With more than 347 million people in the world with one form of diabetes or another, this isn’t a question for a niche audience. And with type 2 diabetes on the increase amongst the middle aged and even 30-somethings, looking into the issue of safe weight management for diabetics – or those at risk – this is certainly worth investigating in more detail.
What do we need to know about diabetes
- Diabetes is a condition that is caused by having too much glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream. Typically this occurs because the pancreas is not producing enough of a hormone called insulin to aid the absorption of glucose into the cells of the body.
- There are two types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2
- In Type 1 diabetes the body is unable to produce insulin from birth or a young age.
- In Type 2 diabetes the body does not produce enough insulin – often because more glucose is entering the bloodstream (through eating and drinking) than the pancreas is able to handle.
In 93% of cases diabetes is caused by lifestyle choices. What we eat, what we drink, how and when we exercise: all of these things impact on the way our body functions.
What role juicing can play in the diet of a diabetic?
If you have read up on juicing you will know that drinking fruit and vegetable juices is terrific for weight management, detoxing, upping nutrient intake and avoiding processed foods. But for a diabetic – whose life depends on getting the balance of their food just right – juicing can be of great benefit and a potential hazard in equal measure.
Type 2 diabetes is often attributed to poor diet. In particular overconsumption of carbohydrates and sugars. One of the factors closely linked to the rising obesity rates in the Western world is the marked increase in cases of Type 2 diabetes. By its very nature, juicing programmes cut down on carb intake and so they can help overweight people to trim down and bring their diet under control. Not only that, but the abundance of vitamins and minerals in raw food juices plays an important role in the maintenance of the body’s vital organs – among which are the liver, kidneys, pancreas and intestines, which are integral to the digestive process.
For those with diabetes, the idea of going out and buying bags of apples and kilos of pineapple should rightly set alarm bells ringing, however. The inescapable fact is that fruit juices are sugary. And sugar means glucose in the bloodstream. Trading in cola and lemonade for raw fruit juices will certainly improve other areas of a diabetics’ general health, but it will do little to sort out the overriding problem of glucose in the blood stream.
Modifying juicing for diabetics
Before changing diet in any way, all diabetics – but particularly Type 1 diabetics – should consult their doctor to ensure that they are conforming with recommended guidelines and are not impacting on any medications being taken. After that, try some of these juicing tips that are specifically designed for keeping controlled blood sugar levels.
- Focus on the vegetables
All too often, juicing is based around the fruit. This is generally because fruit tastes sweeter and can mask the flavour of less desirable vegetables. There’s no shortage of people who dislike the taste of celery or tomatoes but hide it behind an apple or an orange. For a diabetic, however, the foundations of a good juicing diet should be vegetables such as leafy greens, carrots, broccoli and even sweet potato.
The general rule of thumb to follow is the 80/20 principle. This means 4 parts vegetable to every one part fruit. Apples, pears, pineapples and citrus fruits, in particular, should be consumed in moderation.
- Juices little and often
The phrase ‘little and often’ is almost synonymous with diet plans. And juices fit easily into that mould. Cold press juices – made using superior cold press juicers such as the Oscar Neo 1000 – have a much longer shelf life than those made in cheap centrifugal juicers, which means it is possible to bottle up batches and drink them over the course of 48 hours.
- Juice to complement food
Fibre is particularly important in a diabetic’s diet as it helps to manage the levels of glucose in the blood. Incorporating 1 or 2 juices into your diet a day alongside raw food snacks such as fruit, vegetables and nuts can support the maintenance of the right balance.
- Blend and juice
Juicing and blending are NOT mutually exclusive. As mentioned above, fibre is an important part of a balanced diet, so interchanging juices with whole food smoothies is a great way of keeping the diet clean and stable.
- Hydration, hydration, hydration
It goes without saying that water should always be plentiful in a balanced diet. But never is this more important than for someone with diabetes. Without ample water in the body, the blood can become too concentrated and results in what is known as hyperglycemia. This damages the vessels that supply blood to vital organs, eventually resulting in kidney disease, stroke, heart disease and even visual impairment.
An active lifestyle does not end with diabetes. In fact, staying healthy and getting the cardiovascular system working should be a cornerstone of any regime. Whether it is running, cycling, swimming or any other pursuit that gets the heart racing, anything that gets people out of a sedentary existence is a positive.