In order to manage diabetes successfully, it is important to have basic knowledge and understanding of blood sugar science. When carbohydrates are eaten they break down in the intestines into simple sugars known as monosaccharides. Monosaccharides are the basic unit of carbohydrates. Glucose is a monosaccharide that is absorbed into the bloodstream which is moved into the cells via insulin.
In type 2 diabetes various factors cause the cells to be insensitive or less sensitive to insulin which thereby causes excessive glucose to accumulate in the bloodstream creating a state known as hyperglycemia or high blood sugar. Blood sugar measurements allow people with type 2 diabetes to track their levels and ensure that the disease doesn’t progress.
There are three tests that are mainly utilized in the testing of blood sugar glucose levels.
- Fasting Blood Glucose (FBG) test is used to measure blood sugar levels after an 8-12 hour last. A value between 99 and 126 mg.dL is indicative of prediabetes, as the upper limit of normal levels is 99. This test does not test for the blood sugar impact of particular foods but rather fasting levels overall.
- Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) is done by ingesting 75g of pure glucose dissolved in water and then testing the blood glucose levels one to two hours later. If blood sugar is higher than 140 mg/dL after 2 hours, the indication is prediabetes. the drawback of this test is that a large dose of glucose must be consumed to determine the test levels.
- Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) measures the percentage of hemoglobin that has bonded to sugar resulting from chronically elevated blood sugar levels. This test reflects the average blood sugar level over a span of 3 months. A healthy level for the test is between 4.6 to 5.3 percent. Downside to this test is that it can be unreliable and should be used comparatively with other tests to determine efficacy.
People with pre-diabetes can incorporate lifestyle changes that can reverse the disease process or inhibit illness. Some people are able to completely reverse their prediabetes through diet, exercise and lifestyle changes alone. According to the conventional methods of treatment, practitioners wait until diabetes is diagnosed before beginning treatment, but lifestyle changes can greatly impact the progression of disease. The drugs used for treatment of type 2 diabetes can have serious side effects and have been associated with reduced liver and kidney function, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, rashes and weight gain.
A natural approach to healing is to adjust carbohydrate intake and to eat a low starch, high fiber diet. Low carb diets can significantly improve blood sugar stability and lipid profiles and can dramatically reduce the need for reliance on medications. Carbohydrate quality is also important, and refined carbohydrates such as pasta and bread should be reduced or eliminated while moderate amounts of health starches like potatoes, cassava, plantains, and fruits can be eaten supplementally. Measuring blood sugar with these dietary adjustments will allow an individual to determine what their ideal diet should be.