Glucose is an essential nutrient that serves as fuel in your body.
Healthy balance of blood glucose is essential, to keep the body running smoothly.
Blood glucose is also called blood sugar or termed as sugar.
Persistent high blood sugar levels result in Diabetes.
If left untreated, it can cause serious damage to your body organs.
Your body processes the food that you eat, and converts it into Glucose.
Glucose can’t be used as fuel until it enters each cell.
As the food gets processed, glucose levels in the blood rise, this triggers pancreas to produce a hormone called Insulin. Insulin enables body cells to open up and use glucose for energy.
Cells communicate with substances like hormones through receptors. Receptors are protein molecule on the surface of a cell.
Receptor on a cell wall is like a lock. Insulin binds on the cell surface and unlocks it, allowing glucose to enter.
As glucose gets used by the cells, your blood sugar level comes down.
Insulin plays an important role in optimum utilization of glucose, in the body.
Unused blood glucose is stored in the liver as Glycogen, to be used in the time of emergency.
There is another hormone called Glucagon, produced in the pancreas. That helps release stored glucose from the liver when the blood sugar levels are low due to long gap between meals.
Insulin and glucagon work together to balance your blood sugar levels. It is due to disturbance in the production of these hormones, that the system is thrown out of balance.
This could happen if the pancreas are diseased or the ability to produce insulin is weakened.
Also due to insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance is when cells in your body don’t respond well to insulin and are unable to use glucose, the blood sugar levels stay high, pancreas keep making more and more insulin.
Over a period of time pancreas get weakened due to overworking.
As a consequence, the glucose that enters the circulation from various sources, is removed very slowly from the blood, causing a buildup of glucose, also called hyperglycemia.
If you don’t make the required changes, your body won’t be able to cope up, and your blood sugar will keep rising until you reach a high risk pre-diabetic state, if ignored, it will progress into type2 diabetes.
Other factors that cause high blood sugar
* Certain medicine may raise your blood sugar level
*Missing a dose of your diabetes medicine.
*Snacking on too much concentrated carbohydrates between meals, and the body’s inability to properly use glucose.
Symptoms of high sugar levels
Lack of concentration.
Increased urination and thirst.
High blood sugar goes into the kidneys and urine. This attracts more water causing frequent urination and more thirst.
When cells don’t get enough glucose, they burn muscle and fat for energy resulting in weight loss.
Weakness and loss of strength.
Wounds take long to heal.
Increased thirst and hunger.
Emergency symptoms you should not ignore.
· shortness of breath
· rapid heart beat
· confusion and disorientation
Diabetics are also at a risk of Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels).
Hypoglycemia is a dangerous state, as too low blood sugar can lead to seizure or fainting.
If not treated, it can be fatal.
Low blood sugar may manifest in people with diabetes who are taking insulin or certain other medicines to control diabetes.
Not eating enough food or waiting too long between meals, exercising too much, drinking too much alcohol, can also cause hypoglycemia.
You must know the symptoms of low sugar.
*feeling uneasy nervous or anxious.
A blood sugar level below 54 mg/dl calls for an immediate action.
As soon as you sense you have low blood sugar, eat a snack that contains sugar.
Get medical help right away if the person cannot be woken up.
What is normal blood glucose level?
Your fasting glucose level :-
less than 100 mg/dl is normal
100mg/dl to 125mg/dl is pre-diabetes
above 126mg/dl is diabetes
Post prandial that is 2 hrs after a meal:-
less than 140mg/dl is normal
between 140mg/dl to 200mg/dl is prediabetes
above 200mg/dl is diabetes
Keep a glucometer kit handy and you must know how to use it
“Understanding your body mechanism can help prevent and control diabetes, and Save Life”
There are 2 types of chronic diabetes.
Type 1 and
So far you have understood type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes: a condition in which body produces little or no insulin, and the patient is insulin dependent.
In type 1 diabetes insulin producing cells of the pancreas are destroyed by the immune system due to genetic factors, which cause reduction in insulin production or even no insulin production at all .
As a result sugar levels are high. Early onset symptoms start showing before the age 20.
This is managed with insulin injections.
10% of the diabetic patients suffer from type 1 diabetes.
Guidelines for a diabetic diet
Nutrition plays an important role in the prevention and management of diabetes.
A basic knowledge of nutrition is very essential for everyone.
Nutritional requirements of a diabetic are same as everyone else.
Under-nutrition is as bad as obesity in diabetes.
However, it is difficult for a diabetic to metabolize these nutrients as efficiently as non-diabetic person.
Hence, the diet needs to be modified to some extent.
