Your care team may recommend that you use a continuous glucose monitor (CGM). A CGM is a wearable device that can measure blood sugar every few minutes around the clock. It's measured by a thread-like sensor inserted under the skin and secured in place. The more frequent CGM blood sugar readings can help you and the care team do an even better job of troubleshooting and adjusting your insulin doses and diabetes management plan to improve blood sugar control.
"Many people with type 2 have had type 2 for a while prior to diagnosis," says Anne Peters, MD, director of the University of Southern California Clinical Diabetes Program and an author of the ADA's position statement on the management of type 2. A person who has had diabetes for five years before being diagnosed may have complications that require good blood glucose control—pronto. It will most likely take medications to achieve a quick improvement. Plus, you can always stop a medication once you've started it if lifestyle changes lead to on-target blood glucose levels—with your health care provider's guidance, of course.
Another area that I focus on is portion sizes. With the increase in portion sizes in our society, it can be hard to manage food intake. I recommend listening to your body and identifying your needs by being aware of your hunger and fullness. If you are feeling hungry, it is an indicator to eat, and once you start to feel satisfied, it is an indicator to stop eating, knowing that you can eat again later. This small change where someone begins to leave food on their plate or stops eating when feeling satisfied and not overly full can make a big difference in overall health.
Meanwhile, processed or packaged foods should be avoided or limited in your diabetes diet because, in addition to added sugars and processed carbohydrates, these foods are often high in sodium and therefore may increase your blood pressure and, in turn, the risk of heart disease or stroke — two common complications of diabetes. It’s important to keep your blood pressure in check when managing diabetes.
Contrary to popular belief, not all carbs are off-limits if you’re managing diabetes. In fact, the ADA recommends vitamin-rich whole grains in a healthy diabetes diet. These foods contain fiber, which is beneficial for digestive health. Fiber can also promote feelings of fullness, preventing you from reaching for unhealthy snacks, and it can help slow the rise of blood sugar. Plus, whole grains contain healthy vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that are healthy for anyone, regardless of whether they have diabetes or not.
Medications and insulin do nothing to slow down the progression of this organ damage, because they do not eliminate the toxic sugar load from our body. We’ve known this inconvenient fact since 2008. No less than 7 multinational, multi-centre, randomized controlled trials of tight blood glucose control with medications (ACCORD, ADVANCE, VADT, ORIGIN, TECOS, ELIXA, SAVOR) failed to demonstrate reductions in heart disease, the major killer of diabetic patients. We pretended that using medications to lower blood sugar makes people healthier. But it’s only been a lie. You can’t use drugs to cure a dietary disease.
The advice above is therefore not only illogical, but also works poorly. It completely lacks scientific support according to a Swedish expert investigation. On the contrary, in recent years similar carbohydrate-rich dietary advice has been shown to increase the risk of getting diabetes and worsen blood sugar levels long-term in people who are already diabetic. The advice doesn’t improve diabetics’ health in any other way either.
There’s been some controversy over whether artificially sweetened beverages are beneficial for weight control and, by extension, diabetes prevention. (35) Some studies have found that people who regularly drink diet beverages have a higher risk of diabetes than people who rarely drink such beverages, (36, 37) but there could be another explanation for those findings: People often start drinking diet beverages because they have a weight problem or have a family history of diabetes; studies that don’t adequately account for these other factors may make it wrongly appear as though the diet soda led to the increased diabetes risk. A recent long-term analysis on data from 40,000 men in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study finds that drinking one 12-ounce serving of diet soda a day does not appear to increase diabetes risk. (38) So in moderation, diet beverages can be a good sugary-drink alternative.
If you are at risk for diabetes or insulin resistance, be sure to get an annual testing for fasting blood glucose and hemoglobin A1c. If you see these rising over time, this is a sign that your body is having more trouble processing sugar. Your healthcare provider can provide further recommendations for medication and lifestyle changes that can reduce your risk of progressing to type 2 diabetes.
Pay attention to the balance of macronutrients (fat, protein, and carbohydrates) in a meal to support stable blood sugar levels. Specifically, fat, protein, and fiber all slow down the absorption of carbohydrates and thus allow time for a slower, lower insulin release and a steady transport of glucose out of the blood and into the target tissues - this is a good thing.
The types of fats in your diet can also affect the development of diabetes. Good fats, such as the polyunsaturated fats found in liquid vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds can help ward off type 2 diabetes. (39) Trans fats do just the opposite. (8, 40) These bad fats are found in many margarines, packaged baked goods, fried foods in most fast-food restaurants, and any product that lists “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil” on the label. Eating polyunsaturated fats from fish—also known as “long chain omega 3” or “marine omega 3” fats—does not protect against diabetes, even though there is much evidence that these marine omega 3 fats help prevent heart disease. (41) If you already have diabetes, eating fish can help protect you against a heart attack or dying from heart disease. (42)
Keeping close tabs on your diet is a major way to help manage type 2 diabetes. A healthy diet for people with type 2 diabetes includes fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables, whole grains, beans, lean meats, and low-fat or fat-free dairy. Focus on eating fruit and non-starchy vegetables, like broccoli, carrots, and lettuce, and having smaller portions of starchy foods, meats, and dairy products. Be especially careful about loading up on foods that are high on the glycemic index (GI) and especially the glycemic load (GL), systems that rank foods according to how they affect glucose levels.
As a bonus, stress relief may help you sleep better, which is important because studies show that not getting enough sleep can worsen type 2 diabetes. Sleeping less than six hours a night has also been found to contribute to impaired glucose tolerance, a condition that often precedes type 2 diabetes. In fact, a review published in 2015 in Diabetes Care analyzed 10 studies that involved more than 18,000 participants combined and found the lowest risk of type 2 diabetes in the group of participants that slept seven to eight hours per day. That’s the minimum recommended amount of sleep for most adults, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
The more intense the exercise, the better. According to the British diabetes association diabetes.co.uk, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) may be better for weight loss and glucose control than continuous aerobic activity like jogging. HIIT involves alternating between short bursts of increased intensity exercise and rest — for instance, running and then walking on and off throughout the workout.
Other than gestational (which occurs in pregnant women and usually disappears after giving birth), there are two types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 diabetes accounts for only 5 percent of all instances in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Type 2 diabetes is the most common, clocking in as the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. Type 2 diabetes is also the only one that’s considered preventable. It generally develops later in life, sometimes as a consequence of lifestyle or other health factors.
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Metformin is likely effective for as long as 10 years, based on long-term follow-up of patients in the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP). In this trial, investigators randomized 3234 at-risk patients to 3 groups: metformin 850 mg twice daily; lifestyle modification (7% weight loss, 150 minutes of physical activity per week, and a one-to-one 16-lesson curriculum covering diet, exercise, and behavior modification); or placebo.4 At a mean 2.8-year follow-up, the incidence of diabetes was 31% lower in the metformin group (95% confidence interval [CI], 17%-43%) and 58% lower in the lifestyle modification group than in the placebo group (95% CI, 48%-66%; P<.001 for both comparisons).
If you choose to drink alcohol, remember: To drink with your meal or snack (not on an empty stomach!), to drink slowly or dilute with water or diet soda, that liqueurs, sweet wines and dessert wines have a lot of sugar, to wear your Medic Alert (Alcohol can cause hypoglycemia/low blood glucose), reducing alcohol can promote weight loss and help you lower your blood pressure.