Insulin has many functions, and while it can’t get glucose into your muscle cells efficiently when you have type 2 diabetes, it still manages to carry out its other tasks. What are they you ask, well it is still able to:
- convert carbohydrates to fat and store them in fat cells, and
- prevents stored fat from being released and used as energy for your body
In a non-diabetic, as much as forty per cent of carbohydrate eaten may be converted to fat, of course, that would depend on your calorie/kilojoule intake. If you have insulin resistance, as type 2 diabetics do, that figure would be higher. So when you take higher insulin doses, or if your pancreas is still releasing insulin and needs to release more to cover the food intake, it’s really more likely you will store extra body fat as a result!
Eating carbohydrates that require a lesser amount of insulin will make it easier for you to lose weight. So a low-GI carbohydrate diet, plus lowering your blood lipids (fats) and your blood sugar levels, will help you to stay slim or lose weight.
Facts about food that help raise your blood sugar levels quickly:
- Boiling and cooking foods containing starch will enable them to be absorbed more quickly. Heating breaks down starch making the sugar more accessible and faster to digest.
- Mashed potatoes are absorbed more quickly than whole potatoes, wheat-flour gives a higher blood sugar response when baked in bread, than when used in pasta
- Salt in food increases the absorption of sugar into the blood stream
- Drinking fluids with a meal encourages the stomach to empty more quickly
- Fruit juices raise your blood sugars dramatically as they have had the fiber removed
- Peeled fruits also raise your blood sugars faster than whole fruit
Just about everything we eat or drink causes our blood sugars to rise. There is one exception: water. Staying well hydrated can actually lower your blood sugar levels … part of the excess glucose will then be excreted in your urine.
The three major nutrients in food are protein, fat, and carbohydrate. Protein’s effect on blood sugars is minimal as very little, if any, is converted to glucose. Large amounts of protein though can have a sparing effect on your glucose metabolism giving a gradual rise in sugar levels.
The impact of dietary fat is usually of little significance. However, large amounts of fat causes a prolonged rise in your blood glucose levels. The reason this happens is not clear; researchers say large amounts of fat in your bloodstream contribute to temporary insulin resistance.
Carbohydrates are the nutrients that have the most effect on blood sugar levels.
The same dietary advice applies to people with and without type 2 diabetes and that is:
- eat less high-GI carbohydrates (refined)
- compensate with more low-GI carbohydrates