Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. With type 2 diabetes, the pancreas can produce insulin, but the body’s cells don’t respond normally to it. Therefore, type 2 diabetes can be considered a resistance or intolerance to insulin.
At first, when this disease is present, the pancreas tries to compensate for this resistance by producing more insulin. However, with time, the body cannot maintain this production. Then, it’s not able to produce a sufficient amount of insulin to maintain normal levels in the blood.
The lower absorption of glucose by the cells causes sugar to accumulate in the blood. This causes two different problems:
- One problem is that the cells do not have enough energy.
- On the other hand, the high levels of blood sugar can damage a person’s eyes, kidneys, nerves, and heart.
Type 2 diabetes can be controlled with certain lifestyle changes. Maintaining a balanced diet, taking medication, and taking insulin are some examples of how type 2 diabetes is often controlled.
In addition, there are certain nutrients that are good for people with diabetes because they help regulate the glycemic index. Today, we’ll take a look at them.
The Best Nutrients for Type 2 Diabetes
Changes in diet, routine physical exercise and medical treatment all can help regulate the body’s glucose levels. Therefore, a healthy diet is usually part of the main treatment of type 2 diabetes.
Let’s take a look at what makes up a healthy diet for this disease.
Sugars, including glucose, are part of carbohydrates. Therefore, many people might think that reducing or eliminating their intake of sugars can control or cure diabetes.
However, it’s not that easy. Eliminating or reducing sugar consumption is not enough to fully treat the disease.
Carbohydrates have two types of compounds. Both of these compounds play an important role in diabetes:
- “Simple” sugars, or simple carbohydrates, quickly release a large amount of glucose into the blood. White sugar, some sweeteners, fruits, juices, sugar drinks, milk and yogurt, chocolate, and pastries are all types of simple sugars.
- Starches, or “complex” carbohydrates, release sugar more slowly and in a healthier way. Some complex carbohydrates include rice, pasta, potatoes, bread, and grains.
Because of this, it’s necessary to reduce overall your sugar intake in order to control diabetes.
Fortunately, there are certain natural sweeteners that better control the body’s glucose levels and are recommended for those with diabetes.
Natural Sweeteners and Fats
When talking about natural sweeteners, stevia is one of the most important ones because it provides flavor without adding any calories.
Stevia is excellent for those who have diabetes. It helps stabilize glucose levels and keep them at a more normal level. For this reason, it could be said that it can counteract, to a certain extent, the effects of type 2 diabetes.
Likewise, it has positive effects on glucose tolerance and body weight. Therefore, it’s a beneficial compound with good properties for those with diabetes.
Oils and Fats
Unlike carbohydrates, the consumption of fatty foods does not usually directly affect diabetes. However, excessive consumption of these foods can cause regulation problems with glucose levels.
Similarly, it can also lead to obesity and alter the metabolism and overall health of a person, especially those who suffer from diabetes.
For this reason, it is recommended to avoid saturated fats. These fats are usually found in foods like hamburgers, fried foods, bacon, and butter.
Instead of eating these, choosing foods with polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats is better. Foods with these fats include fish, nuts, and vegetable oils.
Finally, fiber is very good for controlling diabetes. Foods containing fiber include oats, barley, fruits, vegetables, and legumes.
Fiber slows digestion and the absorption of carbohydrates. For this reason, it helps regulate the increase in blood glucose levels that occurs after meals. Therefore, fiber can help control glycemic levels in those who suffer from diabetes.