To control diabetes with dieting and exercise is something that every diabetic is tasked with because the alternative is bleak. Medications or insulin shots can only do so much. Diet and exercise allow you to lessen the effects of diabetes on your body and life and help you thrive even with this diagnosis. In the case of type 2 diabetes, diet and exercise may even allow you to reverse this type of diabetes. Get in the game. Fight for your life and health.
Not taking a proactive approach to diabetes treatment will lead to kidney disease, heart disease, blindness, high blood pressure, stroke, infections and wounds that are slow to heal or never heal, limb amputation and even falling into a diabetic coma when severe. Controlling diabetes with diet and exercise is one of the best ways to ensure that this is not your present and future.
But you need not be afraid or feel powerless because simple changes to your lifestyle can produce amazing results and you will be able to live a long and productive life even if you have the more serious type 1 diabetes which is not curable or preventable.
1. Controlling Diabetes with Diet
The word “diet” has such negative connotations and at the mere mention of it, many people recoil. At the mention of the word, most people think it means that you won’t be able to eat anything you like, or anything delicious, or will be starving and so forth.
But when a diet for diabetes is talked about, it simply means a well thought out plan for eating. In some cases, you may even be able to still eat some “bad” foods on occasion as long as you are aware of how they will impact your diabetic eating plan and what adjustments you may need to make when you eat these “bad” foods so that your blood sugar levels do not go crazy and cause you problems. Don’t miss reading these dangerous dieting mistakes and how to avoid them.
In addition, creating a proper diabetes eating plan will help you get a better understanding of how various foods impact blood sugar levels which will help you make the decision on which foods to eliminate and which to include. For instance, soft drinks, refined grains, etc, have been shown to increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and also increasing inflammation in the body. Knowing this will help you make the choice to eliminate soft drinks (regular and diet) and hopefully encourage you to drink more water and to select complex carbs in placed of processed foods made from refined grains.
It is important to remember that a healing diabetes diet will vary from one diabetic to another. You have to find the diet that will work for you. Some diabetics may be able to eat certain foods whereas another many have to eliminate that food. There isn’t one diet that will work in all cases. One may need to follow a low fat, high carbohydrate diet while another may need to follow a low carbohydrate, high vegetable diet, etc. Find what works for you.
While you may be confused about what to eat and what to avoid, you should be prepared to experiment with various recommended foods to see which ones raise your blood sugar levels and which ones help to normalize it.
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To find which foods are best for controlling blood sugar, you need to monitor your blood sugar levels for a period of time such as two to three weeks. Measure your blood glucose levels first thing in the morning, after breakfast, after meals as well as snacks and also before you go to bed. Also measure the sugar levels before and after physical activity.
Once you have an understanding of how your blood sugar levels are affected, you will then be in a better position to create a diet plan that works for you and helps heal your body naturally.
a. High Protein/Low Carbohydrate Diet
It is true that you can lose weight with this type of diet but you run a high risk of kidney disease. Honestly, these diets are not a healthy diet for type 2 diabetes.
Any diet that cuts out foods like fruit, vegetables and whole grains shouldn’t be considered seriously. People on low carbohydrate diets lose more water than fat and the weight usually returns after they resume normal eating. Stay away from them!
b. Good and Bad Fats
Talking about good fats and bad fats can be very confusing. It have been confirmed that some fats can actually protect the body from heart disease and cancer. These kind of fats are known as Omega 6 or Omega 9 fatty acids.
These monounsaturated fats or oils don’t solidify when cooled. Try olive oil, canola oil or flaxseed oil. Fish can supply good fats in the way of Omega 3 oils which are great for your general health. If you are getting around 35% of your calories from fats, you are probably well balanced.
Of a truth vegetable diets can be high in carbohydrates so you do not have to become a vegetarian. However, if you chose to follow a vegetarian diet, just be sure that you include protein food like soybeans, nuts and tofu. Also include plant foods that are high in soluble fiber such as peas, beans, oats and barley to counteract any rise in blood glucose.
You might have heard that calories from fat causes higher blood sugar levels than calories from carbohydrates; this is because in certain persons, foods with a high proportion of animal fat can render insulin less effective. Keep your portions smaller and include vegetables and grains with your high fat foods.
Most diabetes patients have discovered that they can still enjoy a glass of wine with a meal. However, dry wines have less effect on blood sugar than others so stick to dry wines.
2. Controlling Diabetes with Exercise
The other aspect of controlling diabetes is exercise. It is amazing how effective exercise can be against type 2 diabetes especially. The best thing you can do against diabetes is exercise. It is also the least expensive when you consider how much you have to spend on diabetes medications, insulin injections, etc. Effective exercise can be as simple as a walk or run, swimming, dancing, cycling, etc.
Moderate exercise performed consistently that leads to modest weight loss has been shown to prevent insulin resistance that can lead to pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes.
Those who have diabetes also benefit from regular exercise as exercise can not only help control blood glucose levels but can also help prevent serious complications from diabetes.
Exercising regularly is one of the best ways to improve insulin sensitivity. Insulin resistance is one of the main issues with the development of type 2 diabetes and results from the body not recognizing the insulin that is produced by the body which keeps glucose in the blood and not removed from the blood and transferred to the cells where it is needed for energy which ends up starving the cells in the body.
By improving insulin sensitivity with the help of exercise, this glucose will be removed from the blood by insulin and transferred to the cells and used more efficiently by the cells without any issues which will help to manage blood glucose levels.
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Exercise (and diet) is also the best way to control weight. Type 2 diabetes has reached epidemic levels and the main culprit is obesity as it has been found that at least 80 percent of type 2 diabetes patients and those with pre-diabetes have been found to be obese. It is believed that obesity can lead to insulin resistance which increases the risk of developing pre-diabetes and type II diabetes.
It is also important to monitor blood sugar levels before and after exercise. If you have type I diabetes, you will need to make sure that you do not overly exert yourself to the point of becoming hypoglycemic which is a state of low blood sugar. Low blood sugar can lead to fatigue, dizziness, sweating, headaches, trembling and if severe, consciousness can be lost as well as falling into a coma.
Those with type II diabetes though they have more leeway with exercise, should still monitor their blood sugar levels before and after exercise.
If you are on medication, you need to work with your doctor to make the necessary adjustments to your exercise regimen. In addition, diabetics who deal with neuropathy need to ensure that the nerve endings in the feet are protected. High impact running or jogging may not be advised in cases of neuropathy.
Dehydration is another area for diabetics to be concerned about when exercising since frequent urination is one of the symptoms of diabetes. High impact exercise can also affect the capillaries in the eyes that have been weakened by diabetes. If you have eye problems due to diabetes, make sure that the exercise selected will not make vision problems worse or cause rapture which can occur especially if you use weights.
Helpful tips: List of foods people with diabetes should eat more
Talk to your doctor before beginning any exercise program and set realistic goals in order to avoid too high or too low blood sugar levels as well as the other issues that exercise may cause in people with diabetes. Start small and gradually build up.
Exercise is an important component of diabetes management and many of its other benefits include helping to lower blood pressure, raising good cholesterol (HDL) levels, strengthening bones, toning the heart and other muscles, eliminating stress, weight loss, strengthening the respiratory system, etc. Do it no matter how you feel. You will feel better and after you finish you will fill like you can conquer the world including diabetes.