How can I avoid type 2 di­a­betes?

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - YOUR HEALTH -

Ques­tion: I’ve been told I need to look af­ter my blood sugar lev­els by my GP so I don’t get type 2 di­a­betes. Howdo I do this? Re­gards, David

Di­a­betes is the re­sult of the body not cre­at­ing enough in­sulin to keep blood glu­cose (sugar) lev­els in the nor­mal range. Ev­ery­one needs some glu­cose in their blood, but if it’s too high it can dam­age your body over time. In type 2 di­a­betes, ei­ther the body doesn’t pro­duce enough in­sulin, or the cells in the body don’t recog­nise the in­sulin that is present. The end re­sult, how­ever, is the same: high lev­els of glu­cose in your blood.

For many peo­ple, type 2 di­a­betes can be pre­vented with diet and lifestyle changes.Reg­u­lar move­ment (both aer­o­bic and re­sis­tance) helps to reg­u­late blood glu­cose con­trol as does con­sum­ing a diet rich in plant foods (es­pe­cially veg­eta­bles). Avoid­ing or re­duc­ing re­fined sugar is also im­por­tant; you can sig­nif­i­cantly de­crease your con­sump­tion of re­fined sugar by min­imis­ing your con­sump­tion of pro­cessed or pack­aged foods. Go back to ba­sics – make your own salad dress­ings, sauces and bak­ing as that way you know what the in­gre­di­ents are. Also, in­cor­po­rate good fats such as av­o­cado, raw nuts and seeds in your diet as they slow down the re­lease of glu­cose into your blood stream mean­ing you ac­tu­ally feel sat­is­fied for longer.

Ques­tion: I read about healthy fats but what are these? I thought not eat­ing fat­was best for good health. Or is my in­for­ma­tion out of date? Thank you, Mrs P O’Sul­li­van

Ques­tions have arisen in sci­en­tific cir­cles about whether ex­ces­sive fat in­take is a ma­jor con­tribut­ing fac­tor to the obe­sity epi­demic, heart dis­ease, high blood pres­sure and in the risk of de­vel­op­ing colon can­cer – it is no won­der peo­ple are con­fused and some are shun­ning fats.

The good fats: there are three main cat­e­gories of fats – sat­u­rated fats, mo­noun­sat­u­rated fats and polyun­sat­u­rated fats and all three fats can be ob­tained from eat­ing whole­foods. The bad fats: most con­cern­ing are the trans fats, which are found mainly in pro­cessed foods, es­pe­cially deep­fried foods, pro­cessed cakes, bis­cuits and muesli bars and foods with long shelf lives. Trans fats are cre­ated when some types of polyun­sat­u­rated fats are dam­aged due to heat.

The ra­tio of fats con­sumed can also be a prob­lem. Within the polyun­sat­u­rated cat­e­gory, there are two types of fat – the omega 3s and the omega 6s. A com­mon di­etary er­ror that can have sig­nif­i­cant health con­se­quences is the reg­u­lar over-con­sump­tion of omega 6 fats com­pared to omega 3s. You want to fo­cus on eat­ing less omega 6-rich foods, which

will nat­u­rally hap­pen when you eat less pro­cessed food and more real food.

Re­search sug­gests that the type of fat you eat is ac­tu­ally more im­por­tant than the to­tal amount. Con­sum­ing ad­e­quate fat helps you to man­age your mood, stay alert and even as­sist with weight man­age­ment. Fats are also needed for help­ing us ab­sorb es­sen­tial vi­ta­mins like D, E, K and A, as well as for main­tain­ing healthy skin. They are an in­te­gral part of our im­mu­nity and brain de­vel­op­ment.

Some peo­ple feel good eat­ing plenty of whole­food fats, while oth­ers feel bet­ter with less. No­tice how eat­ing whole­food fats makes you feel and if you ex­pe­ri­ence sugar crav­ings, hav­ing some more healthy fats may help re­duce these crav­ings.

New Zealand’s favourite well­be­ing ex­pert an­swers read­ers’ ques­tions about their health.

PHOTO: 123RF

Av­o­ca­dos con­tain healthy fats.

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