Diabetes is a health problem in the United States because it is one of the leading causes of death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, diabetes caused more than 87,000 deaths in the United States in 2019. That’s about one in every ten deaths. Diabetes is also a significant cause of heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, and blindness.
Sugar is one of the leading causes of diabetes. So there are many things you need to know about diabetes and sugar. But let’s first discuss the disease and how it’s related to a common household ingredient.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition that affects how your body uses blood sugar (glucose). Glucose is a type of sugar that comes from food. Your body normally uses insulin to help move glucose from your blood into your cells.
If you have diabetes, your body has a problem with insulin. As a result, it can’t make enough insulin or can’t use it as well as it should. This causes your blood sugar level to rise above normal. Over time, high blood sugar can damage your eyes, kidneys, nerves, and blood vessels.
Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children, adolescents, or young adults. It occurs when the body does not produce insulin. Only 5% of people with diabetes have this form of disease.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. It usually develops in adulthood, but it is now diagnosed more frequently in children. With type 2 diabetes, the body doesn’t make or use insulin well. Up to 90% of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes.
So how does sugar affect your chances of diabetes? It can contribute a lot to diabetes because it forces your body to produce insulin.
Sugar and Diabetes
When you eat or drink foods with sugar, your pancreas needs to release insulin to help your cells absorb the sugar. However, if you have diabetes, your pancreas can’t make enough insulin, or your body can’t use it properly. So what happens is that there’s a lot of residual sugar in your blood instead of being absorbed into your cells. Over time, this can damage your eyes, kidneys, nerves, and blood vessels.
Fortunately, you can do a few things to avoid getting diabetes or manage it if you already have it. Here are five alternatives to sugar:
Stevia is a natural sweetener from the leaves of the plant species Stevia rebaudiana. It’s about 200 times sweeter than sugar, so you don’t need to use as much of it to get the same level of sweetness. In addition, stevia has little to no effect on blood sugar levels, so it’s a good choice for people with diabetes.
Monk fruit is a small, round fruit that comes from the species Siraitia grosvenorii. It’s about 150 times sweeter than sugar and has been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Like stevia, monk fruit doesn’t affect blood sugar levels, making it a good choice for people with diabetes.
Xylitol is a type of sugar alcohol made from corn cobs or birch trees. It’s about as sweet as sugar but has a lower glycemic index, so it doesn’t affect blood sugar levels as much. Xylitol is a good choice for people with diabetes looking for a sugar alternative that tastes like sugar.
Erythritol is another type of sugar alcohol made from fruits and vegetables. It’s about 60-80% as sweet as sugar and has a very low glycemic index. Erythritol is a good choice for people with diabetes who want a sugar alternative that doesn’t affect blood sugar levels.
Agave nectar is a type of syrup that comes from the agave plant. It’s about 1.5 times sweeter than sugar and has a low glycemic index, so it doesn’t affect blood sugar levels much. Agave nectar is a good choice for people with diabetes looking for a sugar alternative that tastes sweet but doesn’t cause spikes in blood sugar levels.
These are just a few of the many sugar alternatives available. However, relying on these alternatives isn’t going to keep you away from diabetes. Good exercise and being active can drastically reduce your chances of such a disease. If you want the best out of your exercise, you will need a professional. A fitness trainer is one of the professionals that can help you get the most out of your exercise. They can also help manage your diet.
Avoiding sugar isn’t the right solution during exercise since sugar is still fuel for your body. However, balancing is a crucial factor for good exercise, and the trainer can help you with that.
Avoiding sugar isn’t the main way to reduce the risk of diabetes. Instead, reducing the amount you consume and using alternatives is a better way to lower your chances of getting the disease. Alongside exercise, you can fully prevent diabetes and obesity and live a healthier and long life.