Tackle diabetes with diet & dedication

Tackle diabetes with diet & dedication

Tackle diabetes with diet & dedication

Any disease requires lifestyle management and diabetes is no different. A good diet, weight management and exercise can go a long way in helping you prevent, treat or manage the disease.

The first step to take is to identify the type of diabetes that you are dealing with. Diabetes is usually seen as either Type-1 diabetes (juvenile-diabetes or insulin dependent diabetes mellitus) that happens in childhood or Type-2 diabetes (adult-onset or non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus).

What is Type-1.5 diabetes?

Today, a new type of diabetes, i.e. latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA) has also been recognised. Type-1.5 diabetes is a form of childhood diabetes that occurs in adults over 30 years of age. In this type of diabetes, the body destroys its own insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas.

Type-1.5 diabetes was first described in 1993, to explain the slow onset Type-1 diabetes in adults. People with type 1.5 diabetes are usually non-obese, lean and even underweight while some may be overweight or mildly obese. Often people with type-1.5 diabetes may or may not have family history of the disease, but, may have a family history of other auto-immune conditions such as thyroid disease, arthritis, gluten-related disorders or celiac disease. They test positive for certain auto-antibodies that are not present in Type-2 diabetes.

How to treat it?

Treatment for Type-1.5 diabetes may involve managing diet, exercise and medication initially, but eventually insulin therapy is needed. Although Type-1.5 diabetes seems to initially respond to lifestyle and medication, it will not halt or slow the progression of beta cell destruction and subsequently, people will become insulin dependent.

Dietary recommendations to tackle the disease include slowing its progression, managing the body weight and maintaining optimum blood sugar levels. A high fibre, low glycemic index diet with anti-inflammatory foods and nutrients is useful in controlling the disorder.

Over the past years, evidence has supported a protective role of certain nutrients including Vitamins D, A and C along with selenium, magnesium, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, prebiotics, probiotics, glutamine, and flavanols in autoimmune conditions. Recent studies also indicate that Vitamin A is a potent immuno-regulator and can be instrumental in auto-immunity and prevention of inflammation. 

Diet therapy

Several studies have shown that diets high in omega-3 fatty acids, the kind of fat found in fish and flaxseeds, have a role in managing autoimmune diseases. Healthy fats such as cold-pressed oils including extra-virgin coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, sesame and organic mustard oil, soy and soy products, spices like turmeric and ginger have also been shown to be beneficial.

Diets, dietary supplements, active lifestyles, yoga and meditation must become an integral part of prevention and treatment of type 1.5 diabetes.

(The author is co-founder and CEO, The weightmonitor.)

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