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This is How Sugar and Diabetes Are Related

When people think about diabetes, they often think of sugar and diabetes together! Sugar is definitely one of the top things that comes to mind. Avoiding all foods with sugar and purchasing foods with sugar-free or no sugar added on the labels become prevalent. But are these products truly healthy? Is sugar really the culprit when it comes to diabetes? What alternatives can you use in place of sugar? All of these questions can help determine what the underlying causes of diabetes are and what sugar is really doing to the body.

Diabetes comes in two different types, Type 1 and Type 2. Understanding the difference between the two is important. Type 2 is the most discussed type.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition in which the body attacks and destroys the insulin producing cells of the pancreas, where the body is only able to produce little to no insulin on its own.

Type 2 diabetes is when the body becomes resistant to insulin or when the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin. Overall this is a condition in which the body does not properly process blood sugar, also known as glucose.

Factors Impacting Diabetes

exercise to address sugar and diabetes
Photographer: Fat Lad At The Back | Source: Unsplash

There has been much discussed about the causes of diabetes. Some of these include stress, diet, exercise, infections in the gut, inadequate sleep patterns and environmental factors.

Stress is very high in our society today and being able to take the time to relax is important. Having a poor diet will ultimately lead to more than just diabetes, this can affect your mood, weight and daily function. If the body is already not producing enough insulin, adding more sugar into the diet can make symptoms worse by continuously raising glucose levels.

This is where reading food labels becomes important. Though a food item may say that it is sugar-free or no sugar added, unfortunately there is still sugar present. The sugars that are still present are artificially made and contain sugar alcohols. The only reason that the package says no sugar added means that there was no sugar added during the manufacturing, not necessarily meaning that there is no sugar at all in the product. So the sugar and diabetes story is perpetuated.

Lack of exercise and having a sedentary lifestyle can contribute to a multitude of problems, but just like diet, exercise affects your mood as when you exercise you release endorphins or your “feel good” hormones.

Our Gut Is The Master Of Our Immune System

If there are any underlying infections in the gut this causes a disturbance in the microbiome and the bacteria that live in there. This disruption will change how our body responds to certain bacteria. If it does have the support it needs, it cannot protect us and in turn makes us more susceptible illness and disease.

Sleep

Sleep is more important than one may think. Depriving oneself from sleep can lead to a decrease in metabolism and increases insulin sensitivity, causing someone to have more cravings and eat more. So do not forget about getting your rest, your health depends on it.

Environment

One thing that many do not think of is what we are exposed to from our environment. These factors include pollutants and chemicals in the air, water, food, skin and hair products and many more. Having constant exposure creates toxins in our body which will build up overtime causing oxidative stress. This is when the body has an imbalance of free radicals, also known as toxins, and antioxidants, which are our protection against free radicals. This imbalance will lead to cell and tissue damage, aging and the development of many different health conditions. All of these factors overtime have caused the cells of the body to become less sensitive to insulin, also known as insulin resistant. Being insulin resistant causes excess glucose to accumulate in the bloodstream leading to high blood sugar.

Glutens

Today there is an explosion on the topic of gluten. Though there is an abundance of research studying the effects of gluten on different medical conditions, there has also been many studies conducted studying the relationship between gluten and diabetes. Gluten disrupts the gut by damaging the barriers surrounding your intestines, leading to more inflammation and bacterial overgrowth. Studies have shown that eliminating gluten improves the pancreatic cells which produce insulin and glucose intolerance. Moral of the story eliminate the gluten!

Treating Diabetes

Healthy salads
Photographer: Dan Gold | Source: Unsplash

What if you are diabetic and you are following the guidelines that your practitioner provided but you are still experiencing glucose readings that are off the charts? The problem with the conventional approach in treating diabetes is that they are doing just that, they are just “treating” the condition. It is one diabetic drug after another.

Drugs and Medications

One major concern is the multitude of side effects from them, ranging from liver and kidney dysfunction, dizziness, weight gain and much more. When it comes to food choices, the dietary guidelines are the same for each diabetic and the foods listed are mainly carbohydrates which broken down in the body turns into sugar. This will only make the condition worse. So, what type of dietary plan should a diabetic consume?

Diet

More research is finding that diabetics who consume a low carbohydrate diet have better results and a major decrease in their symptoms, but it does depend on what type of carbohydrate is being consumed. Higher carbohydrate content foods like breads and pastas should be avoided and implementing high quality carbohydrates like sweet potatoes and other vegetables and fruits low in sugar like berries and apples, will make a difference in the amount of glucose that is being stored in the body. You can lessen the sugar and diabetes connection through dietary choices.

Back to Sugar and Diabetes

white sugar cubes - sugar and diabetes
Photographer: Robert Anderson | Source: Unsplash

Being diabetic does not mean that you cannot have sugar, it’s the type of sugar that is being consumed that truly makes a difference. You can ease off that rigid sugar and diabetes link. There are plenty of sugar alternatives out on the market that are naturally derived and contain no calories. Some of these include, stevia, monk fruit and xylitol. All of these can be purchased at any health food store or online.

Improving your health does include making some lifestyle modifications but that does not mean that you cannot still enjoy life. If anything, you will enjoy it more. Sugar does play a role in diabetes but replacing a sugar problem with more sugar is not the answer. Consume high quality foods, increase your activity level, get your rest, decrease stress and exposure to toxins and your health will be enhanced.

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