In the past, diabetes mellitus, also known as type 2 diabetes, was considered “adult-onset diabetes” because it usually only appeared at an advanced age, but due to obesity and lack of exercise, more and more younger people are also affected. In Europe, 10 percent of the population already suffers from diabetes and many relevant articles already refer to it as the new widespread disease.
The cause of the elevated blood glucose level in type 2 diabetes is insulin resistance in the body’s cells, which initially respond less and less well to the hormone and eventually become completely insensitive; this may have genetic reasons, but is usually due to poor nutrition. The blood sugar can no longer reach the cells and the blood sugar level rises, this damages vessels and nerves and can lead to serious consequential damage.
Nevertheless, patients are not helplessly at the mercy of the disease; a change in lifestyle and eating habits can not only effectively prevent type 2 diabetes, but also stop the progression of the disease altogether.
- Abstain from too much fat.
First of all, diabetes doesn’t necessarily come from sweets.
Dr. Monika Toeller of the German Diabetes Center at the University of Düsseldorf, said the following in an interview for Apotheken Umschau: “Simply put: sugar does not come from sugar. Type 2 diabetes is often triggered by a diet too high in fat. Many people forget that chocolate and pastries also contain fat. One gram of sugar has four calories, one gram of fat has more than twice that, nine. Fat is the worst culprit” and further “Fat is not only high in calories. If liquid vegetable oil is hydrogenated, for example for ready meals, “trans fatty acids” are produced. These “hydrogenated” fats put a lot of stress on the body. Because they promote vascular damage, it pays to read ingredient lists carefully, avoid saturated or hydrogenated fats.”
Recommended dose is about 80g of fat a day. Care should also be taken to avoid saturated fatty acids, which are found mainly in animal products, as these promote insulin resistance. Unsaturated fatty acids, on the other hand, have a positive effect on insulin resistance and are found in large quantities in fish and soy products.
- Avoid stress
During stress, the body produces the stress hormone cortisol, which, together with other hormones such as glucagon, causes the blood sugar level to rise. To prevent stress from developing in the first place, relaxation techniques such as yoga, scheduling relaxation breaks into their daily routine, and small, fixed rituals, such as a daily walk after lunch, help. In addition, you should make sure you get enough sleep at night; too little sleep also leads to an increase in stress hormones.
- Reduce your weight
If you are overweight and suffer from high blood sugar levels, or already have type 2 diabetes, you should seriously try to reduce your weight. Obesity not only promotes insulin resistance, but also demands higher insulin requirements. The first successes can already be seen with a weight reduction of 5% in the first 6-12 months. Diabetics are recommended to lose about 1 to 2% of their weight each month, as larger weight losses often do not last.
- Pay attention to the glycemic index (GI)
The glycemic index indicates how much a carbohydrate-rich food affects blood sugar levels. Glucose, which no longer needs to be converted and can be absorbed directly into the blood, has a GI of 100. Foods with a high GI include white bread, white rice, mashed potatoes and cornflakes, while whole grains, legumes, apples, carrots, pasta (without the sauce) and yogurt have a low GI.
- Quit smoking
This point affects only part of the people, but for them it is probably the most difficult, but smoking harms much more than just the lungs. Studies show that smoking promotes the development of diabetes. Smokers are twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes, and men over 40 are particularly affected. Although researchers have not yet been able to prove the exact causes of this relationship, they suspect that carbon monoxide and nicotine from tobacco smoke affect insulin production by the pancreas and reduce the sensitivity of insulin receptors.
Furthermore, the constantly elevated blood sugar level damages the blood vessels, which increases the risk of secondary diseases. Heart attacks and strokes are the leading causes of death among diabetics, and smoking further exacerbates these dangers.
https://www.mondosano.de/ratgeber-artikel/langzeitzuckerwert-senken-10-tipps; https://www.zentrum-der-gesundheit.de/artikel/diabetes/blutzucker-senken-ia; https://www.diabetes-news.de/nachrichten/diabtes-daten-2020-das-sind-die-zahlen; https://www.diabetesde.org/pressemitteilung/rauchen-foerdert-typ-2-diabetes-folgeerkrankungen; https://www.diabetes-deutschland.de/archiv/4998.htm
This article previously appeared once in April 2021 and has been updated and expanded with new information.