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Type 2 diabetes can be a 'devastating diagnosis' says expert

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Type 2 diabetes stems from a dysfunction in the way the body produces insulin – a hormone released by the pancreas. The primary role of insulin is to regulate blood sugar levels. Without this moderating effect, blood sugar levels can rise to dangerous levels, causing a cascade of complications. Diet can mimic the effects of insulin by slowing down blood sugar rises but there are some items that present hidden health risks.

On the more eye-opening end of the spectrum are vegetables.

Vegetables are a staple of a healthy, balanced diet so do not cut them out completely but it’s worth moderating your intake of certain types.

The worst offenders are those that rank high on the glycaemic index, which ranks food depending on the rate at which the body breaks it down to form glucose (blood sugar).

“High GI foods break down very quickly causing blood glucose levels to rise sharply,” explains Diabetes.co.uk.

According to the health body, higher GI vegetables include carrots, potatoes, parsnips, propranolol prescription assistance beetroots and sweetcorn.

“Lower GI fruits include berries, plums, kiwi fruit and grapefruit,” it says.

The risks posed by high GI foods do not stop at blood sugar spikes.

As Diabetes.co.uk explains, “for those who produce their own insulin, high GI foods can force the body to try to produce a surge of insulin to counteract the quick acting carbohydrates and a common consequence of this is a feeling of hunger within two to three hours, which can leave the dieter craving more food.

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“For people with diabetes, this can be particularly dangerous as the ability of the body to control blood glucose levels is reduced or non-existent.”

However, the picture is a little more complicated than simply classifying foods as high and low GI.

As the NHS points out, “foods with a high GI are not necessarily unhealthy and not all foods with a low GI are healthy”.

For example, watermelon and parsnips are high GI foods, while chocolate cake has a lower GI value.

“Also, foods that contain or are cooked with fat and protein slow down the absorption of carbohydrate, lowering their GI,” the NHS notes.

For example, crisps have a lower GI than potatoes cooked without fat.

However, crisps are high in fat and should be eaten in moderation.

“If you only eat foods with a low GI, your diet may be unbalanced and high in fat,” warns the NHS.

Type 2 diabetes – do you have it?

Many people have type 2 diabetes without realising. This is because symptoms do not necessarily make you feel unwell.

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:

  • Peeing more than usual, particularly at night
  • Feeling thirsty all the time
  • Feeling very tired
  • Losing weight without trying to
  • Itching around your penis or vagina, or repeatedly getting thrush
  • Cuts or wounds taking longer to heal
  • Blurred vision.

See a GP if you have any of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes or you’re worried you may have a higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes, advises the NHS.

It adds: “You’ll need a blood test, which you may have to go to your local health centre for if it cannot be done at your GP surgery.”

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