Food self- management to prevent type 2 diabetes risk

There is considerable scope to prevent diabetes. This is a fact, you are the main actor involved. Your lifestyle and therefore, your decisions only you can make, are decisive to reduce in large measure the risk of suffering from diabetes type 2. Your diet it is one of the key factors.

Few years ago, one physiopathology professor told me that the risk of type 2 diabetes is very well explained using the simile of coin-bags and credit cards.

For that wonderful professor, regarding type 2 diabetes, we were all born with a certain health “capital”. Some has more and some has less, he told me. So, the richest were those with low type 2 diabetes genetic risk. The poorest were those with a higher genetics risk. To some extent, he said, is as if everybody was given a credit card to manage that health capital. Every intake excess is as we use our health credit card. And so on until our capital is over. The more excesses the more charges, and more likely is to end up with a type 2 diabetes, or a coin-bag rather than a credit card. The coin-bag has lower capital than the credit card and should be carefully handled against excesses regarding food choices.

Thus, when someone diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, that is with a coin-bag, doesn´t follow recommendations would quickly run out of “health capital”, following the consequences (hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia) and other serious complications such as diabetic angiopathies in the longer term, but not that long.

The conclusion of this analogy, my professor said, was that we should eat like a diabetic before becoming one, or just no to end up being so.

This means that the basic health advices for population are pretty much the same as the one for type 2 diabetics, once they are already diagnosed. The difference, as you may guess, is that meanwhile health population may take some licenses (they still have the credit card) type 2 diabetics don´t. They only have the moneybag. The further from common health recommendations the greater the chance for diabetes diagnose. End of the credit, just coins in our bag.

When it comes to population general advice on feeding, and compare it to diabetes patients diet, this link shows how close they are. There are very few differences between both, but the starting point is almost identical:

The first one, for everybody, is known as the Healthy Eating Plate of the Harvad School of Public Health. The second one is the American Diabetes Assotiation recommendation.

Food self- management to prevent type 2 diabetes risk
© 2011 Harvard University

I think it is time stand out a some key messages to think about:

  • All healthcare institutions agree: type 2 diabetes is to some extent preventable.
  • Diet has a crucial role in prevention
  • To prevent type 2 diabetes, dietary recommendations are not different from the general population health recommendations.
  • Keep in mind that your card has a limited balance, so feed yourself as you would be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

Soon in this corner we will tear together all details of that healthy eating pattern so you will have the best practical tools to deal with type 2 diabetes.

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Juan Revenga Frauca
I am Dietician-Nutritionist and Biologist from the University of Navarra and I practice the profession of dietician-nutritionist and as professor at San Jorge University. I am also a collaborator in different media in the fields of nutrition, food and health . I am member of the Spanish Foundation for Dietitians and Nutritionists (FEDN), and part of both its Scientific Committee and its Technical Advisory Committee. I have been president and founder of the Professional College of Aragon D-N (CPDNA). I am an active user of social media. You can follow me on twitter (@juan_revenga) or Facebook.
Juan Revenga Frauca

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