Type 2 Diabetes

According to scientific data it is currently estimated that nearly 1 in 10 adults worldwide are now affected by diabetes. Obesity and weight gain particularly from lack of exercise and increased consumption of calories is regarded to be the strongest risk factor for metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

Eighty percent (80%) of diabetics would not have the disease and would have a normal blood sugar level if they had a healthy weight. ​

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the pancreas doesn’t release enough of the hormone, insulin, or when the body’s cells stop reacting to insulin as they should. We need insulin to help the body metabolise glucose for use as energy, either as in immediate response or to store it for future energy needs. Check out this video that explains Type 2 Diabetes over on the Diabetes Ireland website.

When type 2 diabetes prevails, sugar (glucose) stays in the blood and isn’t used as fuel for energy. The cause of these defects remains controversial it begs the question of where a sugar rich diet fits into this equation, scan the internet and you will see a lot of conflicting information.

Is sugar the devil?

At a molecular level, fructose is a monosaccharide that when combined with the monosaccharide glucose forms the disaccharide sucrose, what we know as table sugar or simply “sugar”. The “added” sugars in processed food, in particular fructose, can contribute to obesity, but also appear to possibly have properties that increase diabetes risk independently from obesity. While sucrose is commonly used in processed foods and beverages its predominance has recently been surpassed by another sweetener, high-fructose corn syrup. Many recent studies have implicated “added” sugars such as sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in the development of diabetes and related metabolic conditions that can also raise cardiovascular risk. It is currently thought that added fructose may pose the greatest risk to our health, while glucose can be broken down and utilised by just about every cell in the human body, fructose cannot. Fructose instead is processed and stored in the liver as a back-up energy source called glycogen.

So is your apple a day killing you? No. Before you start worrying about the fructose in your fruit and vegetables, whole foods that contain fructose in contrast pose no problem for health and are in fact most likely protective against diabetes and adverse cardiovascular outcomes. HFCS commonly contains up to 65% fructose representing nearly 50% of the sweetener’s weight. In comparison, the fructose in a fresh fruit represents only about 1% of the fruit’s weight, far less. Additionally the fructose found in fruit and vegetables is accompanied by a host of beneficial nutrients; the water, fibre and antioxidants in whole fruit all provide protective health benefits.

How to take action?

Given the impact diabetes can have in terms of morbidity and mortality, interest in the prevention and treatment of the disease continues to soar in both the public and medical community. Multi factorial lifestyle intervention shows great potential in preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes in high-risk individuals. A strong focus should be placed on increased physical activity and dietary modification as well as weight reduction. We all need to get exercising, stop overeating and make sure we maintain a healthy weight. Ensuring our energy intake through calories and daily expenditure is balanced is the key to preventing weight gain.

Luckily for us there is no biological need for added sugars in the diet, particularly those containing fructose. While avoiding processed foods altogether would be ideal, this rationale seems unlikely given the current saturation of processed foods in our diets. Instead we should aim to where possible replace processed foods with whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables, and substitute white refined carbohydrates with their lower GI, whole grain equivalents. Beverage products containing HFCS should be eliminated from the diet, if carbonated drinks are something you cannot quit look for those sweetened instead with natural sweeteners such as Stevia and Xylitol, both of which have no effect on blood sugar.

Here at Motivation Weight Management our team of consultants can help both patients already diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and also those at risk or who may have been diagnosed as being in the early stages of diabetes known as “insulin resistance” or “pre-diabetes”. Through a combination of a healthy weight loss and our eating plans which are based on a low sugar diet rich in protein and low in saturated fat, the clock can be stopped.

In addition, our weight loss programmes designed by Doctor Larocque address not only the physical addiction to food that many of our patients present with but also the underlying psychological issues too. Unlike many other diet programmes, Motivation Weight Management is unique in that it actually gets to the root of the problem once and for all.

Blog Post by Jodie Wood