According to the CDC, about 90-95% of people with diabetes have type 2, which is a condition where your body usually produces enough insulin but is unable to use it effectively due to insulin resistance. Type 2 diabetes is usually diagnosed in adults as it develops over many years, however in recent years, we are seeing more cases in children, teens and young adults, especially as obesity rates continue to rise.
That is why losing weight is the first treatment recommended by the American Diabetes Association Standards of Care 2023 for those with type 2 diabetes, especially if you are overweight. Having a healthy diet and exercise routine plays an important part in helping you to manage your diabetes.
The sugar in your blood comes from carbohydrates (carbs), and the more carbs you eat, the higher your blood sugar level will be. You can keep your blood sugar at a healthy level by making the right food choices. For example, you should:
○ Eat a variety of healthy foods from the following food groups:
○ Fruits and vegetables
○ Whole grains
○ Nonfat or low-fat dairy
○ Limit foods that are high in carbs, such as:
○ White rice
As every person is different, there is no one diet or meal plan that will work for everyone. You should speak with your doctor, diabetes educator or other healthcare team member about what your diet should look like. For more information, visit the National Library of Medicine’s diabetic diet webpage.
The American Diabetes Association recommends people with diabetes exercise a minimum of 150 minutes a week, and further recommend that 90 minutes be aerobic (cardio) exercise and the remaining 60 minutes be resistance or strength training. In a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, patients with type 2 diabetes were broken into four groups:
1. Those who did only cardio exercises.
2. Those who did only resistance training.
3. Those who did both cardio and resistance training.
4. Control group that did no exercising.
The results of the study showed the change in A1C was greater for the exercise groups than the control group. It also found that either cardio or resistance training alone improves glycemic control, but the improvements were greatest in those who did both cardio and resistance training.
Just like there is no diet that works for everyone, the same is true for exercising. The important things to remember are:
○ To exercise regularly.
○ Pick activities you enjoy, such as walking, swimming or yoga.
○ Choose activities that make your heartbeat faster, your muscles stronger and your muscles and joints more flexible.
○ Talk to your doctor before you start any exercise program.
For some people, a combination of a healthy diet and regular exercise can play a significant role in managing and in some instances putting their type 2 diabetes into remission.
For the latest tools and strategies to put you in the driver's seat to live a fulfilled life while managing your type 2 diabetes, please join us for a free 1-hour virtual diabetes webinar, On the Road to Better Management. Click here for the dates/times of the free webinar. We hope you’ll join us from your phone, laptop or device.