A recent study by doctors at Newcastle and Glasgow Universities showed nearly half of participants were able to ‘reverse’ the effects of type 2 diabetes by following a meal replacement shake diet for 17 weeks.
The trial published in the Lancet medical journal and presented by doctors to the International Diabetes Federation showed that 46% of patients who took part in the trail entered remission from the disease within 1 year, with 86% losing 2 stone or more.
What you should know about diabetes
According to Diabetes UK, 371 million people worldwide are living with diabetes – 1 in 2 people don’t even know they have it.
What’s scary is that the majority of people don’t fully understand the health risks and MORE importantly how you can reverse these risks of type 2 by making simple changes. We’ve sifted through all the research on diabetes for you, so you can easily find everything you need to know!
Firstly, we’d love to share this pretty cool video by Diabetes UK, explaining what is diabetes?
To make it even easier and give you an informative breakdown of what you need to know, we’ve separated this guide into four simple sections:
- What’s the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes?
- What are the symptoms of diabetes?
- Diabetes myths busted
- 10 tips to prevent, or in some cases, reverse type 2 diabetes
What’s the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes?
The main difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes is that type 1 diabetes develops when the insulin-producing cells in the body have been destroyed and the body is unable to produce any insulin, while type 2 diabetes develops when the insulin-producing cells in the body are unable to produce enough insulin, or when the insulin that is produced does not work properly (known as insulin resistance). This happens due to leading a poor lifestyle, such as being overweight, smoking, drinking and not being active.
One of the biggest risk factors in the development for type 2 diabetes is obesity, accounting for 80-85%, which has also dramatically increased in children even below the age of ten.
It is estimated that by the year 2025, 5 million people will have type 2 diabetes in the UK.
So, what’s prediabetes?
Prediabetes is characterised by the presence of blood glucose levels that are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be classed as diabetes. It’s often described as the ‘grey area’ between normal blood sugar and diabetic levels. In the UK, around 7 million people are estimated to be prediabetic and have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
You should be tested for prediabetes if you:
- Are overweight or obese
- You have a close relative who is diabetic
- You have high blood pressure, low HDL ‘good cholesterol’ or high triglycerides
- You’re over 40
- You have given birth to a baby weighing over 9-10 lbs
What are the symptoms of diabetes?
It’s hard to ignore the signs of type 1 diabetes because symptoms can often appear quite quickly. Leaving it untreated can lead to serious health problems, including diabetic ketoacidosis, which can result in a potentially fatal coma.
Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, is harder to spot as they develop slowly – especially in the early stages. Left untreated, type 2 diabetes affects many major organs, including your heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes and kidneys. Being diagnosed early and controlling your blood sugar levels can help prevent these complications.
Common symptoms of diabetes:
- Going to the toilet a lot, especially at night
- Feeling really thirsty all the time
- Feeling more tired than usual
- Unexplained weight loss
- Genital itching or thrush
- Cuts and wounds take longer to heal
- Blurred vision
Why would I get these symptoms?
These symptoms occur because some or all of the glucose stays in the blood, and isn’t being used as fuel for energy. The body tries to reduce blood glucose levels by flushing the excess glucose out of the body in the urine.
What if I have these symptoms?
If you think that you have the symptoms of diabetes listed above, you need to book an appointment with your GP to have a glucose blood test. Having the symptoms above doesn’t necessarily mean you have diabetes, but it’s worth checking for an early diagnosis of either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Getting treatment and good control early on is really vital and can reduce the chances of developing serious complications or even a diabetic coma.
What if my child has any of these symptoms?
Children are more likely to develop type 1 diabetes, but type 2 is getting even more common in children too. To help you spot the 4 most common symptoms of diabetes in children and young people, Diabetes UK has created the 4 Ts of diabetes.
3 diabetes myths busted
Diabetes is no joke. Sometimes diabetics can be asked a few silly questions like…
Did you get diabetes because you ate too many sweets and sugar?
