The incidence of diabetes has increased dramatically over the last 25 years and continues to rise. In 1980, the global prevalence of diabetes was 4.7% compared to 8.5% in 2014. The World Health Organization indicates that there are 422 million people in the world with diabetes and the global impact is an enormous burden on individual resources and international economies as more countries adopt the Western diet.
Food as medicine addresses the root cause of diabetes
Diet and lifestyle changes are the solution. The ideal treatment starts with optimal nutrition, increased physical activity, and stress relief. Type 1 diabetes is not curable, however the right foods can help control blood sugar, so less insulin is required. Most importantly, the complications of diabetes are prevented. Most cases of type 2 diabetes are actually reversible, allowing patients to discontinue their medications and maintain normal blood sugars.
Optimal nutrition for diabetes
People with diabetes need to know how to choose the right food, but it is just as important to know which foods to avoid. Certain foods promote insulin resistance and should be avoided. Studies show that animal products, saturated fats, sugar, and processed foods are the most damaging.
Science also shows that eating even moderate amounts of meat and fish increases the risk for diabetes. Less meat allows for more vegetables, fiber, whole grains, and folate.
With overwhelming evidence, science has proven that nutrition and exercise are what we need to know to control diabetes and prevent complications.
Carla Hightower, MD, MBA is a physician, health coach, workplace wellness consultant, and speaker. She helps people heal themselves with food. Through wellness workshops and courses, she helps companies create healthy, energetic teams.
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