Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when there is too much sugar in the blood. Its origin is in the pancreas, which must produce enough insulin to allow glucose to enter the body and be transported to the cells, where it is transformed into energy. When insufficient insulin is secreted, the blood glucose level increases and this can end up causing health problems.
According to the Spanish Diabetes Society (SED), there are more than 6 million diabetics in Spain, although more than half are undiagnosed. This disease especially affects the heart, kidneys and blood vessels. That’s why it is important to control it. Although it has no cure, with the right treatment and some lifestyle changes it is possible to lead a healthy life. In addition, 50% of cases of diabetes can be prevented (SED).
There are two types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is a chronic childhood disease and there is no known way to prevent it. Type 2 diabetes appears in adults, and increasingly in adolescents, and in most cases is related to obesity. This is the most frequent type and, along with taking certain medicines, a change in lifestyle can be very effective in preventing it.
A rigorous physical exercise plan is the strategy giving the best results, as it helps people to lose weight and reduces their blood sugar levels, in addition to increasing their sensitivity to insulin. For exercise to be effective, you need to exercise in a moderate way almost every day of the week, for at least 150 minutes a week.
The first step is to avoid junk food, sugary drinks, desserts and in general any food with a high sugar or fat content. If you are going to eat fat, it should be monounsaturated fat which is found in items such as olive oil, nuts and avocados. For those with a sweet tooth, not all is lost as natural sweeteners suitable for diabetics are available, such as stevia or coconut sugar.
Fibre helps to lower the glycaemic index and reduces the risk of heart disease. Therefore, it must play an important part in any diet, eating about 14 grams per 1000 calories consumed. Foods such as fruit, vegetables, whole grains or nuts themselves can provide the necessary fibre.
We must control our alcohol consumptionand reduce the amount of salt we eat to lose weight. It also helps to eat food in smaller, rationed portions, so that means no binge eating. The goal should be to lose about 7% of your body weight.
In the end, it is about leading a healthy and balanced lifestyle. That means no lazing around and no going over the top, and it also involves depriving yourself of certain treats that may prove very costly in the end.