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Learn about a host of diabetes-related topics such as how many Americans suffer from this disease to how to easily adjust to a new diet after diagnoses. This section will provide you with the information you need to make informed dietary decisions regarding diabetes.

Managing Type 2 Diabetes

Without proper management, type 2 diabetes can lead to serious health consequences and be fatal. But careful diabetes treatment can control and even reverse the condition.


Diabetes is an umbrella term to describe the phenomenon in which the body is unable to utilize glucose from carb sources, mostly related to the absence or resistance of insulin.

Insulin is produced from cells in the pancreas. It can be thought of as a key holder to the cells, allowing glucose to exit the bloodstream and enter into cells for energy use.

Without insulin functioning as the "key," glucose (the body's primary source of energy) starts to build up in the blood. This is why diabetes is also connected to having "high blood glucose" or "high blood sugar."

There are two primary types of diabetes, including type 1 and 2, though type 2 diabetes accounts for approximately 90 percent of cases. Type 2 diabetes is a chronic health condition with growing statistics, particularly as the obesity rates continue to rise.

Without proper management, diabetes can lead to serious health consequences and even be fatal. However, careful diabetes treatment can control and even reverse the condition.

How to Manage Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes results to elevated blood sugars mostly related to insulin resistance, a condition in which cells do not respond well to insulin and cannot sufficiently easily take up glucose the blood.

Insulin resistance also makes it difficult to lose weight, yet easy to gain. What’s more, weight gain is a chief complaint and common consequence of insulin resistance.

Insulin & Weight Gain

The problem with insulin is that it does more than solely signal glucose to enter body cells for energy, as the hormone is also a powerful fat-storing hormone.

When insulin is present in the body, fat breakdown often ceases, as insulin instructs the body to store extra calories as fat. Insulin also signals the body to take extra glucose and generate new fat molecules, which gets put into storage inside fat tissue.

Even despite increased determinations to lose it, heightened insulin levels may take precedency and hold onto weight.

Type 2 Diabetes Diagnosis

In addition to weight gain, individuals with pre- or full-fledged diabetes may notice darkened skin on certain parts of the body, including on the neck, armpits, elbows, knees and knuckles. Additional classic signs and symptoms of diabetes increase thirst and urination, blurred vision, and energy loss.

However, true diabetes diagnosing involves blood tests and includes the following laboratory values:

1. Fasting Plasma Glucose Test: This is measured by taking a blood sample and evaluating the amount of free glucose in that blood sample. Individuals take this test in a fasted state, or absent of food intake for eight hours, and generally performed after an overnight fast.

• Normal: Less than 100, or encouraged to be within 70 and 100
• Prediabetes: 100 to 125
• Diabetes: Greater than 126

2. Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT): The OGTT is used to determine how much sugar the body is able to process. This test is administered with the individual fasting, in which the individual with consume a sugary, glucose beverage will be consumed and be administered a blood test two hours after.

• Normal: Less than 140
• Prediabetes: 140 to 199
• Diabetes: Greater than 200

3. Hemoglobin A1C: Also known as known as glycated hemoglobin, average blood sugar, and HbA1C, this blood test measures average blood sugar up to three months. It also indicates can indicate the extent in which blood sugars were controlled over time.

• Normal: 5.6% or less
• Prediabetes: 5.7 to 6.4%
• Diabetes: 6.5% or greater on two separate occasions

If diagnosed, it is imperative to learn how to control type 2 diabetes to prevent consequences of poor management, including heart disease, skin conditions, and damage to the nerves, eyes, and kidneys.

How Do I Control Type 2 Diabetes?

With type 2 diabetes, the pancreas often becomes worn out over years and years of releasing insulin in response to ingested carbohydrates and/or sugars. Insulin levels can be high or low, contingent on how the pancreas is able to function.

Though dependent on the severity of the condition, some individuals with type 2 diabetes need to take insulin shots to help utilize ingested carbohydrate sources and control blood sugars.

Making lifestyle changes is also warranted to best control type 2 diabetes. Though managing type 2 diabetes should be coordinated with healthcare professionals, some tried and true methods show to effective in controlling blood sugars:

• Weight Loss and Management: Losing weight helps the cells become less resistant to the effects of insulin. Even losing five to 10 percent of body weight can improve blood sugars.

• Balanced Diet: A diabetic meal plan is balanced with whole grains, fruits and veggies, lean and plant-based proteins, low-fat dairy products, and healthy fat sources. The timing and portions of meals is also considered to best control blood sugars throughout the day.

• Regular Exercise: Active muscles help utilize sugar for energy, rather than building up in the bloodstream. Aim for at least 150 minutes of physical activity weekly, or at least aim to be active most days of the week, and incorporate two to three weight training sessions.

Sleeping seven to nine hours each night, controlling stress, and moderating alcohol intake are a few more additional ways to effectively manage diabetes.

How Do I Reverse Type 2 Diabetes?

First off, there is essentially no "cure" for diabetes, as the condition requires lifelong care and attention for the best overall outcomes.

However, making healthy lifestyle changes can help lower dosing needs of insulin or completely discontinue its need altogether. Recommendations regarding how to reverse type 2 diabetes include similar criteria to controlling the condition, including weight management, a balanced diet, and regular exercise.

Truly, whenever laboratory values start to normalize, type 2 diabetes is starting to become controlled and potentially even reversed.

It is essential, though, to not stop using insulin unless advised and directed under the care of a doctor. One should also continue making healthy lifestyle choices, as reverting back to old habits and regaining weight can resurface diabetes.

Written By Sarah Asay, RDN. Published on November 10, 2015. Updated on March 17, 2019.


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