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Diabetes Awareness Month

diabetes-awareness-month

By: Meg Roberts, PHEc, BASc

Has Diabetes impacted the life of someone close to you? Do you have Type I or Type II Diabetes? By 2025 there will be a 44% increase in the prevalence of Canadians living with Diabetes (http://www.diabetes.ca/). This figure means that at least one in three Canadians will be diagnosed with Diabetes during their lifetime. Many Canadians are not aware of the difference between Type I and Type II.

Type I Diabetes

is an autoimmune disorder where the body (pancreas) cannot produce a specific hormone (insulin) which plays a major role in regulating our blood sugar (glucose) levels. It is commonly diagnosed during childhood which is why it is also known as Juvenile Diabetes.

Type II Diabetes

occurs when the body has too high blood glucose levels and when the pancreas stops producing enough insulin to keep your blood glucose levels within the normal range.  There are many factors (including environmental and lifestyle) that play a role in adult diagnosed Diabetes.
The good news is that with nutritional counselling, regular physical activity (ideally 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a day) and alterations to your regular food intake, Diabetes Type II can actually be reversed.
Do keep in mind that preventing the onset of Type II Diabetes is the first step, management comes much later.
My best pieces of advice are to:

  1. Make it a priority to see your family physician for your annual check-up.  Your doctor will likely test your blood sugar levels as part of your blood work for the annual physical exam.
  2. Compare nutrition facts panels and ingredient lists when purchasing any packaged food and choose the most wholesome option. Yes, it may take you a bit longer to shop but over a lifetime all of these minor choices really do add up!

Additional examples of positive lifestyle changes:

  • Flavour low sodium soda water with fruits and herbs instead of drinking juice and pop.
  • Bake homemade goodies instead of eating packaged pre-made whenever possible. Not only will you be able to use high quality ingredients, you’ll also get to cut way back on the added sugar. If a recipe lists 1 cup of sugar, use ⅓ cup instead.
  • Have sweets after you finish lunch and dinner. Our blood glucose levels spike if the sugar is metabolized on its own versus when it has other essential nutrients to digest at the same time.
  • Put a reminder in your phone to go for a walk after lunch and/or dinner. If you go for two 15 minute fast paced walks, you’ve reached your 30 minutes of physical activity for the entire day!
  • Include high fiber foods at every meal:
    Breakfast: Bran Flakes with ½ cup raspberries
    Snack: Veggie sticks and hummus
    Lunch: Sandwich on whole grain toast
    Dinner: whole grain brown rice stir fry

 

Meg Roberts is a Nutrition & Aging Specialist, and owner of Truthful Foods.  She has extensive, science-based, education and training that has allowed her to gain a complete understanding of the complex role that food plays both in a social context and within the human body from infancy to later life stages.  Meg provides Nutritional Counselling at Ohana Wellness Clinic on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.  

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