Doughnuts, pizza, pasta, ice cream. While these may sound yummy to someone with type 2 diabetes, they can be deadly. If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, you probably already know the importance of a healthy diet. But, sometimes, it’s easier said than done.
The befuddling mix of meal plans, food groups and glucose control can confuse anyone. The easiest way to start an effective diet is by keeping it simple. Think filling, nutritious foods that will fuel your body.
- Carbohydrates — Long the pariah of the nutrition world, carbohydrates are actually healthy and needed in a wholesome diet. They provide glucose for the body, which turns into fuel. That said, simple carbs, such as those from doughnuts, pizza, pasta and ice cream, can cause more harm than good. Look for complex carbohydrates, such as those in beans, nuts and vegetables. Since carbohydrates have the largest effect on blood sugar levels, it’s important to eat them with protein and some well-controlled fats.
- Fiber — A healthy type 2 diabetes diet includes an ample supply of fiber. Not only does it help delay sugar absorption, but also it promotes weight loss and reduces constipation. The goal is to eat between 25 and 35 grams of fiber a day. When you consider that one cup of black beans has 19 grams of fiber and also counts as a healthy carbohydrate, that’s some good eating.
- Fats — Also on the long list of a dieter’s dirty words, fat — the healthy kind — is actually needed in a nutritious diet. Well-rounded meals with lean pieces of beef or poultry, low-fat cheeses or fruits and vegetables are always good choices.
Why, you might ask, should I bother with all of this when my doctor has already put me on a medication to control my type 2 diabetes? Consider this: Some people who have achieved weight loss and glucose control with a healthy diet alone have been taken off their type 2 diabetes medications — or at least reduced their medication. That means they don’t have to face the life-threatening side effects that come with some diabetes medications.
Actos, the world’s most prescribed type 2 diabetes medication, has been linked to bladder cancer, congestive heart failure, eye problems and bone fractures. Worse yet, a physician who once worked for the drug’s manufacturer, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, claims that the company lied about the drug’s risks to make it seem safer. Many have filed an Actos lawsuit to receive compensation for the deceptions of the company.
So serious are the risks that the drug has already been banned or restricted in Germany, France and Canada. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has taken a wait-and-see approach, delaying any final decision until the drug company has completed its investigation into the risks.
However, independent researchers decided not to wait. A group of Canadian physicians recently announced that the Actos risk was much greater than first thought. While Takeda said Actos increased the risk for bladder cancer 40 percent, the Canadian doctors said the risk was more like 80 percent. With Takeda’s investigation scheduled to be completed by 2013, many are anxiously awaiting the final results. For many, the hope is that the FDA will finally make a definitive move to ban Actos in the United States.
With all of this, it’s easy to see why reinventing your diet is the best choice you can make today.
Elizabeth Carrollton writes about defective medical devices and dangerous drugs for Drugwatch.com.