This Morning: Type 2 diabetes can be 'devastating' says expert
The emergence type 2 diabetes symptoms can be attributed to poor insulin production in the body. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas which plays a key role in the regulation of blood sugar (medically known as glucose) levels. Blood sugar is the main type of sugar we get from eating food. It supplies the cells with energy but it must be regulated – unstable levels of blood sugar can inflict damage on the body.
Luckily, certain dietary items can spur insulin production, such as milk and dairy products.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Dr Mark Vanderpump, consultant endocrinologist at OneWelbeck Endocrine Group explained: “Milk and dairy products are known to be potent stimulators of insulin production and more than can be explained by their lactose.”
According to Dr Vanderpum, this is commonly attributed to the amino acid (protein) composition within milk, not the fat content.
“There is no significant difference between full fat, semi-skimmed and skimmed milk,” he says.
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However, the high carbohydrate content of certain types of milk could negatively affect blood sugar levels, he warns.
“Certain milks with added flavours, such as chocolate, can double the carbohydrate intake,” he warns.
This is problematic because carbohydrate is broken down into glucose relatively quickly and therefore has a pronounced effect on blood sugar levels.
“People with diabetes on insulin will be aware of the carbohydrate content of milk portions and adjust their insulin dosage accordingly,” says Dr Vanderpump.
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As he explains, those on tablets will need to be aware that milk portions can add to their daily calorie intake and may result in high peaks of blood glucose post meals.
Safe milk swaps
According to Dr Vanderpump, the average cup of milk contains 12 grams of carbohydrate but certain milk varieties contain much less carbohydrate.
Almond milk, soy milk and coconut milk contain one gram, four grams and two grams respectively, he said.
General dietary tips to keep blood sugar levels under control
According to Diabetes.co.uk, Mediterranean diets, which are rich in fruit, vegetables and fibre, can help people with diabetes to control their blood sugar levels.
A traditional Mediterranean diet generally consists of:
- Oily fish
- Fresh fruit and vegetables
- Fresh bread
- Olive oil.
One of the reasons why Mediterranean diets are healthy is that they include a strong vegetable content.
As Diabetes.co.uk explains, vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, aubergines, olives, onions, rocket and lettuce are not only great for blood glucose levels but make for very visually appealing meals too.
“If you are susceptible to sharp spikes in blood glucose levels opt for lower carb fruits such as berries,” advises the health body.
Type 2 diabetes – how to spot it
Many people have type 2 diabetes without realising – this is because symptoms do not necessarily make you feel unwell.
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:
- Peeing more than usual, particularly at night
- Feeling thirsty all the time
- Feeling very tired
- Losing weight without trying to
- Itching around your penis or vagina, or repeatedly getting thrush
- Cuts or wounds taking longer to heal
- Blurred vision.
According to the NHS, you should see a GP if you have any of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes or you’re worried you may have a higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes.
“The earlier diabetes is diagnosed and treatment started, the better,” adds the health body.
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