Despite the immense amount of research being conducted for diabetes, both type one and type two, nutrition seems to be the way to balance a healthy lifestyle while battling this lifetime disease.
Type one diabetes, is when your body does not naturally produce insulin due to the dysfunction of your pancreas causing external methods of insulin to take place, whereas type two relates to your body not producing enough insulin or your body is not responding to the insulin being produced causing the blood to not be cleared of sugar.
Third year Ryerson University diabetic student, Danielle Manza is studying type 2 diabetes prevention and awareness on the core principal of the disease hitting close to home.
“My grandpa is 85 years old and he’s had type 2 diabetes for roughly 2 years and he’s lost interest in keeping himself healthy because he figures he’s old so what’s the point,” says Manza.
Unlike many other students, Manza is applying the skills learnt in the classroom in the kitchen to help her grandfather make better dietary decisions.
“I chose to personally intervene by removing any foods from his kitchen that were not “diabetic friendly” and gave him tips on how to make healthier substitutions,” says Manza.
Manza also says that diabetes is not directly associated with the intake of carbohydrates.
“What actually happens is diabetes is heavily correlated with obesity; poor lifestyle, poor diet, that’s more related to how someone becomes a type two diabetic, while type one is completely genetic, so you would look at family history, and you would look at medical history,” says Manza.
Type one diabetes is generally diagnosed under the age of 30 and accounts for 10% of all diabetics where the person immediately needs shots of insulin while type two diabetes is more common and generally exhibits itself later in life.
Joanne Lewis, manager of diabetes education at the Canadian Diabetes Association says that many diabetics maintain a healthy lifestyle, which entails eating healthy and remaining active, but there are other diabetics that role with the punches.
“It’s more maintaining a healthy body weight or if a persons’ overweight to lose up to, or around 10 per cent of their body weight,” says Lewis.
Type two diabetes is highly genetic and more common to people of certain ethnicities such as African background, Aboriginal, First Nations, and Hispanic but it does not rule out the chances in the diagnosis in Caucasians.
Marilyne Petitclerc from Dietitians of Canada believes that the benefits of being physically active may help diabetes in more ways than one.
“When you’re physically active, your body lowers its level of blood glucose by itself without needing insulin. The glucose and the sugars leave the blood and they enter the cells by themselves,” says Petitclerc
The research for a cure to diabetes still continues but remaining active while maintaining a healthy lifestyle will only prolong a persons’ life.