Which can be pretty disheartening if you have the condition, right?
Knowing the facts about diabetes is important when it comes to managing the condition. There is so much information out there, but not all of it is true. This section aims to help dispel some of the most common myths about diabetes – let’s have a look at the 3 common diabetes myths…
Myth 1 | You got diabetes because you ate too many sweets and too much sugar
No amount of sugar in your diet – or anything in your lifestyle – has caused or can cause you to get type 1 diabetes. For type 2 diabetes, although we know sugar doesn’t directly cause type 2, you are more likely to get it if you are overweight, take in more calories than your body needs (that includes sugar, carbs and fat), and consume drinks containing lots of calories.
Myth 2 | People with diabetes should only eat diabetic food
‘Diabetic’ labelled foods like sweets, biscuits and similar foods that are generally high in fat, sugar and calories (including diabetic chocolate) are considered as a no-no by Diabetes UK – who do not recommend eating ‘diabetic’ foods. These foods are substituted with high levels of sweetener and will still affect your blood glucose levels. These foods are also expensive and can give you diarrhoea. Instead, always eat real foods and take the right amount of insulin, or cut down on high-sugar foods.
Myth 3 | You can’t play sports if you have diabetes
Whether you have diabetes or not, everyone should exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle. Keeping active can help reduce the risk of complications associated with diabetes, such as heart disease. Balancing exercise and diabetes can be more challenging, but nothing should ever stop you from playing sports with the condition.
Did you know Steve Redgrave, Olympic gold medal-winning rower, has achieved great sporting achievements in spite of having diabetes? That should inspire you to take up a new sport! Why not get started by reading one of our workout blogs – we share easy-to-follow workouts, including; kick-starting with yoga, finding time for walking 30 minutes a day, getting the benefits of cycling and swimming yourself slender.
Remember, there may be some considerations to take into account before taking up a new exercise regime, so talk to your GP or diabetic nurse.
10 tips to prevent, or in some cases, reverse type 2 diabetes
1. Manage your weight
Obesity accounts for 80-85% of the development of type 2 diabetes. As evidenced in the recent study, an Exante 5:2 Intermittent Fasting Diet could be the best way to reduce your risk of developing it or helping to reverse it.
What’s the 5:2? The 5:2 diet is an intermittent fasting plan. Traditionally, the plan involves 2 non-consecutive ‘fasting’ days where you restrict your daily calorie intake and 5 days of normal eating. It’s:
- A sustainable way to maintain a healthy lifestyle long-term
- Perfect for those looking to lose or maintain their weight
- A simple concept proven to promote weight losses of around 2 lbs per week
- Suitable for type 2 diabetes
2. Increase your physical activity
Physical activity doesn’t just mean you have to sweat it out at the gym! It can involve anything from walking the dog, to playing with the kids. But try to get at least 30 minutes a day into your lifestyle.
Why not join the Diabetes UK 1 Million Steps Challenge? Between 1 July and 30 September, push yourself out of your comfort zone and take 1 million steps over 3 months and get sponsored for every stride. Walk it. Jog It. Dance it. The choice is yours. You will need to take at least 10,000 steps a day to reach your million, so do it your way. You can take on the challenge alone, or better still, get your family, friends and colleagues involved. You can even split a million steps between a team to make it easier. However you take part, the money you raise is vital in our fight against diabetes.
3. Watch out for hidden sugars
Watch out for hidden sugars in foods, especially foods that may appear healthy, such as orange juice. Don’t be fooled by labels stating low-fat or diet as these can often contain ‘extra sugars’ to help improve the taste and palatability of the product that’s in place of the fat. Even savoury foods, like ready-made soups and sauces, can contain added sugar.
It’s no surprise to you that sodas are full of sugar (a can of soft drink can contain the equivalent of seven teaspoons of sugar) but what might surprise you is the amount of sugar in some fruit juices, including orange juice – just take a look on the back of juices. If you feel like something sweet, try having berries like strawberries and blueberries that taste sweet but are seriously low in sugar.
