Diabetes & Blood Sugar

Last Updated: August 16 2022

Diabetes is a disease characterized by blood glucose levels that are too high due to insufficient insulin production. Diet directly affects blood glucose levels.

What are the basics of diabetes and blood sugar?

Glucose is obtained by ingesting food, primarily carbohydrates, but also fat and protein. The blood carries glucose to energy-requiring tissues throughout the body, where it is broken down into ATP, which fuels a wide variety of bodily processes.[1]

Diabetes is a disease characterized by blood glucose levels that are too high.[2] In type 1 diabetes, the immune system destroys the pancreatic beta cells that produce insulin, a hormone that tells cells to absorb glucose and use it for energy. In type 2 diabetes, the body still produces insulin, but not enough to meet metabolic needs, typically because the body’s cells have developed resistance to that insulin.[3]

How could diet affect diabetes and blood sugar?

Diet, primarily carbohydrates, directly affects blood glucose levels. Consequently, low-carbohydrate diets can help to improve acute glycemic control and reduce total daily insulin requirements in people with diabetes,[4] but these diets are often difficult to adhere to, and don’t appear to be superior to high-carbohydrate diets for blood sugar regulation in the long term.[5][6] The current evidence suggests there is no ideal macronutrient distribution or eating pattern for people with diabetes, and the diet should be tailored to the individual.[7]

Which supplements are of most interest for diabetes and blood sugar?

A wide variety of supplements are marketed to improve glycemic control, including berberine, cinnamon, probiotics, aloe vera, and panax ginseng.

Also, vitamins and minerals that are involved in glucose metabolism and whose deficiency has been associated with an increased risk of diabetes, such as zinc, magnesium, chromium, and vitamin D have garnered immense interest in the context of blood sugar.

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