I am sure many of you have wondered if eating sugar or sweets causes type 2 diabetes. The straight answer is no, but eating excessive amounts of sweets can lead to obesity which can lead to diabetes. This post will look at the connection between sugar and type 2 diabetes and what steps you can take to avoid getting this disease.
As stated in a previous post, diabetes occurs when your pancreas, the organ that makes insulin, either doesn’t make enough or doesn’t make any. This is known as insulin resistance. When you eat carbs (which includes sugar) they are broken down into glucose which gives the body energy. If your body is not managing insulin well, the excess sugar ends up in your bloodstream and your blood sugar rises. This is known as hyperglycemia.
What you can do
To avoid getting type 2 diabetes— or managing it if you already have it— the best thing you can do is to avoid eating excess carbohydrates. The American Diabetes Association recommends you substitute starchy foods with the following:
Nonstarchy Vegetables — The best choices are fresh, frozen and canned vegetables and vegetable juices without added salt (sodium), fat or sugar such as: • Asparagus • Green beans • Carrots • Cabbage • Eggplant • Cauliflower • Broccoli • Mushrooms • Tomatoes • Spinach • Onion • Peppers. If using canned veggies, drain and rinse them with water to wash away about 40% of the sodium.
You can also substitute starchy foods with whole grain foods, beans, peas and lentils and starchy vegetables without added fats, sugars or sodium. Whole grain foods can consist of Whole wheat flour •Whole oats/oatmeal •Whole-grain corn/corn meal •Popcorn •Brown rice •Whole-grain rye •Whole-grain barley •Wild rice •Buckwheat/buckwheat flour •Triticale •Bulgur (cracked wheat) •Millet •Quinoa •Sorghum
Instead of sweets and sugary foods they recommend you avoid regular soda, fruit punch, sports drinks, sweet tea, and other sugary drinks. Choose water and calorie free drinks instead. Cut back on high calorie snack foods and desserts such as chips, cookies, cakes and ice cream.
You can also choose from a variety of fresh, frozen and canned fruits without added sugars such as: •Apple •Blueberries •Orange •Grapefruit •Grapes •Peaches •Pear •Plums •Cherries. If you use canned fruit in syrup, drain and rinse the fruit with water to wash away the extra syrup.
In trying to solve your dilemma as to what you should eat to manage your diabetes, you can see that you have very many options when it comes to making healthy choices. It’s up to you to exercise some self-control and cut back (not eliminate them altogether) on those foods that will spike your blood sugar. Then when you combine these healthy choices with regular physical activity, you will be well on your way to managing your diabetes and getting off medications.
A diagnosis of type 2 diabetes can send your life into a tailspin. It can leave you feeling alone and overwhelmed, but it doesn’t have to. Join my type 2 diabetes network group and get the help and support you need.