Nutrition and diabetes

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Nutrition anddiabetes

Nutrition plays a major role in the prevention and management ofdiabetes. Diabetes is a chronic condition that triggers an extremelevel of body sugars. Diabetes is categorized into type 1 and type 2.The most prevalent one is type 2 diabetes as it accounts for about90% of all patients suffering from the condition(Eckel t al., 2011). Type 2 diabetes is caused by theinsulin receptors becoming desensitized and thus ending up notresponding to insulin. It may also be triggered by the failure of thebeta cells located in the pancreases to produce the required amountof insulin. This condition is closely related to being overweightand obese as high amount of saturated fat increase insulinresistance. Certain types of food components have proved effective inpreventing and managing the condition and they include adequateamount of carbohydrates, proteins, and omega 3 fatty acids.

Obesity and diabetes

Many of the cases of obesity are as a result of the consumption ofhigh amounts of saturated fat. Being overweight and obesity increasesone’s chances of developing diabetes. Obesity is characterized by ahigher than normal body mass index. Research shows that a closecorrelation exists between obesity and diabetes. According to Eckel,et al., (2011), currently more than 34% of adults inAmerica are obese and over 11% of people aged 20 years and above arediabetic. One of the links between diabetes and obesity is thatobesity-induced glucose intolerance result from the failure of theinsulin-secreting beta cells to respond to systematic insulinresistance(Eckel, et al., 2011). Obesity increases insulinresistance, making it important for individuals suffering from type 2diabetes to reduce their weight. According to Franz, et al., (2012),short-term studies show that weight loss in persons with type 2diabetes lowers their blood pressure, improve measures ofdyslipidemia and glycemia, and decrease insulin resistance. It isimportant for patients with type 2 diabetes who are also obese toavoid consuming food that are high in dietary fat. Franz,et al., (2012) adds that patients seeking to loseweight need about 500-1,000 fewer calories compared to theircounterparts who are seeking to maintain their weight. However,eating food with low amounts of dietary fat should be combined withexercises as the latter have proved extremely effective in reducinginsulin sensitivity. Research shows that people who have diabetestend to have high sensitivity for dietary cholesterol compared to thegeneral public. For people without diabetes, low levels ofcholesterol and saturated fat tend to lower the plasma totalcholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol. In people withdiabetes, consumption of diets with high amount of carbohydrate andlow levels of saturated fat increase the postprandial levels ofinsulin, plasma glucose, and triglycerides(Eckel, et al., 2011). On the other hand, type 2diabetes is closely linked to proinflammatory products in obesetissues which increase insulin resistance. For this reason, omega 3fatty acids are helpful in preventing the adipocytes and macrophagesof adipose tissues from producing proinflammatory products. However,research shows that the consumption of food high in omega-3 fattyacids increases the possibility of a person suffering from type 2diabetes (Osterud, 2011).

