Upon first being diagnosed with diabetes, many patients ask, "Can a good diet keep diabetes under control?". Most doctors will agree that a good diet low in carbohydrates and sugars can help a person with diabetes avoid many of the complications that often accompany the disease. While a good diet can not necessarily cure the illness, a good diet can keep diabetes under control.
People who have diabetes have a difficult time processing foods such as sugars and starches. Instead of processing them normally through their system, they stay in the system and in turn end up increasing the glucose in the bloodstream. When this occurs, it is called glycemia - which is too much sugar in the blood. People with type I or type II diabetes suffer from having too much glucose in the blood. As the glucose does not digest normally, it causes problems with the kidneys, liver, eyesight, heart and blood circulation in general.
Depending upon the stage of their diabetes, a physician will normally prescribe either a medication or insulin, depending on the severity of the disease. Both of these act to help the body process the sugars in the blood by breaking them down, allowing the patient to expel them. However, insulin and medication are no substitute for a healthy diet. Just because a person is taking medication or insulin does not give them carte blanche to consume all of the sugar and carbohydrates they can get their hands on. It is absolutely essential that a person with diabetes not only take medication or insulin as directed, but also adhere to a diabetic diet. This means getting familiar with which foods should be avoided and which foods can be eaten sparingly.
The Glycemic Index was established in 1981 to rate which carbohydrates are the worst for those with diabetes. The carbohydrates that are high on the list, such as white bread, take longer to digest and should be avoided. Carbohydrates that have low scores, such as brown rice, can be eaten in moderation. It is very difficult for anyone to avoid carbohydrates completely, which is why familiarizing oneself with the Glycemic Index is so important in treating and keeping diabetes under control.
In addition to carbohydrates that rate high on the Glycemic Index as well as low, there is also an intermediate group. It may surprise people to know that a chocolate bar is rated in the intermediate group on the Glycemic Index. This does not mean, however, that one should feel free to consume all the chocolate they want. The purpose of the Glycemic Index is to help individuals establish which foods should definitely be avoided and which foods are okay in moderation.
So, can a good diet keep diabetes at bay? The answer is yes. While it cannot cure a patient of diabetes, a good diet low in foods that have high ratings in the Glycemic Index and high in proteins can help an individual with this condition live a longer, healthier life. Until there is a cure for this potentially life threatening condition, it is important for all people who suffer from diabetes to familiarize themselves with the Glycemic Index so they can better understand how to control their disease
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