Smoking 16 to 20 cigarettes a day or more can increase a person's risk of developing diabetes to more than three times that of nonsmokers. The exact reason for this isn't well understood. It may be that smoking directly decreases the body's ability to utilize insulin. Moreover, it has been observed that after smoking, blood sugar levels increase. Finally, there is also an association between smoking and body fat distribution, smoking tends to encourage the "apple" shape, which is a risk factor for diabetes.
The best way to control Type 2 Diabetes through diet is eating in a metabolic pattern (eating every 2 1/2-3 hours) and eating low glycemic index/load diet (foods that break down slowly into glucose) to maintain blood sugar levels. The goal is to eat a balanced diet rich in lean animal proteins (chicken, turkey, fish), good fats (olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, seeds and nuts), fiber, fresh fruit, vegetables, and whole grains to balance the metabolism, hormones, and of course blood sugars. Fiber is key to maintain blood sugar. Most people get between 8-11 g of fiber a day and need between 35-45 g. Fresh vegetables (especially leafy greens) and fruit as well as whole grains like quinoa, whole brown rice, spelt, amaranth, buckwheat and whole oats) are filled with good fiber. It is best to avoid sugar, processed foods (packaged foods, breads), simple carbohydrates (white flours and grains), artificial sweeteners (Stevia in the Raw is ok), too much coffee, and sodas. Limit dairy which can affect blood sugars as well. Eating a variety of the above foods instead of the the same foods over and over again will also help maintain blood sugars.
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Some easy-to-follow examples I often provide are adding chopped mixed vegetables to scrambled eggs and including fresh fruit on the side; preparing a green smoothie with low-fat milk, low-fat yogurt, chopped fresh kale, and frozen fruit; preparing vegetarian jambalaya with brown rice; or choosing a hearty salad with mixed greens, nuts, beans, and light salad dressing from a salad bar. Food can be medicine and it can also be enjoyable!
While some people attempt to manage their type 2 diabetes with diet and exercise alone, this may not work for everyone. In fact, though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 16 percent of people with diabetes don't take medication, the majority of people with diabetes require insulin or oral meds at some point, often at diagnosis.
The good news is your risk of developing type 2 diabetes may be lowered with lifestyle changes like diet, exercise, and weight loss. If you’ve tried and failed to make changes before, remember that persistence is key, and even small changes can have a powerful impact. According to a Diabetes Prevention Program study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), people at a high risk for developing type 2 diabetes who lost just 5 to 7% of their weight with diet or exercise were able to prevent or delay onset of the condition.
Type 2 diabetes is almost always reversible and this is almost ridiculously easy to prove. This is great news for the more than 50% of American adults who have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes or diabetes. Recognizing this truth is the crucial first step in reversing your diabetes or pre-diabetes. Actually, it something that most people already instinctively recognized to be true.
Even if you have not been told that you have prediabetes, you could be worried about it, since 90% of the people with prediabetes are unaware that they have it. You are at higher risk if you are over 45 years old, do not get much exercise, have a family history of diabetes, or are African American, Native American, Hispanic/Latino, or Pacific Islander.
Thiazolidinediones. Like metformin, these medications — including rosiglitazone (Avandia) and pioglitazone (Actos) — make the body's tissues more sensitive to insulin. These drugs have been linked to weight gain and other more-serious side effects, such as an increased risk of heart failure and anemia. Because of these risks, these medications generally aren't first-choice treatments.
In the picture to the right you can see the lunch that I was unbelievably served at the 11th International Congress on Obesity in Stockholm 2010. This is a major international conference for obesity doctors and scientists. The food contains almost exclusively energy from sugar and starches, things that are broken down to simple sugars in the stomach.
There is much you can do with lifestyle alone to prevent diabetes. In a landmark study, the NIH-sponsored Diabetes Prevention Program, scientists tracked 3,234 pre-diabetic men and women for three years. A third of them adopted lifestyle changes. Another third took a drug – metformin (Glucophage®). The remaining third, the control group, took a placebo. Those on the lifestyle-change plan reduced the progression to full-blown Type 2 diabetes by 58% compared to the control group. The reduction was even greater – 71% – among adults aged 60 and older. Treatment with the drug metformin reduced the progression of Type 2 diabetes by just 31%.
About 41 million Americans between the ages of 40 and 74 have "pre-diabetes." Prediabetes is a condition that, as the name implies, can be considered an early, potentially reversible, stage in the development of Type II diabetes. Pre-diabetes is sometimes called impaired glucose tolerance or Impaired Fasting Glucose (IGT/IFG). In pre-diabetes, a person's blood sugar(glucose) levels are slightly higher than the normal range, but not high enough for a true diagnosis of diabetes. People with pre-diabetes have a significant risk of developing full-blown diabetes.
Foods might sometimes appear to be packaged into individual serving sizes even though they contain two or more servings per package. To determine that, look at "serving size" and "servings per container" at the top of any food label. For example, if a serving size is 1 and there are 2 servings per container, you will need to double all of the nutrient values on the label in order to get a clear picture of the value of the entire container.
Food can be powerful in preventing and reversing diabetes. However, dietary approaches have changed as we have learned more about the disease. The traditional approach to diabetes focuses on limiting refined sugars and foods that release sugars during digestion-starches, breads, fruits, etc. With carbohydrates reduced, the diet may contain an unhealthful amount of fat and protein. Therefore, diabetes experts have taken care to limit fats- especially saturated fats that can raise cholesterol levels, and to limit protein for people with impaired kidney function. The new approach focuses more attention on fat. Fat is a problem for people with diabetes. The more fat there is in the diet, the harder time insulin has in getting glucose into the cells. Conversely, minimizing fat intake and reducing body fat help insulin do its job much better. Newer treatment programs drastically reduce meats, high-fat dairy products, and oils.[46,47,48,49,50] At the same time, they increase grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. The study found that patients on oral medications and patients on insulin were able to get off of their medications after some days on a near-vegetarian diet and exercise program. During 2 and 3-year follow-ups, most people with diabetes treated with this regimen have retained their gains. The dietary changes are simple, but profound, and they work.[51,52,53]