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I kept staring at the report on the table. It held the results of the tests that I had undergone as part of mandatory corporate medical health checkup.
“How could it happen?” I exclaimed out loud, shaking my head in utter disbelief.
Okay! So I was 29, mind you, just 29, and I had been diagnosed with Diabetes type II. Like how on the earth is this even possible!! Fine, I do have a family history. Both my Mom and Dad are diabetics but they developed the disease post 50 years of age and not in their prime years.
My colleague sitting next to me tried consoling me. He suggested that I take another test to confirm this. Maybe there was an error. I thought it was a good idea and I immediately scheduled another test the next morning.
Meanwhile, I tried gathering all the information that I could about how to manage this disease. God forbid, if I had it, I should be prepared. It had served as a warning to me. I now wanted to do everything possible in my capacity to prevent the occurrence of this disease or at least delay it as much as possible. Since I had a family history of this disease, I knew I would be impacted with it someday but now this incident had shaken me to the core and I wanted to delay that day as much as possible. I already knew the importance of diet and physical activity in the management of diabetes. But I was clueless about how to go about it. So I decided to pay a visit to a nutritionist friend of mine.
As I sat outside the chamber, I started reading all the billboards and posters around. I was surprised to know that every one out of 6 diabetics in the world was an Indian. Such high numbers!! Our sedentary lifestyle with high-calorie food and almost nil physical workouts was to blame. Also, genetically Indians were more susceptible to this disease. But this disease could easily be managed with a modified lifestyle. After all, even Ayurveda says, you become what you eat.
There are different types of diabetes and the food management depends on the kind of diabetes that a person has. The general notion is that avoiding sugar is enough. But that is not 100% correct. Sugar, of course, has to be avoided but there are certain kinds of food, especially those with high carbohydrates that also need to be avoided. The thumb rule for all kinds of diabetes whether Type II, Gestational Diabetes, or even if one has developed Insulin Resistance, is that the following food items should be avoided at all costs.
Apart from these, if a woman has been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, it is best to get a gestational diabetes diet charted out by the medical practitioner or a nutritionist. A gestational diabetes diet has to be moderated as it can impact not only the mother but the baby in the womb too. Sweets, pastries, and cakes are a strict no. They are loaded with sugars and increase the blood sugars abnormally. Fruits should not be eaten on an empty stomach. Physical exercises are a must in such a case along with a proper diet.
The kind of food we eat is important in keeping the blood sugar levels and the insulin levels in the body under check. But if you develop insulin resistance, it becomes harder for the body to burn food. In such a case, it is imperative to follow an insulin resistance diet. The major food groups to be avoided in the insulin resistance diet are saturated and trans fats. These fats are normally found in animal sources like meats viz. Pork, beef, lamb, and cheese. Also, food fried in partially hydrogenated oil can be rich in saturated and trans fats. Therefore, it is best avoided.
There is another form of diabetic diet known as prediabetes diet. According to the American Diabetes Institution, a person is prediabetic if the fasting blood sugar is between 100 to 125 mg/dL and Oral Glucose Tolerance Test conducted 2 hours after eating food is in the range of 140-199 mg/dL. This signals a warning that Type II diabetes can become a reality soon unless immediate lifestyle changes are not made. The most important lifestyle change here is changing the way you eat, increasing physical exercises and avoiding a sedentary lifestyle. The prediabetes diet’s basic approach is to limit highly processed foods and sugary beverages. It is better to have foods with low GI (Glycemic Index) and high fibre. Flavored coffee drinks, processed and sweetened breakfast cereal, soda should be avoided. It is a good idea to limit alcohol consumption as well.
Diabetes, as a disease can be managed by improving your lifestyle and incorporating physical workouts. Armored with new knowledge about what to avoid and how to go about, I was finally at peace with my reports and the test scheduled tomorrow. I was prepared to make some lifestyle changes and stop being a couch potato to usher in a healthy life
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