Type 2 diabetes happens when your body develops insulin resistance and can’t efficiently use the insulin it makes or the pancreas loses its ability to produce insulin. Insulin plays a key role in regulating the body’s blood sugar levels so without it, blood sugar rises can rise uncontrollably. This mechanism can hike the risk of developing heart disease and stroke.
Fortunately, by making tweaks to your diet you can compensate for the poor insulin production and regulate blood sugar levels.
While revising your daily diet is simple enough, the Christmas period can make it tricker to manage blood sugar as the temptation to indulge in risky items is greater than usual.
To help you navigate this area, Rob Hobson, head of nutrition at Healthspan provided five key tips.
Try to choose dried fruit and nuts over chocolate and sweets
As Hobson explained, dried fruit contains natural sugars which have less of an impact on blood sugar levels as they are contained within the fruit along with fibre.
He explained: “The fibre, fats and protein found in your main meals will help to slow down the release of sugar into your bloodstream.”
Opt for sugar-free mixers
“Sugary drinks are loaded with sugar in its simplest form which means it is rapidly released into the bloodstream,” explained Hobson.
To avoid the blood sugar spike, try replacing sugary soft drink mixers with soda water or sugar-free varieties.
Don’t skip meals
It may feel counterintuitive at Christmas time but the stress of preparing Christmas lunch can have you going a long period of time without eating, noted Hobson.
“As blood sugar levels drop the whole experience can become more stressful as you struggle to focus on the job in hand,” he pointed out.
To avoid this outcome, start your day with a healthy breakfast full of fibre and protein to keep your energy and blood sugar levels in check until your sit down for Christmas lunch, advised Hobson.
It may also be wise to go for a post-meal stroll to keep blood sugar levels from spiking.
A study published in Diabetes Care found that three short walks each day after meals were as effective at reducing blood sugar over 24 hours as a single 45-minute walk at the same moderate pace.