Gi complex carbohydrates such as wholegrain
bread, pasta, new potatoes, brown or basmati rice and wholegrain
cereals. These will help you to control your blood glucose levels.
Always choose high fibre varieties of foods like bread and cereals, as
energy is released more slowly from food and blood sugar levels do not
fluctuate so rapidly.Cut down on fat.
This will also help you to control your weight. Avoid using too much
butter or margarine and switch to a low fat version; eat cheese in small
portions or switch to a low fat product; switch to low fat dairy
products like skimmed milk and low fat yogurt, choose lean cuts of meat
and grill, boil or bake as opposed to frying or roasting; avoid eating
too much cake, biscuits, chocolate or crisps.Reduce the amount of saturated fat you eat (fat from animal products).
This type of fat can raise your cholesterol level and may contribute to
the development of heart disease. Choose mono-unsaturated fats when you
can, for example, olive oil and rapeseed oil. Eating oily fish (such as
salmon or mackerel) at least twice a week will boost intakes of
essential fatty acids.Eat more fruit and vegetables. Aim for at least five portions a day to provide you with vitamins and fibre, and to help you balance your overall diet.Cut down on sugary foods and drinks.
This does not mean you have to eat a completely sugar-free diet
however. Use sugar-free, low sugar or diet squashes and fizzy drinks, as
sugary drinks cause blood glucose levels to rise quickly.Use less salt. A high intake of salt can raise your blood pressure. Try flavouring food with herbs and spices instead of salt.Drink alcohol in moderation.
The recommended intake is two units of alcohol per day for a woman and
three units per day for a man. A small glass of wine or half a pint of
normal-strength beer is one unit. Never drink on an empty stomach, as
alcohol can make hypoglycemia (low blood glucose levels) more likely to
Remember it is vital to see your doctor if you feel you may be at risk
of developing diabetes. If you are diabetic and are interested in
registering, please contact us so we can advise you further on whether
we have a suitable plan for you.                       

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