Low Glycemic Diet Can Help You Better Manage Type 2 Diabetes

1. What is type II diabetes?

Diabetes Mellitus is a metabolic disorder characterized by chronically elevated blood glucose levels (hyperglycaemia), and abnormal metabolism for carbohydrate, fat and protein. Diagnostic criteria for diabetes are based on oral glucose tolerance test results. People with fasting blood glucose level >= 7.0 (mmol/L), or 2-hour random blood glucose level >= 11.1 (mmol/L), are classified as having diabetes.

Type II diabetes is usually associated with insulin resistance and progressive impairment of insulin response. This is a silent chronic disease which may present for years before detection.

The prevalence of type II diabetes has more than doubled over the last two decades, and approximately 275 Australian adults now develop diabetes every day.

2. What are the risk factors for type II diabetes?

There are many risk factors for the development of diabetes including:

Family history

Certain at-risk ethnic groups including Pacific islanders, Greek and Chinese background, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descendants

Obesity

Sedentary lifestyle

Poor diet

Aging

Hypertension

Dyslipidermia (unhealthy blood lipid profile)

Metabolic syndrome

3. What are the key symptoms and signs?

In most cases, the onset of type II diabetes is insidious, and is diagnosed on routine testing. See your doctor if you experience the following symptom/s:

Increased thirst

Increased urination

Increased appetite

Fatigue

Blurred vision

Slow-healing infections

Impotence in men

4. How is diabetes managed?

It is important to understand the consequences of diabetes and the associated complications, which may include long-term damage or dysfunction and failure of vital organs and tissues. Diabetics are more likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease, visual loss, amputation and renal failure (decline in kidney function).

The long term management for diabetes is metabolic control and prevention of complications. Management of type II diabetes involves education, medication, diet and exercise to control blood sugar, with lifestyle change as the basic initial approach to help prevent and manage diabetes.

The focus for managing diabetes is to improve glycemic control and cardiovascular health:

Improve blood glucose level: fasting glucose level 70 is high GI

Foods with low GI values contain carbohydrates that are digested and absorbed more slowly, thereby result in a moderate increase in blood glucose levels. The NHMRC dietary guideline for reducing chronic disease risks has recommended that carbohydrate intake should fall between 45% – 65% of your daily energy intake; and it should be predominantly from low energy density and/or low GI foods. It is important to note that the types of carbohydrates consumed are of paramount importance in relation to their health effects.