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Type 2 Diabetes: Getting Your HBA1C Under Control

Updated on June 2, 2017
Terrielynn1 profile image

Terrie has type 2 diabetes. She has a certificate in fitness and nutrition. She has a passion for helping others find their path to health.

What Is Type 2 Diabetes?

This is the Mayo Clinic's definition of type 2 diabetes:

Type 2 diabetes, once known as adult-onset or noninsulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition that affects the way your body metabolizes sugar (glucose), your body's important source of fuel.

With type 2 diabetes, your body either resists the effects of insulin — a hormone that regulates the movement of sugar into your cells — or doesn't produce enough insulin to maintain a normal glucose level.

More common in adults, type 2 diabetes increasingly affects children as childhood obesity increases. There's no cure for type 2 diabetes, but you may be able to manage the condition by eating well, exercising and maintaining a healthy weight. If diet and exercise aren't enough to manage your blood sugar well, you also may need diabetes medications or insulin therapy.

The face of type 2 diabetes
The face of type 2 diabetes

Signs and Symptoms

  • It often develops slowly
  • Increased thirst and frequent urination
  • Increased hunger
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Slow-healing sores or frequent infection
  • Areas of darkened skin. Could be a condition known as acanthosis nigricans, which can be a sign of insulin resistance.

Consult Your Doctor

If you notice any of these signs or symptoms, please see your doctor or medical provider.

Risk Factors and Lifestyle

There is a common misconception that type 2 diabetes is brought on by lifestyle choices, particularly by eating too much sugar. The notion that eating too much sugar causes diabetes, however, isn't always right. This form of diabetes occurs when the pancreas no longer effectively uses the glucose it receives from carbs and sugars. This is called insulin resistance. In some people, there is also a genetic component. Even though many people believe you have to be overweight or obese to have type 2, some individuals with this condition are thin or average size. Diet and exercise also play a vital role in diabetes management.

For example:

  • Some of us have generations of diabetics in the family.
  • In my family, this condition can be traced back four generations.
  • I am not saying you will have diabetes because of a family history, but it does increase your risk factors.
  • A diagnosis of pre-diabetes is like a warning sign.
  • Controlling your sugar and carb intake is imperative to your health and well-being.
  • Everything little thing we do makes a difference.
  • Both sugars and carbs are turned into glucose to be used by the body.
  • How artificial sweeteners aren't the be-all anymore.
  • That's why we will be discussing a low carb way of living.
  • Along with mild to moderate exercise and how it affects your blood sugars.

Sugar Substitutes vs. Natural Sugar

I have included information on sugar since it goes along with a healthy eating plan and added sugars. I've had personal experience with what sugar substitutes can do to your body and metabolism. When I first found out I had type 2 diabetes, I stopped consuming sugar and used the recommended substitutes that were popular at that time. I never knew about the adverse effects it could have on my body and health. A test showed my liver enzymes were high and my thyroid went crazy. One result I never knew about was that it could interfere with weight loss. Not at all what I wanted to fix my health and improve my well-being.

I stopped consuming all artificial sweeteners, and now I use only raw sugar sparingly. I sometimes use a small amount of honey and the occasional agave in my tea. Some people believe fruit is bad. I say the body knows whether you are having natural sugar versus artificial sweetener and reacts accordingly. I've also gone back to using butter in small amounts.

The eating plan that has helped me the most is low carb. I learned that this plan worked for me through trial and error. I count carbs, not calories. This way of eating has reduced my need for medication, both for diabetes and pain. I eat five small meals a day, and all are low carb. I never was a big meat eater until I found out how important protein is. My carb count for three meals is a max of 30 and snacks are a max of 15 carbs.

Again, I'll emphasize that you must learn what works best for you. Discuss your diet with your doctor, and make sure you also discuss any supplements or alternative health product you might be using. Your doctor needs to be aware of all of these details to help you make the best choices for your health.

Carbs and sugar both convert to glucose! Don't be fooled.

— Terrie Neudorf

Fresh Fruit and Veggies

Lowest carb fruit and veggies
Lowest carb fruit and veggies | Source

12 Low-Carb Veggies

  1. Arugula
  2. Cucumber
  3. Broccoli Raab
  4. Iceberg Lettuce
  5. Celery
  6. White Mushrooms
  7. Radishes
  8. Turnips
  9. Romaine Lettuce
  10. Asparagus
  11. Green Apples
  12. Okra

12 Low-Carb Fruits

Let's start with fruit:

  1. Casaba Melon
  2. Watermelon
  3. Strawberries
  4. Cantaloupe
  5. Avocado
  6. Blackberries
  7. Honeydew Melon
  8. Grapefruit
  9. Oranges
  10. Peaches
  11. Papaya
  12. Cranberries

For a complete list of fruits and veggies and the carb counts for both fruits and veggies, go to the article featured on dlife.com. It's a very helpful site for diabetics.

