Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition whereby the body cannot produce enough of the hormone insulin to regulate blood sugar or the insulin it does produce is not absorbed by the cells. Blood sugar is the main type of sugar you get from eating food – it supplies the body with energy but it must be kept within a certain range. High blood sugar levels can unleash a wave of destruction so it is vital to heed the warning signs of creeping blood sugar levels.
There is technically no food group off-limits but you have to watch your carbohydrate intake.
As Harvard Health explains, when people eat a food containing carbohydrates, the digestive system breaks down the digestible ones into sugar, which enters the blood.
In fact, carbohydrate metabolism is important in the development of type 2 diabetes, which occurs when the body can’t make enough insulin or can’t properly use the insulin it makes, notes the health body.
However, not all carbs present the same threat.
Simple carbs, which cover starchy items such as white bread, are broken down more easily so can have a marked effect on blood sugar levels.
Complex carbs, such as wholegrain items, digest more slowly and therefore have a more moderate effect on blood sugar.
The glycaemic index (GI) can help guide you through this risky terrain.
It shows how quickly each food affects your blood sugar (glucose) level when that food is eaten on its own.
Physical exercise helps lower your blood sugar level – you should aim for 2.5 hours of activity a week, advises the NHS.
You can be active anywhere as long as what you’re doing gets you out of breath.
This could be:
- Fast walking
- Climbing stairs
- Doing more strenuous housework or gardening.
How does exercise help?
“Losing weight (if you’re overweight) will make it easier for your body to lower your blood sugar level, and can improve your blood pressure and cholesterol,” explains the NHS.