Carbohydrate and diabetes

Carbohydrates include starch, fiber, and sugars. According Franz, etal., (2012), terms such as fast-acting carbohydrates, complexcarbohydrates and simple sugars should be avoided since they are notwell defined. Studies on the relationship between dietary factors andthe chances of developing type 2 diabetes has demonstrated the needfor eating food rich in carbohydrate, particularly from vegetables,low-fat milk, fruits, and whole grain for individuals with diabetes.According to Franz, et al., (2012), some of the factors thatinfluence the glycemic responses to food include the nature ofstarch, the amount of carbohydrate, food processing and cooking, andfood components. These factors are positively associated withdecreasing the severity of glucose intolerance, which means that theylower the risk of developing diabetes. However, according to Franz,et al., (2012), in patients suffering from type 1 or 2 diabetes theconsumption of a variety of starches or sucrose for up to six weeksdo not have any significant effects on gylcemic responses if theamount of carbohydrate consumed during the same period was similar.For this reason, the amount of carbohydrate in diet is more importantcompared to the type or source. According to Franz,et al., (2012)., studies in patients with type 1diabetes show that premeal insulin doses are closely related to thepostprandial response to the amount of carbohydrate contained in themeal. For this reason, there is a need for the adjustment of thepremeal insulin dose to match the amount of carbohydrates in the mealfor people with type 1 diabetes.On the other hand, for peoplesuffering from type 2 diabetes who are seeking to maintain or loseweight, when monounsaturated fat replaces carbohydrate reducetriglyceridemia and postprandial glycemia. However, according toFranz, et al., (2012), research shows that increase in fat intake,particularly in ad labium diet may enhance weight gain. As such,there is a need for a qualified dietitian to assess a patient’snutritional needs, treatment goals, and metabolic profiles beforereplacing carbohydrates with monounsaturated fats. In the managementof diabetes fiber-rich food such as fruits, whole grains andvegetables plays an important role as they provide minerals, andfiber. Several short-term studies have shown that the consumption oflarge amounts of fiber-rich foods has positive impacts on glycemia.For patients with type 2 diabetes, the consumption of large amountsof fiber plays has positive effects on plasma lipids,hyperinsulinemia, and glycemic control(Franz, et al., 2012). .

Protein and diabetes

According to Franz,et al., (2012), protein intake contributes to 15-20% ofthe average energy intake in America. This percentage is fairlyuniform across the population irrespective of age, even in peoplewith diabetes. Several studies have shown that a close relationshipexists between protein and diabetes. For instance, in patients withtype 2 diabetes, average hyperglycemia may trigger an increase inprotein turnover, which may increase the amount of protein needed(Franz, et al., 2012). As for patients with type 1diabetes and who are going through conventional insulin treatment,studies show that they experience increased protein catabolism whichis an indication of a near-normal glycemia levels. It also suggeststhat more proteins are needed by the body. According to Franz, etal., (2012), average adults consume not about 50% more protein thatneeded by the body(Franz, et al., 2012). As such, it is hard for peoplesuffering from diabetes to suffer from protein malnutrition of theconsumer usual diet.

Medical nutritional therapy

One of the methods used to manage diabetes is known as the medicalnutritional therapy. This strategy emphasizes on dietaryinterventions as well as physical activities. The goals of themedical nutritional therapy for diabetes management include attainingand maintaining optimal metabolic outcome(Franz, et al., 2012).

In conclusion, diabetes is one of the diseases that are resulting inmany deaths across the globe. Though it may be brought by severalfactors such as genetic factors, poor nutrition is the leading causeparticularly for type 2 diabetes. Not only is proper nutritioncrucial for the treatment of diabetes, it also helps in preventingthe condition. Type 2 diabetes, which is the most prevalent formcontributing to over 90% of all diabetes cases is caused by insulinresistance resulting in high blood glucose which have devastatingeffects on the body. Several food components such as carbohydrates,proteins, and omega-3 fatty acids have proven effective in loweringinsulin sensitivity. On the other hand, high amount of omega 3-fattyacids and saturated fact increase insulin resistance. Consequently,people should adopt a healthy eating practices and exercisesregularly to reduce their chance of becoming obese which is closelyrelated to diabetes.


Eckel, R. H.,Kahn, S. E., Ferrannini, E., Goldfine, A. B., Nathan, D. M.,Schwartz, M. W., &amp Smith, S. R. (2011). Obesity and type 2diabetes: what can be unified and what needs to beindividualized?.&nbspTheJournal of Clinical Endocrinology &amp Metabolism,&nbsp96(6),1654-1663.

Franz, M. J.,Bantle, J. P., Beebe, C. A., Brunzell, J. D., Chiasson, J. L., Garg,A., &amp Purnell, J. Q. (2012). Nutrition principles andrecommendations in diabetes.&nbspDiabetescare,&nbsp27,S36.

Osterud, B. (2011). Dietary Omega-3 fatty acids and risk of type 2diabetes: lack of antioxidants? The American journal of clinicalnutrition, 92(2) 617-618.

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