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There is a silent killer that's creeping into American lives, and it's not what most think it might be. 

It's neither external threats like terrorism or wide-spread epidemic like Ebola

In fact, it's self-induced and internal. The killer is the diabetes. 

Every year, diabetes kills more people than AIDS and breast cancer combined and put more than 29 million people at risk for stroke, heart disease, coma, kidney disease, blindness and amputation

This once considered older people's disease is not so far distance away even for young people.

As more American children and adolescents become overweight or obese and inactive, type 2 diabetes is becoming common amongst youth and spreading far and wide reaching young people aged 10 or older. And the odds are, you are just a few short years of poor weight management away from being diagnosed of diabetes.... if you don't have it already. 

The first thing to do is to take diabetes risk test to see if you are at risk of diabetes and run a self-check to find out whether you have any of these 7 diabetes symptoms

If you do, get a proper diagnosis and consider diabetes treatment. 

Type 1 and 2 Diabetes Comparison

Diabetes, although often misunderstood as one disease, it's actually a group of disease with several different types.

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are two main types, with type 2 being the most common and accounting 95% of diabetes. 

Type 1 also known as juvenile diabetes is an underlying autoimmune disease and accounts for about 5% of the diabetes population. Because people with type 1 diabetes do not produce enough insulin, in addition to healthy eating, they are often prescribed insulin injections to manage their insulin level. 

Type 2 Diabetes Treatment

Healthy active lifestyle for Type 2 Diabetes

Unlike type 1 diabetes where your pancreas just doesn't produce enough insulin, you can develop type 2 diabetes when your body becomes insulin resistant or when the pancreas stops producing enough insulin.

The exact cause of this is unknown, but genetics, environmental factors such as weight and inactivity seem to be contributing factors. 

With type 2 diabetes tightly linked to diet and lifestyle, it's no surprise the key to both prevention and treatment is healthy eating and active life.

According to Mayo Clinic, losing approximately 7 % of your initial body weight, combined with regular exercise can lower your risk of developing diabetes by as much as 60%. 

In fact, if you happen to have adult-onset diabetes (type 2), managing through lifestyle changes such as incorporating type 2 diabetes diet is a critical part of your life. Whether you are at risk, already have pre-diabetes or recently received type 2 diabetes diagnosis, learning healthy eating methods in type 2 diabetes treatment will only help you prevent and manage the chronic disease. 

As part of type 2 diabetes treatment, Mayo Clinic recommends 2 dieting techniques amazingly effective for people with type 2 diabetes. 

Type 2 Diabetes Diet - 2 ways

Healthy grilled vegetables

  1. Plate Methods (Portion control) 
  2. Carb Counting 

Method 1. Plate Method (Control serving sizes) 

Control serving sizes

If you are as lazy as me, you probably hate any diet that involves counting including calorie counting, carb counting and fat gram tallying. 

Plate method removes all the hassles of counting and running calculations in your head. Instead, it uses a serving plate as a way to measure your foods and tell what to eat for how much.

It's easy, simple and hassle - free, but super effective. Once you get used to the idea of this plate method, it literally becomes your second nature. 

I don't have diabetes, but this is the method I personally use to practice healthy eating. I use it to measure my food and ensure I eat a balanced meal every time. 

One word of caution is, with American indulgent culture where everything can be super-sized and refilled for almost free, it's too easy to have a misconception of what a proper serving size looks like. To accurately understand proper plate size, it's recommended that you use measuring cups and directions of food labels in the beginning to serve your plate. 

There are 3 easy steps to the Plate Method

Step 1: Fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables.

Healthy non-starchy veggies and salmon

These include all vegetables except potatoes, beans, lentils, corn, peas or winter squash. 

Superfoods such as leafy greens and kale are excellent choices and usually low in starch content. 

Step 2: Fill one quarter of your plate with lean meat or other protein sources such as fish. 

Lean meat choices include beef, pork, skinless chicken, fish, and eggs. Meat can also be substituted with foods like cheese, peanut butter, nuts, seeds and tofu. 

Baking, grilling and boiling are three healthiest cooking methods that require no excess oil usage.

When cooking your meat, avoid frying or adding fats as limiting total (especially bad) fat consumption is necessary to lower blood sugar and blood cholesterol. For high-temperature cooking, coconut oil is recommended.

Olive oil is also great for low-temperature cooking and as a salad dressing. 

Step 3: Use the remainder of plate for carbohydrate 

Your carbohydrate choice can be either fruits, or milk and yogurt. 

Method 2. Carb Counting

Carb counting

Mayo Clinic states carbohydrates have the greatest impact on your blood glucose.

Since the balance between your carbohydrate intake and insulin determines your blood glucose level, counting carb is a proven way to avoid the blood sugar level from going too high or too low.

As name implies, carb counting counts how much carb you consume at each meal or snack to better manage your blood glucose level.

Carb counting is a bit more complex than the plate method, but if you take diabetes medication or insulin, it may be a necessary meal planning tool. 

Carb counting has several steps, and here is how to get started. 

Step 1: Speak with your dietitian to determine how many carb you should aim for at meals. 

Step 2: Look up carb content of each food you eat. There are several ways to do this. 

  • Use online resource or mobile apps that list carb contents 
  • Use Nutrition Facts Label on most packaged foods. Write down the serving size and the total carbohydrate . 

Step 3: Guess how much you'll eat and do the math. 

Will you eat 1 cup or 2 cups? If your chicken soup's serving size is 1 cup and there is 12 grams of total carbohydrate in 1 cup of soup, having 2 cups will result in 24 grams of carbs. 

There are additional tips on how to make carb counting diet work. 

1. Be Consistent 

Don't skip a meal or over-indulge on one meal. Inconsistent eating pattern can cause your blood glucose levels to go too high or low. 

2. Don't Go Overboard On Non-Carb Foods 

Healthy broccoli for dieting

Just because you are not counting proteins and fats doesn't mean you can eat them how much ever you want. High calories and too much fat can make controlling your blood sugar difficult and put you at risk for weight gain and other health problems such as heart disease and stroke. 

Also remember, fats can be either good fat or bad fat. Fat from avocado, coconut and many seeds like chia seeds are considered good fats, while animal fat is high in saturated fat. 

3. Carb-Counting Is Not The Same as Low-Carb Diet 

Although you do need to control your carbohydrates, carb-counting is not the same thing as low-carb diet such as Atkins diet or Paleo diet

To balance your blood glucose level, you need to take in the right amount of carbs, not just low or absolute minimum levels. For example, Atkins diet recommends eating 20 grams of carbohydrate a day. Depending on your carb needs, that may be too low for you.

Again, your goal is to keep your carb intake in your goal range.

Eliminating nor putting extreme limit on your carbohydrate intake may not be all that healthy for you and appropriate for your diabetes treatment. 

Speak with you physician and dietitian to find out what diet may work best for you. 

There you have it! I hope you now understand what each type of diabetes is and few ideas on its treatment methods. Again, whether you have it or not, these techniques can be applied as part of your healthy eating approach to better your health. At best, it can prevent the chronic disease and control it should you have it already. 

Do you have diabetes? If so, what type? And what treatment do you follow to manage your health? 

We'd love to hear your experience. Leave your diabetes experience in the comment section below! 


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