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We can take control of our diabetes or diabetes can control us





Diabetes management typically requires proactive efforts and lifestyle changes. Taking a passive approach or doing the bare minimum may not effectively control blood sugar levels or prevent complications associated with diabetes.


Diabetes is a chronic medical condition when the body cannot properly regulate blood sugar (glucose) levels. There are two main types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2.

In Type 1 diabetes, the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Insulin is a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar by allowing glucose to enter cells for energy. Without insulin, blood sugar levels can rise to dangerous levels.


There is a genetic predisposition to Type 1 diabetes, and certain environmental factors, such as viral infections, may trigger the autoimmune response in susceptible individuals.

Type 2 diabetes is characterized by insulin resistance, where the body's cells do not respond effectively to insulin. This forces the pancreas to produce more insulin to compensate.


There is a vital genetic component to Type 2 diabetes, and family history can play a role. However, lifestyle factors such as poor diet, lack of physical activity, obesity, and age also contribute significantly to the development of Type 2 diabetes. Conditions associated with metabolic syndrome, such as high blood pressure and abnormal cholesterol levels, are often linked to Type 2 diabetes.

Some women may develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can affect insulin function, leading to elevated blood sugar levels.

Certain medical conditions, such as pancreatic diseases or hormonal disorders, can also cause diabetes.


A vegetarian diet, particularly one rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, tends to be high in fiber. Fiber can help regulate blood sugar levels by slowing down glucose absorption.

A well-balanced vegetarian diet is often lower in saturated fats, which can benefit heart health. People with diabetes are at a higher risk of cardiovascular complications.

Plant-based proteins, such as those from beans and lentils, can be part of a healthy diet for individuals with diabetes. They often come with fewer saturated fats compared to some animal-based proteins.

While carbohydrates are an essential part of any diet, controlling the intake of refined carbohydrates and opting for whole grains can help manage blood sugar levels.

Regular physical activity can enhance insulin sensitivity, allowing cells to better respond to insulin and helping to regulate blood sugar levels.


Exercise plays a crucial role in weight management, and maintaining a healthy weight is essential for preventing and managing Type 2 diabetes. Physical activity is beneficial for cardiovascular health, which is particularly important for individuals with diabetes as they have an increased risk of heart-related complications.Exercise can help reduce stress levels; stress management is essential for overall well-being and diabetes management.

While a vegetarian diet and exercise are positive lifestyle choices, it's necessary to work with healthcare professionals to develop a personalized plan for diabetes management. Health status, medication, and other medical conditions should be considered.


Monitoring blood sugar levels, regular medical check-ups, and following medical advice are crucial to diabetes management. Always consult a healthcare provider or a registered dietitian for personalized advice based on your specific health needs. We can't improve our health by doing nothing!



References:


Barnard, N. D., Cohen, J., Jenkins, D. J. A., Turner-McGrievy, G., Gloede, L., Green, A., ... & Ferdowsian, H. (2009). A low-fat vegan diet and a conventional diabetes diet in the treatment of type 2 diabetes: a randomized, controlled, 74-wk clinical trial. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 89(5), 1588S-1596S. DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.26736H


Kahleova, H., Tura, A., Hill, M., Holubkov, R., & Barnard, N. D. (2018). A plant-based dietary intervention improves beta-cell function and insulin resistance in overweight adults: a 16-week randomized clinical trial. Nutrients, 10(2), 189. DOI: 10.3390/nu10020189


Colberg, S. R., Sigal, R. J., Fernhall, B., Regensteiner, J. G., Blissmer, B. J., Rubin, R. R., ... & Braun, B. (2010). Exercise and type 2 diabetes: the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Diabetes Association: joint position statement. Diabetes Care, 33(12), e147-e167. DOI: 10.2337/dc10-9990


Snowling, N. J., & Hopkins, W. G. (2006). Effects of different modes of exercise training on glucose control and risk factors for complications in type 2 diabetic patients: a meta-analysis. Diabetes Care, 29(11), 2518-2527. DOI: 10.2337/dc06-1317


American Diabetes Association. (n.d.). Lifestyle Management: Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes—2023. Diabetes Care, 46(Supplement 1), S112-S120. DOI: 10.2337/dc23-S009

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. (n.d.). Healthy Eating Plate & Healthy Eating Pyramid. Link

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