According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 30.3 million people have diabetes, or some 9.4% of the US population. Type 1 diabetes sufferers’ pancreases make very little insulin or none at all. Without insulin—the hormone that enables blood sugar to enter the cells in your body where it can be used for energy—blood sugar can’t get into cells and dangerously builds up in the bloodstream.
Type 1 diabetes is a particularly unpleasant condition. It occurs when the pancreas ceases to produce the insulin needed by the body to metabolize sugar and, until the invention of artificial insulin injections, it was as deadly as cancer. Type 2 is the less severe form of the disease, where the body produces insufficient insulin; it can often be managed through diet alone.
Swift urges RDs to be informed and stay up-to-date as complementary and alternative medicine data evolves. Use a “whole systems, whole person” approach to health and healing. The Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health is a good place to start. “They have an outstanding program on diabetes care that’s multidisciplinary and integrative,” Swift says. You also can receive continuing education credits for attending.
A: Fasting plasma glucose and weight change 2 years after randomization either to gastric banding or to intensive medical therapy for weight loss and glucose control. Data plotted with permission from Dixon et al. (13). B: Early changes in fasting plasma glucose level following pancreatoduodenal bypass surgery. A decrease into the normal range was seen within 7 days. Reproduced with permission from Taylor (98).
Refined sugar: Refined sugar rapidly spikes blood glucose, and soda, fruit juice and other sugary beverages are the worst culprits. These forms of sugar enter the bloodstream rapidly and can cause extreme elevations in blood glucose. (7) Even though natural sweeteners like raw honey and maple syrup are better options, they can still affect blood sugar levels, so only use these foods on occasion. Your best option is to switch to stevia, a natural sweetener that won’t have as much of an impact.
Momordica Charantia goes under a variety of names and is native to some areas of Asia, India, Africa and South America. Marketed as charantia, it is also known as karela or karolla and bitter melon. The herb may be prepared in a variety of different ways, and may be able to help diabetics with insulin secretion, glucose oxidation and other processes.
7. SGLT2 Inhibitors These drugs work by increasing the amount of glucose excreted in the urine. They've been associated with weight loss and improvement in blood pressure. Side effects may include urinary tract infections and diabetic ketoacidosis, a serious condition in which acid blood levels rise. They are Invokana (canagliflozin) and Farxiga (dapagliflozin).
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