This Morning: Type 2 diabetes can be 'devastating' says expert
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Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition whereby the pancreas does not produce enough of the hormone insulin. The primary role of insulin is to regulate blood sugar – the main type of sugar found in blood. Uncontrolled blood sugar levels can cause a cascade of problems so people with diabetes are urged to seek alternative means of lowering high blood sugar.
Diet acts as a bulwark against high blood sugar levels by slowing the rate at which foods are broken down into blood glucose (sugar).
Certain foods are more proficient at this than others.
In fact, specific fruits can actually lead to sharp rises in blood sugar because they are broken down more quickly into glucose.
Foods are those that are quickly broken down into glucose rank high on the glycaemic index (GI).
The GI is 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.
“High GI foods break down very quickly causing blood glucose levels to rise sharply,” warns Diabetes.co.uk.
The health body explains: “People with diabetes refer to sharp rises in blood sugar levels as ‘spikes’ in blood sugar.”
So, what are the worst culprits?
Higher GI fruits include bananas, oranges, mango, grapes, raisins, dates and pears.
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According to Diabetes.co.uk, “care should be taken” when eating high GI fruits.
Instead, you should opt for lower GI fruits, which include berries, plums, kiwi fruit and grapefruit.
Low or medium GI foods are broken down more slowly and cause a gradual rise in blood sugar levels over time.
It’s important to note that strictly adhering to the GI index can lead to problems with your diet.
The NHS explains: “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.
“Foods with a high GI are not necessarily unhealthy and not all foods with a low GI are healthy.”
As the health body explains, if you only eat foods with a low GI, your diet may be unbalanced and high in fat.
Research has also shown that the amount of carbohydrate you eat, rather than its GI rating, has the biggest influence on blood glucose levels after meals.
Type 2 diabetes – symptoms to spot
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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