November is American Diabetes Month and with diabetes being the seventh leading cause of deaths in the US – it’s important that we talk about it. Every year, more than 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes and the percentage of the population that has diabetes has been steadily growing since the CDC started keeping track in 1958. So what gives? First things first, you have to know the difference between the two main types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2.
Type 1 diabetes is a chronic autoimmune condition in which the pancreas produces little to no insulin. Insulin is the hormone that transports sugars from our blood to the cells in our body. Type 1 can affect anyone, at any age, and from any race. It usually is diagnosed in adolescence. There is no preventing type 1 diabetes and what causes it is unknown. Type 1 diabetes can be managed with insulin therapy as well as a healthy diet and exercise. Those with type 1 diabetes can live a perfectly healthy, normal life with proper management. Uncontrolled type 1 diabetes can cause a number of symptoms and conditions that can even be fatal. Insulin injections are required for life as there is currently no cure for type 1 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes. It is a metabolic condition where the pancreas either no longer produces enough insulin or is resistant to it and uses it incorrectly. Although genetics can play a role in type 2 diabetes, it can be prevented through healthy diet and exercise. Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include genetics, lifestyle choices, and being overweight. Treatment and symptoms for type 2 diabetes is much the same as treatment and symptoms for type 1 diabetes, however, with the proper dietary changes, weight management, and exercise those with type 2 diabetes can increase their insulin sensitivity, so that it starts working correctly again, thus curing themselves of diabetes.
As of 2018, 34.2 million Americans had diabetes according to the ADA (American Diabetes Association). Of those about 32.6 million had type 2 diabetes. As stated above – type 2 diabetes is both caused by and can be cured by lifestyle choices. Unfortunately, the American population’s lifestyle choices have historically gotten unhealthier. We are much less active than we used to be. We sit for extended periods of time when we’re driving, sitting at our desks while at work and school, and when we’re home we sit on the couch and watch tv. Along with our decline in activity, we also have increased our portion sizes & increased our intake of junk foods. These lifestyle choices are habits that are then passed to our offspring and continue the unhealthy cycle.
In order to reverse this trend and start seeing diabetes numbers decline, we will have to make large scale lifestyle choices. We have to make an effort to move more, something as simple as a daily walk can reduce your risk for diabetes. Most importantly, we have to eat better. To quote Hippocrates: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. The best place to start is by reducing and cutting out prepackaged, processed foods and drinks from out diets. Sport drinks and sodas are loaded with simple sugars that provide no nutritional value and increase insulin resistance, they are essentially liquid candy. Packaged candies, cookies, cereals, snack bars, etc should all be consumed with caution. We must read labels! Avoid added sugars, trans fats, and high sodium. Read ingredients to check for hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, and other hidden nasties – if you can’t pronounce it or don’t know what it is – don’t eat it! Stick to whole food items. Those with type 2 diabetes are encouraged to fill half of their plates with a non starchy veg, a quarter with protein, and a quarter with complex carbohydrates. There’s a common misconception that carbs are bad, especially with diabetes and this simply isn’t true. Individuals looking to prevent or treat type 2 diabetes should include carbs such as fruit, vegetables, root vegetables, and whole grains in their daily diets. These are all good sources of fiber which is key in helping to increase insulin sensitivity, i.e. make it work the way it’s supposed to.
By understanding the differences between type 1 & 2 diabetes, how we can prevent and treat type 2 diabetes, we can get people back to living healthy lives. We know change is hard, and can be even more difficult when you’re always on the go. That’s why we’re here. All of our Catered Fit meal plans will work to support a healthy active lifestyle. If you need help choosing the plan for your needs just give us a call at 855-400-CFIT or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.