Diabetes type 2 is a chronic disease that affects certain groups of individuals more compared to others based on some predisposing racial and ethnic risk factors. Hispanics in the United States have the highest incidence rates. It is the most prevalent form of diabetes, even though it is preventable and manageable through good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. It is one of the diseases exuding great public health concerns since it continues to affect many people, resulting in huge health, economic, and social costs. Moreover, complications and death resulting from this disease are linked to nephropathy, retinopathy, and neuropathy. However, cardiovascular disease is considered to be the main cause of death. Sequentially, it is imperative to manage the confounding risk factors, such as obesity and hyperlipidemia, as they precede morbidity and mortality in this ailment. Good nutrition plays a significant role in derailing total mortality. The current paper, therefore, seeks to examine the role of nutrition in controlling the pathology of this condition.
Major Nutritional Components and Associated Factors
The success in managing type 2 diabetes is based on an individual’s effort as it is pegged on diet and lifestyle. Knowing the type and amount of food to consume as well as supplementary factors to aid in attaining energy balance is important. Energy balance is fundamental in preventing obesity, which can be easily obtained through low-glycemic foods and engagement in physical activity (Shu et al., 2017). A healthy lifestyle entails the restriction of alcohol and related beverages as well as soft drinks due to their high-calorie amounts.
A healthy diet in reference to the quality and quantity of carbohydrates and fats is important for the general population to delay the onset of the disease. A high intake of fats results leads to impaired glucose tolerance that favors the development of type 2 diabetes. It also lowers sensitivity to insulin and increases levels of fasting insulin among healthy individuals, as discussed by Forouhi et al. (2018). A high-calorie diet is the main risk factor for obesity because it is deemed to contain high amounts of fats and carbohydrates, which increase the levels of very low-density lipoproteins, chylomicrons, and triglycerides.
Unsaturated fats, based on the Mediterranean diet have been shown to have beneficial effects on the pathology of type 2 diabetes. One study showed that virgin olive oil consumption suppressed the occurrence of retinopathy, improved glucose metabolism and curbed cardiovascular disease (Sami et al., 2017). Additionally, foods with high levels of sodium and trans fats, for example, processed foods, are linked to poor heart health (Forouhi et al., 2018). Alternatively, products that are high in fiber and antioxidants, such as vitamin C and E, are shown to lower an individual’s risk to hypertension and type 2 diabetes. Certain components in foods such as proteins play an important role in determining the quantity to be consumed and in controlling the pathology of type 2 diabetes. It is therefore important for a healthy individual to maintain a healthy dietary habit to avoid metabolic abnormalities that eventually lead to the development of type 2 diabetes.
Processed foods have high levels of nitrates and nitrosamine compounds which increase an individual’s vulnerability to type 2 diabetes. Glycation contained in meat and related products which are high in fat content increases the body’s oxidative stress and levels of inflammatory factors, culminating in insulin resistance. On the other hand, the recommended intake of high-quality foods rich in carbohydrates and fats is attributed to the bioavailability of bioactive compounds and phytochemicals. Whereas a diet rich in vegetables, such as the traditional southern Chinese diet, can be expected to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, the mode of preparation has been shown to be an essential determining factor. Shu et al. (2017) indicate that the traditional southern Chinese diet is rich in fruits and vegetables; yet, no significant association was found with the risk of type 2 diabetes. The reason is that in this cuisine, vegetables are pickled and contain high levels of sodium, which is a risk factor of hypertension and subsequent development of type 2 diabetes.
Whereas fats are a strong factor to consider during administration of nutrition plan in reference to the energy balance formula, reducing the levels of hepatic and pancreatic fats has far-reaching benefits. Regulation of fat content and quality helps to improve insulin sensitivity and the functionality of beta cells in the pancreas. Moreover, it is an effective weight loss strategy with promising results on ameliorating complications which are part of diabetic pathology. Forouhi et al. (2018) note that randomized controlled trials and prospective studies have shown a positive association between fat quality and prevention of diabetes type 2. However, there are concerns about the high energy levels of these fats, which justifies the need in further research.
Whereas proteins have a positive influence on diabetes, vegetable proteins have a greater effect because they have been shown to have higher L-arginine levels. L-arginine positively affects insulin response and the composition of amino acids in protein foods strongly determines the benefits of such foods in diabetic pathology. Vegetables have high levels of micronutrients, phytochemicals, and fiber, which have a positive effect on insulin sensitivity (VSS, 2018). These nutritional components have an important role in glycemic control ad insulin functionality. Consumption of high quantities of meat is not recommendable because high levels of haem iron than the recommended predisposes one to type 2 diabetes. Excessive intake of this compound, as indicated by Shu et al. (2017), predisposes one to insulin resistance because of iron overload. Insulin resistance, which is a defining characteristic of type 2 diabetes, is determined by ones’ nutritional status. Hyperlipidemia and cholesterolemia as markers of one’s nutritional status have a negative effect on insulin response, thus fostering optimal glucose metabolism.
Appropriate nutrition involving a healthy diet and lifestyle is paramount in the delay of type 2 diabetes and associated complications. Other than regulating consumption of high-caloric foods, physical activity is essential in regulating energy balance. The quality and quantity of macronutrients have a substantial role to play in preventing and managing type 2 diabetes though more research is essential. An adequate diet and supplemental lifestyle factors do not require nutrient supplementation because the quality of the meal is enough to achieve the intended benefits. As a result, a diet that is largely plant-based with fish has a significant impact on an individual’s status in lowering the risk of diabetes development and the associated complications.
Forouhi, N. G, Misra, A., Mohan, V., Taylor, R., & Yancy, W. (2018). Dietary and nutritional approaches for prevention and management of type 2 diabetes. BMJ, 361. Web.
Sami, W., Ansari, T., Butt, N. S., & Hamid, M. (2017). Effect of diet on type 2 diabetes mellitus: A review. International Journal of Health Sciences, 11(2), 65–71. Web.
Shu, L., Shen, X.-M., Li, C., Zhang, X., & Zheng, P. (2017). Dietary patterns are associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus among middle-aged adults in Zhejiang Province, China. Nutr J 16, 81. Web.
VSS, P., Adapa, D., Vana, D., Choudhury, A., Asadutullah, J., & Chatterjee, A. (2018). Nutritional components relevant to type-2-diabetes: Dietary sources, metabolic functions and glycaemic effects. Journal of Research in Medical and Dental Science, 6, 52-75. Web.