In Australia diabetes is the fastest growing chronic condition, increasing at a faster rate than other chronic disease.
Close to 1.7 million people in Australia live with diabetes, with over 100,000 new diagnosis’ in the last year.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form, affecting 85-90 per cent of all people with diabetes. This chronic condition occurs when the body isn’t making enough insulin or insulin isn’t working as it should. Insulin is the hormone secreted by the pancreas and is responsible for controlling blood sugar levels.
The occurrence of type 2 diabetes is closely related to lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, smoking status, alcohol intake and overweight/obesity. These are all modifiable risk factors and you can decrease your risk and delay its onset by making healthier lifestyle choices.
How can you reduce your risk?
Implement the following recommendations of a healthy diet and exercise:
Eat balanced meals and snacks
Include protein, carbohydrates, and a little fat in your meals and snacks. This will help you feel fuller for longer, keep your blood glucose levels stable and assist in achieving a healthy weight.
Eat high-fiber foods
Fiber helps you feel fuller for longer and keeps you regular. It encourages good digestion and can re-balance the good and bad bacteria in your gut that is linked with overweight and obesity.
Include low glycemic index (GI) foods
Low GI foods take longer to digest, and the glucose is released slowly and steadily into our blood stream, which helps keep your blood glucose levels stable. As a result, less insulin is released, maintaining stable levels of insulin.
Reduced saturated fat
Saturated fat can increase cholesterol levels and contribute to heart problems such as heart disease. They are also found in energy-dense foods that encourages weight gain
Include physical activity to daily routine
Physical activity, both aerobic and resistance training increase insulin sensitivity resulting in decreased blood sugar levels. Exercise also promotes and assists in weight loss.
It’s important to note, that a combination of a healthy diet and exercise are far more beneficial, rather than undertaking either one alone.
Candace Sciberras is a Dietitian at OnePointHealth.