Food Portions

Plating my food, before and after changing to low carb.
Plating my food, before and after changing to low carb.

Food Program Choices

There is a consensus when it comes to eating plans for type 2 diabetes. Here are a few I have found. You have to experiment and find what works for you.

  • Glycemic Index Diet
  • Low Carb Diet
  • Ketogenic Diet
  • Zone Diet
  • Sugar Busters

No matter what plan you choose, lowering carbs is vital in the treatment and control of diabetes. A wise person once told me: If it's white, refined, or full of sugar, watch out. Either reduce the amount you consume or stop eating it. For example white flour, bread, pasta, white rice, and potato. Corn and peas, even though they are vegetables, are also high in carbs.

For more information, all of these eating plans can be found, on Facebook and individual websites, including the Mayo Clinic and other medical sites. Whatever one you choose, please consult your doctor or medical professional.

  • www.dlife.com
  • www.diabetesdigest.com
  • www.type2diabetessupport.com
  • www.mayoclinic.org
  • www.ketogenicdiet.org

What do you think?

Have you tried any of these food plans?

See results

Walking with Family

Take a walk, breath fresh air.
Take a walk, breath fresh air.

Exercise Doesn't Mean Running a 6k Race

Most of us aren't elite athletes, and that's okay. You know the saying, slow and steady wins the race. In the case of diabetes, it's true. It's not what you do in short spurts, but what you do long-term that makes a difference. Most meters now will help you track every movement, and that adds up to exercise. Start with tracking your steps, housework in minutes, climb stairs, or work outside. I honestly believe everything you do counts. Whether it's low-impact aerobics, yoga, stretching, or hiking. Our bodies will benefit from all of it. Most diabetics also have other illnesses, and movement is as important as food. Get up and move! Your body will love you for it, and your blood sugar levels will show it.

Exercise for Your Health and Blood Sugars

Stretching
Strength
Cardio
Yoga
Yoga
Low impact Aerobics
Pilates
Weights
Brisk walk
Tai chi
Resistance training
Climbing stairs
Use the motto, just do it. All movement counts. Get up and get moving!

Help to Control Diabetes

Type 2 Under Control

To sum up, I want to say that type 2 does not arise from eating too much sugar. It used to be thought of as an adult condition, but an increasing number of children are now being given this diagnosis, as well. We have a pancreas that doesn't function properly. Carbs and sugars both make glucose, and our bodies don't process it effectively. Genetics also play a role. What we eat makes a difference, but we will never be free. There are many eating plans to choose from, and you need to find the plan that works for you. Carbs are in almost everything; sugar, too. Food is not our enemy, and exercise is our friend.

Don't forget to drink your daily 8-10 glasses of water. Keeping your body hydrated helps organ function and assists medication in flushing out the sugars.

© 2016 Terrie Lynn

Comments Welcome

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    • Terrielynn1 profile image
      Author

      Terrie Lynn 5 months ago from Canada

      Thank you, writing about the serious issues is hard but I feel it's necessary to share and help others. People and kind words help me to continue.

    • DREAM ON profile image

      DREAM ON 5 months ago

      Thank you for sharing your insight and health tips into the world of Diabetes and the problems that can happen. Thank you for sharing such a personal,hard and important part of your life. Wishing a day of happiness.

    • Terrielynn1 profile image
      Author

      Terrie Lynn 7 months ago from Canada

      Any one who wants more info on food plans. They can be found on Facebook. And then have site links from there. The Mayo Clinic web site has some on theirs.

    • Terrielynn1 profile image
      Author

      Terrie Lynn 7 months ago from Canada

      Thank you.

    • Patrick Lemy profile image

      Patrick Lemy 7 months ago from USA

      Thank you for sharing this valuable information

    • Terrielynn1 profile image
      Author

      Terrie Lynn 7 months ago from Canada

      Thank you. I love writing hubs that have a personal connection for me. I feel like something is missing though.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 7 months ago from USA

      This provided a good overview. I'm not diabetic (knock on wood), but several generations have the disease.