levels in the
blood to ensure
they are at an acceptable
level is a vital task
in a diabetic’s life. Unstable
levels can mean
the difference between
living a healthy life or
illness and even death.
Eating a healthy
diet, staying hydrated
with plenty of water,
and possibly using
medication or insulin injections are a few of the
ways to maintain one’s glucose levels.
When a diabetic eats, the sugar in her food is
digested into glucose. Sugar is normally used by
cells for energy. Insulin is a hormone that is secreted
by the pancreas and helps regulate the metabolism
of carbohydrates and fats while removing
excess glucose from the blood, which could prove
toxic. Individuals who have no insulin production
(type 1 diabetes) and those whose insulin is ineffi -
cient at moving sugar out of the bloodstream (type
2 diabetes) may have to take insulin and regulate
their sugar intake to keep the body in balance.
Although having diabetes means a lifelong regimen
of watching what you eat, it does not mean
you can’t enjoy your diet. Thanks to a wide variety
of sugar substitutes, most diabetics can indulge in
desserts and other foods in moderation.
For those ready to satisfy their sweet tooth,
here are some sweeteners that are approved by the
American Diabetes Association.
Sucralose: This sweetener, which often goes
by the brand name Splenda(R), is one of the more
popular supplements. The body does not recognize
sucralose as a carbohydrate or a sugar, which
means it will not be metabolized as such. Sucralose
is heat-resistant, which means it can be used
for cooking and baking.
Stevia: Relatively new to the commercial market,
stevia is an all-natural sweetener, unlike
many of the other sugar substitutes. It comes from
a South American plant of the same name and has
a strong track record of safety. The sweetener has
zero calories and no glycemic index.
Saccharine: Saccharine is also safe, but diabetics
must only consume it in small amounts. It
also can be mixed with hot or cold food.
Aspartame: This sweetener also has zero calories
and is found in many foods and beverages.
However, aspartame is best avoided when baking
because it loses sweetness when heated.
Acesulfame potassium: A little goes a long
way with this product because it is much sweeter
than sugar. It is also usually combined with other
sweeteners because it can have a bitter aftertaste.
Not all sugar substitutes are good for diabetics,
however. The Mayo Clinic warns that sugar alcohols,
particularly mannitol, sorbitol, and xylitol,
can increase blood sugar levels. These products
also may cause stomach discomfort and diarrhea.
How to reduce your
risk for diabetes
Caribbean L BQ ife, October 4 - 10, 2019 31
Millions of people across
the globe suffer from diabetes,
a term used to describe
a group of metabolic diseases
in which a person has high
blood pressure resulting from the
body’s cells not responding properly
to insulin or inadequate insulin
production. According to
researchers at Australia’s Baker
IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute,
if the spread of type 2 diabetes
continues at its current rate, there
will be roughly 439 million adults
with diabetes across the globe in
the year 2030. Though some cases
of diabetes cannot be prevented,
a healthy lifestyle can prevent or
delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is the most
common form of diabetes, occurring
because the body does not
use insulin properly. Initially, the
pancreas will make extra insulin
to account for the body’s resistance
to insulin, but over time the
pancreas cannot produce enough
insulin to maintain normal blood
glucose levels. The risk of developing
type 2 diabetes increases
as people age, and while there
is no way to halt the aging process,
there are many other ways
for men, women, and children to
reduce their risks of developing
type 2 diabetes.
Shed those extra
Being overweight increases
your risk for a host of ailments,
including type 2 diabetes, heart
disease, and stroke. According
to the American Diabetes Association,
losing as little as 10 to 15
pounds can make a significant
difference for people looking to
reduce their risks of developing
type 2 diabetes. When attempting
to lose weight, recognize
that making lifestyle changes
is a more effective way to shed
pounds and keep weight off
than fad diets that may promise
quick weight loss but tend to
be less effective at keeping that
weight off over the long haul.
Successful weight loss typically
involves a combination of physical
activity and a healthy diet.
Include physical activity as part
of your daily routine several
days per week, taking it slow at
first if you have not exercised
regularly in quite some time.
As your body begins to adapt
to exercise, you can gradually
increase the intensity of your
Adopting a healthy diet is
another way to lose weight and
maintain that weight loss. A diet
low in calories and fat is a good
start. Men and women who need
to lose a significant amount of
weight may want to work with
a dietitian or nutritionist to create
a meal plan that is likely to
produce the best results and address
any vitamin or nutrient
deficiencies they might have.
Focus on fi ber
Adding more fi ber to your diet
is another way to prevent or delay
the onset of type 2 diabetes.
Foods that are high in fi ber tend
to make people feel fuller, reducing
the likelihood that you will
overeat. Fiber also helps the body
control its blood sugar levels, and
fi ber can lower a person’s risk of
heart disease. Many foods include
fi ber, but some high-fi ber foods include
beans, fruits, nuts, and vegetables.
Avoid refi ned
Studies have shown that diets
rich in refi ned carbohydrates
increase a person’s risk of developing
diabetes, while additional
studies have shown that diets rich
in whole grains protect the body
against diabetes. Researchers
examining the results of several
studies that explored the relationship
between whole grains and diabetes
found that eating an extra
two servings of whole grains each
day can reduce a person’s risk of
type 2 diabetes by as much as 21
percent. Refi ned carbohydrates,
which can be found in white
bread, white rice, mashed potatoes
and many cereals, cause sustained
spikes in blood sugar and
insulin levels, which can increase
a person’s risk of diabetes.
Though aging increases a person’s risk for type 2 diabetes, a healthy lifestyle that includes routine exercise and a healthy
diet can help men and women reduce that risk signifi cantly.
Sugar substitutes mean that
diabetics can occasionally
indulge in sweet treats.