Type 2 diabetes management mainly consists of managing blood sugar levels – the main type of sugar found in blood. Ordinarily, the pancreas secretes a hormone called insulin that regulates blood sugar. If you have type 2 diabetes, insulin supply is scarce, which gives blood sugar levels free rein to rise. Consistently high blood sugar levels can usher in all-manner of serious complications.
High blood sugar levels can be lowered by making healthy lifestyle decisions, namely exercise and diet.
In terms of the latter, walking is a good way of achieving this.
Diabetes.co.uk explains: It might make sense that exercising harder would have a better effect on lowering blood sugar therefore but this is not always the case as strenuous exercise can produce a stress response which causes the body to raise blood glucose levels.”
Although, as the health body points out, this response does tend to vary from person person.
There’s technically nothing you cannot eat if you have type 2 diabetes, but you’ll have to limit certain foods.
The worst offenders are foods with a high carbohydrate content, namely those that rank high on the glycaemic index (GI).
The GI is a rating system for foods containing carbohydrates. It shows how quickly each food affects your blood sugar (glucose) level when that food is eaten on its own.
Carbohydrate foods that are broken down quickly by your body and cause a rapid increase in blood glucose have a high GI rating.
High GI foods include:
- Sugar and sugary foods
- Sugary soft drinks
- White bread
- White rice.
Low or medium GI foods, on the other hand, are broken down more slowly and cause a gradual rise in blood sugar levels over time.
They include some fruit and vegetables, pulses and wholegrain foods, such as porridge oats.
However, other factors must also be taken into account.
The NHS explains: “Research has shown that the amount of carbohydrate you eat, rather than its GI rating, has the biggest influence on blood glucose levels after meals.”