Reducing the risks of Type 2 diabetes
What’s the latest thinking on diabetes risk and treatment?
Having just been through a Type 2 diabetes scare, I can confirm that there are a myriad of theories and approaches around how to avoid, reverse or manage the disease.
Here is a roundup of some of the latest thinking. And if you think it’s contradictory in places, and goes against advice your health professionals are giving you, I totally agree. But it’s good to know that there is plenty of research being carried out around this very prevalent challenge.
Is fruit a villain?
Fruit is often highlighted as an unwelcome source of sugar and carbs for those trying to avoid or reverse Type 2 diabetes. But an Australian study has determined that eating two servings of fruit a day can cut the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 36%. It’s important though to choose whole fruits over juices, which don’t have the same effect. The researchers couldn’t find an absolute reason for their findings, but did point out that fruits are an excellent source of:
- Vitamins and minerals
- Phytochemicals that may increase insulin sensitivity
- Fibre that helps to regulate the relase of sugar into the blood and help people feel fuller for longer
- A low glycemic index, which means the fruit’s sugar is digested and absorbed in the body more slowly
Which exercise works?
Belly fat – that annoying and stubborn thing that happens to us as we age, is often cited as a factor in diabetes. Can exercise help? A recent study suggests that tai chi can be just as helpful as a hard workout in the gym, and easier to maintain as an exercise programme. Described as ‘meditation in motion’, tai chi is becoming increasingly available to groups around the country, with the added bonus that it often takes place in green landscapes such as parks.
Intensive weight loss programmes
Support seems to be growing for intensive weight loss programmes that see people with Type 2 diabetes and obesity seeing good results after following a low-energy replacement diet.
In one study, over a quarter of those involved were able to stop using blood pressure medication for at least two years.
In the Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial (DiRECT) Trusted Source, researchers at the Universities of Glasgow and Newcastle demonstrated that the primary-care-driven intensive weight management programme Counterweight-Plus resulted in remission of type 2 diabetes in 46% of participants at 12 months. That’s one that is recommended should only be undertaken with long-term medical support.
If you’re already diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, please do talk to your specialist health adviser before taking on any drastic lifestyle changes.
Author Kathy Lawrence is editor of When They Get Older.