Type 2 Diabetes is the most common representing 85-90% of cases.
What is Type 2 Diabetes?
Type 2 Diabetes typically develops over an extended period of time and occurs when your blood glucose (sugar) levels are higher than normal. When you have type 2 diabetes, your body can no longer produce enough insulin, or your body becomes resistant to the effects of insulin – known as insulin resistance. This means too much glucose stays in your bloodstream, rather than being used for energy by our body, which leads to the diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes.
Why do some people develop diabetes?
There are several risk factors that may increase the likelihood of a person developing type 2 diabetes.
- Family History
- Race and Ethnicity
- Gestational Diabetes – Having gestational diabetes likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes.
- PCOS – Higher risk due to Insulin Resistance.
- Modifiable Risk Factors – This means they can be changed by making changes to your lifestyle and include things such as, being overweight, an inactive lifestyle.
- Blood Lipid Levels – Specifically low HDL “helpful” cholesterol and high triglycerides increase your risk, high blood pressure and smoking.
What can you do to prevent and reverse diabetes?
The good news is that there are a number of lifestyle changes you can make to reduce the modifiable risk factors and prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. Making small changes can have a big impact for diabetes prevention and the serious health complications that can arise in the future. It’s never too late to start!
Our Top Tips for Type 2 Diabetes Prevention
- Include more nutritious foods in your meals. A great way to reduce your risk and overcome diabetes is eating a wide variety of nutritious foods across the 5 core food groups including fruits, vegetables and legumes, wholegrains (opt for low GI options e.g. oats, wholemeal pasta, wholemeal grain breads, brown rice multigrain crackers, etc), lean proteins (chicken breast, 5-star mince, eggs, tofu and tempeh), reduce fat diary products (e.g. yoghurt, milk and cheese). This will ensure you get all the vitamins and minerals you need and help you to maintain a healthy weight, which is one of the best ways to prevent and overcome diabetes.
- Include fats in your diet and limit saturated and trans fats. Unsaturated fats – including monounsaturated and polyunsaturated – are classified as “healthy fats”, as they promote heart health by decreasing cholesterol levels, and increasing HDL “helpful” cholesterol. Foods that are a great source of “healthy fats” include avocado, nuts and seeds including walnuts, almonds, cashews, flaxseeds and linseeds, olive, canola and peanut oils, oily fish e.g. salmon, tuna, sardines. On the other hand, saturated fats found mainly in processed and fatty meats, full fat dairy and discretionary foods like cakes, pastries, sweets have a negative impact on your cholesterol levels.
- Get moving. There are so many benefits of physical activity for our overall health, but when focusing on diabetes prevention, exercise can help to lower blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure, boost your insulin sensitivity, which can help your sugar levels stay within a normal range and help you maintain a healthy weight. When looking to increase your physical activity, it’s important to engage in movement that you enjoy. Why? Because you’re more likely to stick to a routine and develop healthy habits in the long term this way. Movement can be anything from walking, swimming, resistance training to name a few.
- Reduce alcohol consumption. Research has shown that people who smoke are 50% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes compared to non-smokers.
Whilst Type 2 diabetes is not curable, you can reverse your diabetes through weight loss and treat your symptoms through nutrition rather than medications such as insulin or the many tablets such as metformin.