Diabetes is one of the biggest health concerns today. The therapies used today in order to cure diabetes are limited to helping the body maintain a healthy sugar level. The most commonly known treatment is the injection of insulin to the body in order to supplement the naturally supplied insulin from the pancreas and to stimulate the cells’ response to the substance. Note that insulin is a very important hormone that helps in the metabolism and balance of sugar in the body.

The approach to treating diabetes may depend on which type a person’s case falls under. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the cells in the pancreas responsible for producing insulin. It can be triggered by genetic markers but environment factors like diet and viruses can also cause the onset of type 1 diabetes. Insulin-dependent diabetes, as it was previously called, usually happens in people aged 40 or below and will require the injection of insulin several times in a day.

Type 2 or late-onset diabetes happens when the body cells have become resistant to insulin. This is also accompanied with the insufficient production of insulin. People with a family history of type 2 diabetes have higher risk of developing the disease as well. But studies have shown that a person’s lifestyle have great influence over the disease; it can also work the other way around and reduce a person’s risk despite being genetically predisposed.

The usual aphorism for the fight against any disease is “prevention is better than cure.” And nothing can have as much value as avoiding the things in terms of diet that may lead to an increased risk of developing diseases. Specific types of foods and habits have been linked to the development of diabetes. A study from the Harvard School of Public Health showed that drinking sweetened-beverages increases the risk of diabetes by 26 percent.

Sweetened Drinks Can Increase Diabetes Risk

A team of researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health analyzed the data from 11 earlier studies on diabetes risk. The reports contain information from over 320,000 study participants and it gave the researchers an opportunity to look at the issue from higher grounds. Vasanti Malik, one of the researchers, said that drinking beverages with artificial sweeteners have been consistently linked to metabolic syndromes and the development of diabetes in the different studies that they analyzed. They included drinking vitamin and energy drinks, iced tea, fruit drinks, and soft drinks in their study while removing pure fruit juices with no added artificial sweeteners from the list. Some examples of risk factors for metabolic syndromes are increased waist size, low good cholesterol levels, high triglycerides, increased blood sugar levels, and high blood pressure. All these metabolic abnormalities increase diabetes risk.

Malik said that, through the massive information that they have gathered from the previous studies, they were able to look at the bigger picture and found consistent evidence. They were able to summarize the studies and have found an average measurement on the link between drinking sweetened beverages and diabetes risk. According to their analysis, people who habitually drinks sweetened drinks with approximately 1 to 2 sweetened beverages in a day have 20 percent higher risk of developing metabolic syndromes and 26 percent higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to the people who only drank the beverage at least once a month or those who totally do not. The study on diabetes included 310,819 participants of which 15,043 had diabetes, while the study on metabolic syndromes had more than 19,400 participants with over 5,800 cases of metabolic syndromes.

According to the American Diabetes Association, over 18 million people in the United States suffer from diabetes and most of them have type 2 diabetes where the body fails to produce sufficient insulin and at the same time fails to respond to it properly. There are several factors that affect the risk of developing diabetes. These include age, weight, ethnicity and family history. The association between drinking artificially sweetened beverages and diabetes lies in the factor of excessive weight gain according to the researchers. This can also lead to the rapid increase in blood sugar and the accumulation of insulin in the blood which promotes insulin resistance in the cells. They added that the study is dedicated to measuring the relations between sweetened beverage and diabetes, and not to establish causation.

Foods to Avoid

The list of foods that a person with diabetes needs to avoid may go all the way down to the food we love eating the most. And the ingredient that one needs to look for before putting something in the shopping cart is sugar, red meat and saturated fat. Common white sugar, for one, is refined sucrose. It is derived from refining cane juice and removing minerals, protein and fiber. Its ability to be easily absorbed into the blood stream without digestion makes it the worst food for people with diabetes. When a person eats white sugar, his blood sugar levels immediately rises. People with efficient insulin production may not have to worry about it. But people with diabetes can experience hypoglycemia, loss of consciousness, insomnia, dizziness and depression.

The intake of excessive saturated fats may lead to the development of cardiovascular diseases in people with diabetes. Foods with high saturated fats are cocoa butter, coconut oil, palm oil and red meat. Trans-fatty acids from hydrogenated products like margarine can increase not only the risk of diabetes but also heart diseases and even cancer. Trans-fat can also affect the lining of the arteries and result to a 53 percent higher risk of heart attack compared to people who have little or no consumption of the fat. White breads and other products made from white flour needs to be avoided by people with diabetes. White flour is known to contain alloxan which destroys the cells in the pancreas that produces insulin. It causes genetic damage to beta cells and causes them to malfunction and die.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

Tags: , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply