Traditionally, diabetic patients are at higher risk for developing cardiac complications. They are recommended to eat 'healthy' diet rich in carbohydrate contents such as pasta, bread and cereals as well as a minimum of five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. They are advised to cut down their fat intake. An increasing number of researchers and health practitioners now have started questioning about the efficacy of such diet. Let us find out whether such diet is really healthy for us or not.
Quite evidently, you can not stress on the efficacy of traditional diabetes treatment, especially for Type-II diabetes treatment and an increasing number of health experts and practitioners are now raising question against the traditional knowledge governing the standard diabetic diet. Many researchers now prefer to alter the definition of type-II diabetes and start defining it as a chronic disease resulting from carbohydrate metabolism. Sounds interesting, huh?
Insulin is the major compound that helps in keeping the balance of blood sugar level. When someone is suffering from diabetes, either his body lacks an adequate supply of insulin or insulin does not work properly in his body. Prevalently, in the case of Type-II diabetes, there is an abundance of insulin, but the problem is that the body has already become resistant to its effects.
Until recently, we only consider about limiting our sugar consumption in our diet, since sugar causes heaves in our blood-sugar level. However, doctors and dieticians recommend diabetic people to eat starches like potato, pasta, rice and bread. This recommendation is based on a long-held belief which says that starches offer a very slow and sustained release of sugars in the blood stream. Doctors also recommend having fruits since it is believed that fruits contain only fructose which does not cause a rise in the insulin level.
This proves how much ignorant we are even today when the life-threatening diseases are spreading like an epidemic. If you analyze the above context from a biochemical perspective, you can easily understand that the above theory has virtually no meaning. This is why the traditional and long-held belief on the ideal diet for diabetic patient is not correct.
According to DiabetesUK recommendation, diabetic patients should eat a minimum of five servings of fruit and vegetables daily in addition to meals based on starchy foods. But this is simply a nonsense concept. You are advised to cut your sugary consumption. Now the sugar you put in your tea is chemically known as sucrose, which is disaccharide, meaning two sugar compounds. Chemically it can be written as C12H22O11. When it enters into our bloodstream as a digested form, it is then converted into glucose (C6H12O6). This conversion is done by chemically combining with water (H2O). The process is as follows:
C12H22O11 + H2O -> C6H12O6 (1 Sucrose + 1 Water -> 2 Glucose)
Thus, the picture is clear. By combining with water molecule 100 gm of sugar containing 400 Kcals actually ends up in 105 gm of glucose with 420 Kcals.
There is no significant difference found in the case of starchy foods. Starches are known as polysaccharides, implying lots of sugar molecules. Since starch molecules are structured with strings of hundreds and thousands of sugar molecules, the chemical definition of starch is different from Sucrose. Chemically starch can be defined as C6H10O5, so by combining with water it is converted into glucose as follows:
C6H10O5 + H2O -> C6H12O6 (Starch + Water -> Glucose)
Here is a twist. In case of starch, water combines with greater proportion of starches and thus a higher amount of glucose is actually produced. 100 gm of starch is converted into 111 gm of glucose with 444 Kcals, which is practically more than sugars. So, it is very clear that if you follow DiabetesUK guidelines to lose your calorie consumption, you actually end up by gaining calorie intake. Is it a really wise strategy to follow?
Now what comes in the second place of recommendation is also very interesting. DiabetesUK suggests diabetic patients to have at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day and primarily fruits and vegetables contain fructose in the form of carbohydrate. Now it is believed that fructose does not raise the blood sugar level. But the chemical structure for both glucose and fructose is C6H12O6. Sucrose converts into 50% glucose and 50% fructose, on the other hand, starch converts into glucose only. So, does it imply sugar better than fruit?
Obviously, the answer is no.
DiabetesUK puts equal emphasis on both glucose-producing starch and fructose-producing vegetables and fruits. On the other hand, American Diabetic Association puts higher emphasis over starchy foods, recommending diabetic patients to take 6 to 11 portions of starchy servings per day. So is starchy food better in the United States than fruits or vegetables?
The underlying belief is that glucose contributes in raising the blood glucose level and thus insulin level, but fructose does not need insulin, so it is better than glucose. But this is not such a simple issue. The additional objective of diabetes treatment is to reduce the associated complications, the primary one is of course heart attack. In this aspect, fructose is certainly not a healthy choice, because it increases the risk for coronary heart disease and atherosclerosis.
So, we can conclude:
Diabetes mellitus is a disorder of improper nutrition intake. This disorder mainly develops as a result of high intake of carbohydrate food that a majority of people till today consider as a 'healthy' diet. Ever since this 'healthy' high carb diet is introduced, type-II diabetes has turned out to be an epidemic and it has now become a serious concern for children. The increase in the prevalence of diabetes is not a mere coincidence – rather it has a causal relationship.
DiabetesUK and American Diabetes Association recommend having diabetic patients the very diet that actually contributes to the development of the disease in the first place. In fact, it is such a diet that turns out the condition worse. This is why conventional treatment for diabetes is unsuccessful. However, there is an easy solution for treating Type-II diabetes simply by restricting carbohydrate intake, the exact opposite of the traditional approach. So my friend, the alarm is ringing and it is the high time to wake up.