Can You Get Rid of Diabetes?
Managing diabetes is a critical journey toward maintaining a healthy and balanced life, requiring careful attention to diet, exercise, medication and regular monitoring. In this article, we're looking at the different types of diabetes, from 1 to 2 to gestational, and diving into unique tests like Viome tests, which focus on analyzing gut microbiome for personalized nutrition, and 5Strands Smart Labs, specializing in identifying food sensitivities and intolerances.
Best and Worst Foods for Diabetes
Here are some guidelines for the best and worst foods for diabetes:
Worst Foods for Diabetes
- Sugary Foods and Beverages: Avoid sugary drinks, candy, pastries and desserts. They can cause rapid spikes in blood sugar levels.
- Processed Carbohydrates: Refrain from consuming refined carbohydrates like white bread, sugary cereals and packaged snacks. These can lead to quick spikes in blood sugar.
- Trans Fats and Saturated Fats: Limit foods high in trans fats (often found in processed and fried foods) and saturated fats (found in fatty cuts of meat, full-fat dairy and some processed foods) as they can contribute to insulin resistance and heart issues.
- Highly Processed Foods: These often contain hidden sugars, unhealthy fats and excessive sodium. Check food labels and aim for minimally processed options.
- Large Portion Sizes: Overeating, even of healthy foods, can lead to elevated blood sugar levels. Practice portion control and listen to your body's hunger cues.
- Sweetened Beverages: Regular consumption of sugary sodas and fruit juices can cause significant blood sugar spikes. Choose water, herbal tea or sugar-free options instead.
Best Foods for Diabetes
- Non-Starchy Vegetables: These include leafy greens, peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower and more. They are low in carbohydrates and rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals.
- Whole Grains: Choose whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat bread and oats. They have a lower glycemic index and provide sustained energy.
- Lean Proteins: Opt for lean protein sources like skinless poultry, fish, tofu, legumes and beans. Protein can help stabilize blood sugar levels.
- Healthy Fats: Include sources of healthy fats like avocados, nuts, seeds and olive oil. These fats can improve insulin sensitivity and support heart health.
- Fruits (in moderation): Choose fruits with a lower glycemic index such as berries, cherries, apples and pears. Remember to monitor portion sizes.
- Low-Fat Dairy: Select low-fat or non-fat dairy products like yogurt and milk. These can provide essential nutrients without excessive saturated fat.
Insulin produced by cells within the pancreas helps convert the sugar from your food into energy or store it for later use. If diabetes is not carefully managed, it can lead to dangerously high blood sugar levels. This can cause damage to organs within the body, including the eyes and kidneys, as well as causing nerve damage. Untreated diabetes can also lead to severe complications, such as heart disease and stroke.
But, can you get rid of diabetes? Let’s find out.
Types of Diabetes
There are two types of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2, and each type is managed differently.
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes, or insulin-dependent diabetes, is an autoimmune disease, meaning that your body's immune system attacks the cells within your pancreas. These cells are destroyed, preventing your body's production of insulin. If you have Type 1 diabetes, you will have to administer daily insulin injections to ensure that your blood sugar levels remain controlled.
Roughly 10% of all people with diabetes have Type 1. While it is not clear what exactly leads to the body's autoimmune attack, scientists believe that your genetics may play a role and that the condition may be triggered by an environmental factor, such as a virus.
Type 1 diabetes is typically diagnosed in childhood or early adolescence; however, it can affect people of all ages.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is more commonly diagnosed in middle-aged and older adults. However, its occurrence is increasing in young children due to the effects of unhealthy lifestyles. If you have Type 2 diabetes, your body will still produce insulin, but your cells will not respond to it appropriately. You may also not produce enough insulin.
While Type 2 diabetes is often more manageable and milder than Type 1, it can also lead to severe complications if left untreated.
Unlike Type 1, the causes of Type 2 diabetes, which accounts for around 90% of diagnosed cases, are more evident. The leading causes are genetics and lifestyle factors. Obesity, excess weight, and a lack of physical activity are the most important risk factors.
Diabetes can also develop during pregnancy, as the body loses its insulin sensitivity. This type of diabetes typically resolves after giving birth.
Can You Get Rid of Diabetes?
While there is currently no cure for diabetes, there are many effective ways of managing the condition. The treatment pathway varies depending on the type of diabetes that you have.
Treatment for Type 1 Diabetes
You can effectively manage Type 1 diabetes by combining daily insulin injections with regular blood sugar monitoring and a healthy diet and exercise plan. Your doctor will be able to work with you to establish a suitable insulin treatment plan. You can administer insulin using a syringe, a pump, or an injection pen into fatty tissue.
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes
Your doctor will recommend lifestyle changes as the first point of treatment for Type 2 diabetics, as a healthy diet and increased physical activity are critical. Eating small, well-balanced meals throughout the day can help to stabilize blood sugar levels. You should include plenty of fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, lean protein, and whole grains.
For patients who are overweight or obese, weight loss is essential. It can even help put Type 2 diabetes into remission. For obese patients, a doctor may offer weight loss surgery in combination with healthy lifestyle modifications.
If lifestyle changes are unsuccessful, there are several prescription medications available. These medications, including metformin, glinides, and DPP-4 inhibitors, work in different ways to lower the blood sugar level. If treatment with a single drug is not effective, then your doctor may prescribe a combination of several medications.
Sometimes, Type 2 diabetics also need insulin therapy. As with Type 1 diabetes, you must carefully monitor your blood glucose levels at regular intervals.
Treatment for Gestational Diabetes
Pregnant women with gestational diabetes will work closely with their doctor to formulate a treatment plan that will likely focus on diet modifications.