While type 2 diabetes is caused by both genetics and lifestyle choices, it is essential to make good eating choices if you want avoid developing this preventable disease.
After eating, sugar from the digesting food is transported from your stomach into your bloodstream. The amount of sugar, or glucose, in your blood is called your blood sugar or blood glucose levels. Your pancreas produces a hormone called insulin which transports glucose from your blood into your cells to either be used for energy or stored as fat for later use. When you frequently eat foods high in sugar or carbohydrates your blood sugar rises rapidly, causing your body to produce lots of insulin. If your body is constantly producing large amounts of insulin your cells become
to it. Type 2 diabetes, or adult onset diabetes, is an acquired form of diabetes that occurs when your pancreas is not able to produce enough insulin for your blood sugar levels to stay within a healthy range. This is usually because your body becomes resistant to insulin. If you have a fasting blood glucose level of 100-125 mg/dl you are considered pre-diabetic, and if you have a fasting blood glucose level of
or higher you qualify as having diabetes.
On top of all this, when you eat something sugary like desserts or really
like potatoes or white bread your blood sugar spikes quickly, causing your body to release a bunch of insulin at once. Then your cells quickly take in the sugar and your blood sugar falls again, signaling your body that you need more food. This is why you have an energy crash right after a sugar high. However if you eat proteins, complex carbohydrates, and fats your blood sugar will not spike as much or as quickly. This means your blood sugar levels will stay more level and you will be satiated for longer. This is why at we say your breakfast should have enough protein that you are not hungry for four to six hours.
So what foods should you eat to help prevent insulin resistance?
Be mindful of is moderating your carbohydrate consumption. Carbs should account for no more than 40-45%of your daily calorie intake. Like we mentioned before, not all carbohydrates are created equally. Avoidhigh glycemic carbohyderates like potatoes or white bread. Instead choose lower glycemic whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, farro, and barley. These contain more fiber and digest more slowly so you are fuller longer.
Vegetables are your friend, not only are they full of vitamins and minerals, but they are low in calories and carbohydrates. Try to eat whole vegetables, instead of drinking vegetable juice, because fresh veggies are more filling and contain fiber which helps you poop regularly. Make sure you are choosing non-starchy vegetables in a variety of colors, so you get the full spectrum of vitamins and minerals. You should be eating 5 servings of vegetables a day. Some good examples include all leafy greens, broccoli, bell pepper, zucchini, etc.
Fresh fruits are also great, however it is important to remember that fruits contain much more sugar. Aim for 2 servings of fruit a day and select
such as raspberries, blueberries, cherries, and strawberries.
Including healthy fats in your diet is important for increasing insulin sensitivity and reducing inflammation, aim for 30-35% of your daily caloric intake. Select foods with monounsaturated fats like nuts, avocado, and extra virgin olive oil. Flax seeds and fish, especially salmon, mackerel, rainbow trout, herring, and sardines are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Eating wisely is an important step toward preventing insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. It is okay to cheat once in awhile, but try to moderate desserts and high carb foods. It is important to make sure that most of your meals are whole foods that will give your body the fuel it needs to run while not causing huge blood sugar spikes.