The following three macronutrients are a part of any diet
Carbohydrates are a major macronutrient and one of body’s primary source of energy.
Carbs account for 60% to 65% of your body’s energy needs.
Concentrated carbs also called simple carbs, cause surge in blood sugar levels.
Simple carbs like Sugar, candies, cookies, pastry, honey, soda, baked treats and fruit juice concentrates should be strictly avoided in your daily diet.
These carbs are consumed only in hypoglycemic condition when your blood sugar levels go too low and you need to fix quickly. They are absorbed quickly and enter the blood stream, increasing the blood sugar levels rapidly.
Complex carbs are starches that make the bulk in a diabetic diet. These carbs take time to get digested and absorbed thus release glucose gradually and these get utilized fairly efficiently,
Complex carbs pack in more nutrients. They are high in fibre and also keep you full for longer time. They are good for weight loss.
Complex carbs are ideal for people with type 2 diabetes as they help manage sugar spikes after meals.
Complex carbs are key to long term health, as they are nutrient dense.
The carbohydrate content of rice and wheat is quite similar. However rice has less fibre.
Carbs are made up of 3 components, fibre, starch and sugar. Fibre and starch are complex carbs while sugar is a simple carb.
A high, complex carb diet carries large amounts of fibre resulting in the reduction of high calories intake. High fibre diets are beneficial for diabetics.
There are indications that fibre can reduce the insulin or oral drug requirement. Fibre can also lower the cholesterol and fats in the blood.
High fibre diets are great for weight loss.
The beneficial effects of fibre can help in lowering of fasting and post meal blood sugars and helps lower insulin dosages.
Protein provides the body with essential amino acids.
Protein requirement is about 1gram of protein per kg of ideal bodyweight.
About 15 to 20 % of the total calories should be obtained from proteins.
Protein foods help to sustain the level of blood glucose in the fasting state. And ward off hypoglycemia.
About 20 to 25 percent of the calories in your diet are obtained from fats.
The type of fat in the diet is significant, which can be derived from each type of fats rich in polyunsaturated, monosaturated, and saturated fats.
You can refer to this link for detailed information on saturated and unsaturated fats also how to lower your cholesterol.
Keep your diet low in cholesterol and saturated fats, as diabetes makes you vulnerable to vascular disease.
The total intake of cholesterol should not be more than 250 to 300mg per day.
Consultation with a dietician, familiar with diabetes treatment, along with regular follow up, can have a long term outcome.
The nutrition plan must be individualized to meet the needs of a person with diabetes, depending on the type of diabetes and medication that he is taking.
It can also be based on the personal preferences in order to maintain the pleasure of eating, while also keeping in mind, the total calories required, for weight loss or maintenance and the primary goal to achieve the normal regulation of blood glucose.
Research suggests that people with type 2 diabetes can lower their sugar levels with keto diet.
A ketogenic diet is a high fat, moderate protein and very low carbohydrates diet that may help in supporting blood sugar.
You can check this link for details on keto diet.
PS: Do not follow keto diet without consulting your doctor if you have diabetes.
Diabetic care plan -
*Exercise is mandatory. 30 minutes to an hour of walking for people with diabetes will help muscles to absorb more blood sugar, preventing a buildup in the blood stream thus help in reducing blood glucose level.
You can do any form of exercise from yoga to high intensity workout as per your fitness level, even if you have diabetes. Ensure that you exercise under the guidance of a fitness trainer who knows your medical history.
*make sure your vitamin b12 and vitamin d3 levels are normal.
*keep control on alcohol consumption as high intake can cause hypoglycemia.
*don’t skip your meals and take your diabetes medicines on time.
*keep a check on your blood pressure and cholesterol.
* divide the fat intake equally between saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats* Divide your food into many small meals and snacks to avoid hypoglycemia.
* Keep a blood sugar monitor at home and measure your sugar level regularly.
Poorly managed diabetes can result in many other serious health conditions like…
Higher chances of kidney disease.
This risk can be minimized through good blood glucose level control.
Even little changes can make a huge difference.
You need to be dedicated and consistent with the changes you make.
Incorporate these anti diabetic foods in your daily diet:-
Take green smoothies regularly.
Cinnamon and black pepper help improve insulin function and reduces triglycerides and cholesterol.
Almonds and walnuts in controlled proportion.
Methi seed powder is very powerful in reducing blood sugar.
These are not a substitute for diabetic medicines.
Diabetes is preventable with a proper education, resources, and environment to live a healthy life style.
The dietary habits of an individual are firmly ingrained and sometimes very difficult to alter.
I recommend that the education on healthy diet and its benefits be intensified through the schools and colleges to increase awareness among the young generation.