Diabetes is a group of diseases marked by high levels of blood glucose resulting from defects in insulin production, insulin action, or both. If left untreated, diabetes can lead to serious complications and premature death.
At present, type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented. The environmental triggers that are thought to generate the process that results in the destruction of the body’s insulin-producing cells are still under investigation.
However, people with type 2 diabetes and those who are at risk for type 2 diabetes can take steps to control the disease and lower the risks. There is a lot of evidence that lifestyle changes (achieving a healthy body weight and moderate physical activity) can help prevent the development of type 2 diabetes. Among the many dangers for increased risk for type 2 diabetes, managing daily sugar intake is critical.
Sugar is found in many of the foods we eat today, whether it is in candy bars or soda. The challenge is finding ways to balance and enjoy these foods in moderation, without consuming too much and putting our health in jeopardy. In order to combat the onset of type 2 diabetes, we need to understand easy ways to manage sugar intake.
Here are 10 top ways to manage sugar:
1. Reduce the amount of processed foods you eat. Manufacturers often add sugar to pre-packaged and processed foods.
2. Buy fresh ingredients and personally prepare your foods.
3. Reduce the amount of sugar in recipes. Try to cut back the amount of sugar you use in recipes or look for an alternative such as honey or real maple syrup.
4. Grab some fruit when you have a sweet tooth. Fruit is naturally sweet, so when you feel a sugar craving coming on, grab a piece of fruit. Snacking on fruit will give you that needed burst of flavor plus added nutrients. Buy fresh fruit rather than canned fruit. Fruit from cans often come with extra sugar added, so be wary. Fresh fruit only contains naturally occurring sugar.
5. Moderate the amount of sugar you add to foods. Whether it’s coffee, tea, cereal, etc., try to cut back on the amount of sugar you add to your food and drinks. Eventually, you may not need sugar for sweetening.
6. Get rid of the candy jar. Eliminate temptations by removing the candy jar from your desk and other convenient places. Avoid places you know will have free treats on hand.
7. Avoid liquid calories (soda, sweetened drinks, teas or coffees). Sugary drinks are high in calories and many contain more sugar than what is recommended for an entire day. Drink water to quench your thirst.
8. Exercise when you can’t stay within the recommended values. Exercise causes your muscles to use the extra sugar in your body as fuel and also increases efficiency of insulin within the body.
9. Read nutrition labels and ingredient lists. There’s no easier way to see how much sugar is in your food than to read the ingredient list. Be careful and aware of hidden forms of sugar (fructose, sucrose, syrup, etc.) and avoid foods that contain sugar within the first five ingredients.
10. Be aware of portion sizes. Check the portion sizes of your food and beverages. For example, one serving of soda is 8 oz, but many people drink a 20 oz bottle in one sitting, at 2.5 servings per bottle.