HOW A HEALTHY DIET CAN HELP YOU AVOID TYPE 2 DIABETES

According to SingHealth, diabetes affects 9% of the population in Singapore, with Type 2 diabetes more common amongst Singaporeans. While full remission of Type 2 diabetes may not be achieved, it is possible to reverse it with nutrition.

What is Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes usually presents itself in one of two ways:

  • the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin for the cells of the body to metabolise sugar; or
  • the body has become resistant to insulin, and thus is not absorbing enough insulin to metabolise sugar.

In either scenario, there is insufficient insulin for the body to keep blood glucose levels normal. Type 2 diabetes can develop at any age. So it can affect anyone, ranging from children to senior adults.

Some common risk factors of diabetes include:

  • Higher than normal blood glucose levels, which is a condition known as prediabetes;
  • High blood pressure and cholesterol;
  • Excess weight, especially around the abdomen, since fatty tissues increase the body’s resistance to insulin;
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Increased age.

Diabetes symptoms include:

  • Excessive thirst and frequent urination
  • Increased hunger
  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent skin infections and/or wounds that take a long time to heal
  • A feeling of tiredness over prolonged periods of time

However, as Type 2 Diabetes develops slowly, and with some people displaying none of the known diabetes symptoms, many people may be unaware that they have the condition until their health is seriously affected.

One of these conditions is known as hyperglycemia, where the blood sugar levels are higher than normal. If left unmanaged, hyperglycemia can cause to complications that affect the kidney, eyes, nerves, and heart.

Can I Stop the Progress of Type 2 Diabetes?

While it is not easy, many people have been able to slow down the progress of diabetes, and even reverse it. It involves intensive lifestyle management that often involves weight loss and improved nutrition.

A 2014 study into the frequency of remission of Type 2 diabetes with lifestyle intervention compared to diabetes support and education alone concluded that, in overweight adults, intensive interventions with weight loss were more likely to result in partial or complete remission.

A 2016 study examining the effects of a very low-calorie diet on patients with Type 2 diabetes found that a sustainable weight loss program was effective in lowering fasting plasma glucose, and potentially reversing Type 2 diabetes.

Lastly, a 2014 study by the Second University of Naples showed a low-carb Mediterranean-style diet helped 15% of participants achieve remission within one year. Other diets, including low-fat diets were also tested, but with less robust results.

It seems that carbohydrate and caloric intake is most associated with reversing diabetes.

Reversing Type 2 Diabetes with Nutrition

Insulin injections and other medication are commonly used to manage Type 2 diabetes and hyperglycemia. However, a more sustainable and lasting approach would be using nutrition—together with physical activity—to reverse the condition, especially for those who wish to wean off their dependence on diabetes or hyperglycemia medication.

The way to do so is to break the cycle of strain on the cells that produce insulin, which can be assisted through a healthful diet and physical activity. Start with eating a varied diet consisting of fruit, vegetables, whole grain products, and lean protein, and reduce the consumption of processed food.

Lifting the Lid on Protein Myths

Cliff Harvey (naturopath, author and NuZest formulator) addresses 4 common myths about protein and why they are just that – myths.

Myth #1: Eating too much protein is bad for you

In reality it’s extremely difficult for a healthy person to eat too much protein!  Protein is important because it contains amino acids − the building blocks for all cells and tissue.  Nine of these are called ‘essential amino acids’ because they are compounds that our bodies can’t create.

The average person needs as little as 0.8g of protein per kg of bodyweight per day.  However, this is not enough if we’re active.  People who exercise regularly should up their protein intake to around 1.4-2 grams per kilogram of body weight per day.  This quantity of protein should also be consumed on a daily basis as we age to help maintain muscle tone.

Myth #2: Vegetable proteins are incomplete

The definition of a complete protein is one which supplies all the essential amino acids.  While it’s true that most vegetable protein supplements on the market aren’t complete proteins, Clean Lean Protein is different.  Made from golden pea isolate, Clean Lean Protein has the highest protein content of any supplement on the market (up to 90%).  The protein is extracted at low temperatures under water through a natural enzyme process to preserve the protein integrity and quality.

A single serve of Clean Lean Protein supplies you with between 45% and 120% of the daily requirement for all nine essential amino acids.

Myth #3: Soy is the best vegetable protein

As far as your body is concerned, all proteins are created equal.  The thing that makes a protein source better or worse for you is the other stuff that comes along for the ride.  Soy protein contains allergens and anti-nutrients like phytic acid which binds to minerals and prevents their absorption.

Clean Lean Protein is low allergen, perfectly alkaline, low in fat, sugars and carbs and contains no preservatives, artificial colours or flavours.

Myth #4: Our bodies need every essential amino acid at every meal

Vegetarians and vegans used to spend a great deal of time and effort balancing the recommended ratios of amino acids in every meal – but Mother Nature is one step ahead of us.  As long as we’re supplying our bodies with all of the essential amino acids over the course of a day, we don’t have to go to these lengths to be healthy.