November is American Diabetes Month. This is a great time to increase your awareness of diabetes and how it may impact you or someone you know. Did you know that in 2010, over 26 million persons in the United States had diabetes and an estimated 79 million adults had prediabetes?? Read on to find out more about this disease and how it relates to weight and diet.*
There are two different types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2. Both types cause blood glucose (sugar) levels to rise higher than normal in the blood. 95% of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes, where the body does not use insulin properly. Over time, the body either can’t make enough insulin to keep blood glucose levels normal or the body cannot utilize the insulin that it is producing.
If diabetes is left untreated, it can lead to complications in the eyes (glaucoma, blindness, retinopathy) and feet (neuropathy, foot ulcers, poor circulation), as well as gastro paresis (delayed gastric emptying) to name a few. With proper management of the disease, you can feel good, help to prevent complications, and lead a normal life.
Part of that management is with proper diet and nutrition. Tight blood sugar control is the key to managing diabetes and preventing complications. Eating the right amount of calories, fat, protein and carbohydrates can help to control blood sugar levels and your weight. If your levels are too high or too low, this may mean that it is time to meet with your health care team and adjust your treatment plan.
Another way to help keep blood sugar levels normal is to eat consistent and controlled portions, which will provide appropriate and adequate amounts of carbohydrate, protein, fat and fiber. The new Nutrition Therapy Recommendations for the Management of Adults with Diabetes came out last month. It points out that an individual has to be willing to make the changes necessary when it comes to controlling blood sugar levels. Another nutrition therapy recommendation is that “monitoring carbohydrate intake, whether by carbohydrate counting or experience-based estimation, remains a key strategy in achieving glycemic control.”
The Medifast program has three different options for people with diabetes: the 5 & 1 Plan, 4 & 2 & 1 Plan, and the 5 & 2 & 2 Plan. All three plans are calorie and carbohydrate controlled and low in fat. Controlling carbohydrates by utilizing the meal replacements as part of the Medifast Program can assist with weight loss for those individuals at risk, which can help to impact blood sugar. The Medifast Program encourages lifestyle changes that include monitoring food intake and activity.
For more information on diabetes visit the American Diabetes Association and spread the awareness to all your friends and family throughout the month of November!
*We recommend that you and your health care provider determine which plan is best suited for you. He or she will need to review your medications as you lose weight.