Diabetes is a common condition that currently affects approximately 3.7 million people in the UK. Around 90 percent of children and adults living with diabetes in the UK have Type 2 diabetes.
Insulin plays a vital role in each of our daily lives, it lets the glucose in our blood enter our cells and helps maintain our bodies. For those living with Type 2 diabetes, the body is unable to produce the correct levels of insulin required to function properly, which results in high levels of glucose the blood.
Symptoms can include, feeling exceptionally tired, needing to urinate frequently, feeling extremely thirsty, infections (such as thrush), and cuts and grazes healing slowly. Some people living with Type 2 diabetes can go undiagnosed for up to 10 years, as they fail to notice the symptoms or may not get any of them.
More severe symptoms, also known as complications of diabetes might develop after a prolonged period of time and can seriously impact your heart, eyes, feet and kidneys.
Although Type 2 diabetes is generally more widely associated with adults aged 40 and older, it can develop at any age. Diagnoses are becoming more common amongst children and young adults and this is often linked with having a family history of Type 2 diabetes, being overweight and inactive.
How to Reduce Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes:
The food we eat plays a pivotal part in helping to manage our weight, which should in turn reduce the risk of being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. We can implement small but manageable changes into our diets which will aim to have a noticeably positive impact on our energy levels and how we feel on a daily basis.
The amount of food you should eat is dependent on your gender, age, activity levels and long-term body goals. The dimensions of the plates and bowls we use has increased, which has led to a growth in portion sizes. Try using smaller dishes instead, as the food on the plate appears bigger which helps condense your overall portion sizes.
Always Read The Label
Make sure you carefully examine the food labels whilst doing your weekly shop, most items display their fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt content on the front of the packaging using the colour coded traffic light system, green is considered low, amber is medium and red is high.
As a rule of thumb, generally stick with green labels, occasionally amber and red can be saved for a treat or special occasion! On the back you will find a more detailed list of ingredients, the highest-quantity ingredient will be stated first and the lowest-quantity ingredient will be last.
Know The Difference
There are a number of varying claims which can be found on food labels that consumers often find a little confusing. For example, no added sugar means that no artificial sugar has been added, but there may be naturally occurring sugars included within the dish. Whereas low sugar is defined as having less than 5g of sugar per 100g.
Eating red and processed meats, such as beef, lamb, sausages and ham, are commonly associated with cancer and heart problems. Attempt to swap them for healthier alternatives that should help to keep you fuller for longer, such as eggs, fish, poultry (chicken and turkey) and unsalted nuts. If you’re feeling peckish in between meals, opt for fruit as a snack instead of chocolate, cakes or biscuits, as it contains natural sugar and aids you in getting the right amount of nourishment needed to fuel our bodies.