4. Read the label carefully
Sucrose, fructose and syrups are all forms of sugar regularly used in food products, so keep an eye out on the labels for the sneaky sounding ingredients at the top of the product ingredient list. Always avoid as these will raise your blood glucose levels very quickly!
The UK Food Traffic Light System for ‘front of pack’ labelling, while still voluntary, has been around for a while now and is an easy way to check at a glance how healthy a food is. The labels show how many calories are in the food or drink and are also colour coded to show whether the food is low (green), medium (amber) or high (red) in fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt. Here’s a handy guide…
5. Eat your pulses and legumes
Beans, pulses and lentils are high in fibre, low in fat and packed with nutrients. Whilst they are carbohydrates, they are low GI – meaning they will have a much smaller effect on your blood glucose. Pulses have many health benefits and it’s so easy to get more of them in your meals and they’re cheap, too!
6. Eat more fibre
Having diabetes can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. Evidence shows that increasing your intake of fibre, especially whole grains, can help reduce the risk of cardio-metabolic diseases – this includes cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and obesity. Swapping to a high fibre diet can seriously improve your overall health and research says that eating a breakfast high in fibre can lead to lower cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure. Check out our u
7. Add spices to your meals
An ingredient not known by many, but spices can be instrumental in the prevention of type 2 diabetes. More recently, Cinnamon has been hailed as a wonder spice for controlling blood glucose levels, helping prevent and ease the burden of Type 2 Diabetes. Adding a sprinkle to your Exante Pancakes or Porridge will add another depth of warming flavour to these already delicious diet options. Check out our blog on the top 5 spices to aid weight loss and diabetes.
8. Get educated on the Glycemic Index
This will be your ultimate go-to bible: the Glycemic Index. The Glycemic Index (GI) is a relative ranking of carbohydrate in foods according to how they affect blood glucose levels. Carbohydrates with a low GI value (55 or less) are more slowly digested, absorbed and metabolised and cause a lower and slower rise in blood glucose and, therefore insulin levels.
When looking at foods always try to opt for low GI. This means the food will cause less of a glucose spike. This way of eating low GI will not only decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes – but also assist in improving the management of both type 1 and 2 diabetes. Having an understanding of GI has been shown to improve blood glucose levels, reduce insulin resistance and improve blood cholesterol, which are all important for managing diabetes and reducing the risk of long-term diabetes-related complications.
8. Get a blood test
One of the most important things we ask of you right now is to get your blood glucose levels checked – especially if you feel like you’re suffering from the symptoms we outlined. There are so many different treatments available to help you manage and control your diabetes. Everybody is different, so treatment will vary depending on your own individual needs, but your GP or a healthcare professional can help you find the one that suits you and your lifestyle. Visit Diabetes UK for more info and remember to book an appointment with your local surgery now.
10. Choose Exante
You can significantly reduce your chances of being diagnosed with diabetes if you are at risk, by losing a moderate amount of weight – somewhere between 10-15lbs. If you already have diabetes or think you may be at risk because of your weight, why not try either our Exante Total Solution or 5:2 Diet Plan today to see how much you can lose.
Exante offers a variety of flexible low-calorie and very-low-calorie diet plans where meal replacement products are used to assist with weight loss or weight management to promote good health. Highly nutritious, 3 products a day will give you 100% of your RDAs of over 27 vitamins and minerals.
With a proven record of success, Exante can be the ideal diet for achieving a normal body weight, leading to a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes and the associated complications. As well as reducing the risk of becoming diabetic, Exante can ease the pressures of managing diabetes by providing low carb, balanced, calorie-controlled meals, and, lastly, could even help to reverse type 2 diabetes…
A recent study has demonstrated that type 2 diabetes could be reversed through the use of a very low-calorie diet.