There are acute differences between the early stages of diabetes and the advanced stages. Thus, it doesn't make sense to treat all people with type-2 diabetes the same. In the early stages of the disease, people suffer from both hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia. Rather than take drugs that further increase the level of insulin in the blood, people with type-2 diabetes would do better to pursue therapies that increase the sensitivity of insulin receptors on the cell membranes.
One of the best defenses against mild to moderate type-2 diabetes and hyperinsulinemia is improved diet and exercise. Although the disease has a genetic component, many studies have shown that diet and exercise can prevent it (Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group 2002; Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group 2003; Muniyappa R et al 2003; Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group 2000). One study also showed that while some medications delay the development of diabetes, diet and exercise work better. Just 30 minutes a day of moderate physical activity, coupled with a 5 to 10 percent reduction in body weight, produces a 58 percent reduction in the incidence of diabetes among people at risk (Sheard NF 2003). The American Diabetes Association recommends a diet high in fiber and unrefined carbohydrates and low in saturated fat (Sheard NF et al 2004). Foods with a low glycemic index are especially recommended because they blunt the insulin response.
The high-carbohydrate, high-plant-fiber (HCF) diet popularized by James Anderson, MD, has substantial support and validation in the scientific literature as the diet of choice in the treatment of diabetes (Anderson JW et al 2004; Hodge AM et al 2004). And is very similar in many ways to what I practice and recommend. The HCF diet is high in cereal grains, legumes, and root vegetables and restricts simple sugar and fat intake. The caloric intake consists of 50 to 55 percent complex carbohydrates, 12 to 16 percent protein, and less than 30 percent fat, mostly unsaturated. The total fiber content is between 25 and 50 grams daily. The HCF diet produces many positive metabolic effects, including the following: lowered post meal hyperglycemia and delayed hypoglycemia; increased tissue sensitivity to insulin; reduced low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and triglyceride levels and increased high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels; and progressive weight loss. Dr. Anderson provided me some valuable information Yet, I found I could optimize my diet even better and get better results.
A healthy diet for diabetics is also rich in potassium. Potassium improves insulin sensitivity, responsiveness, and secretion. A high potassium intake also reduces the risk of heart disease, atherosclerosis, and cancer. Insulin administration induces potassium loss (Khaw KT et al 1984; Norbiato G et al 1984).
People who are obese have a far greater tendency to develop type-2 diabetes than those who are relatively slim. Therefore, weight loss accompanied by increase in exercise and a healthy diet is effective for diabetes prevention and treatment (Mensink M et al 2003; Sato Y 2000; Sato Y et al 2003).
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