A Focus on Diabetes

This week is Diabetes Awareness Week and our guest blogger, Stacey Mensah discusses a diabetes diet as well as our current Diabetes Community Champion project. 

Welcome back to the Lake Foundation’s blog! Today I’ll be talking about diabetes, but more specifically the idea of a diabetes diet. Now before I continue I have to say that there is no such thing. This is in in fact a myth. Different diets correspond to the different needs of those that have diabetes. In this post I would like to tell you about the two main types of diabetes and the diets that correspond with them. Before I go on however it’s important to note that you should seek medical advice before following any type of diet program. As I don’t want to misinform you all I’ll be mentioning the two most common types of diabetes – Type 1 and Type 2.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is the most common form of the disease that is found in children. Insulin dependent diabetes is a term that is also used to describe type 1 diabetes. This causes the loss of insulin production which means that you would be required to regularly administer levels by injection or by insulin pump. When you have this type of diabetes you need to consider how different foods are going to impact your blood glucose levels and how to balance the quantity of carbohydrate with the right amount of insulin.

Here at the Lake Foundation we are constantly promoting healthy eating but when you have type 1 diabetes this should really be stressed as it can play a part in helping to prevent the development of complications. This goes without saying but limiting the amount of processed foods you eat should be at the top of your agenda. Some may wish to adopt a reduced carbohydrate diet as they can be helpful for people who are struggling to keep control on a carb centred diet.

Type 2 Diabetes

The confusion between these two types of diabetes is quite common as they are both characterised by higher than normal blood sugar levels. The key difference is that type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed with a healthy lifestyle. There are also no episodes of hypoglycaemia, unless the person is taking insulin or certain diabetes medicines. It is also important to note that you may not have symptoms before the diagnosis. Usually types 2 diabetes is discovered in adulthood.

Having type 2 diabetes does not mean that you can’t have fun with your foods. Instead, it means that you just have to pay extra attention to choosing the right combination of foods that will keep your blood sugar level in your target range. On the whole it’s important to eat healthy regardless of your health situation.

 Our Diabetes Community Champion Project

Type 2 diabetes is three times more common in the black community and as I mentioned above this type of diabetes can be prevented or delayed with a healthy lifestyle. With this in mind The Lake Foundation has teamed up with Diabetes UK with funding from Croydon Council to run a diabetes community champion project. The aim of this project is to empower the black community with the information that is needed to fully understand diabetes, its symptoms, risk factors and prevention so action can be taken.

We’re delighted to have recruited 17 community champions who have received in-depth training from Diabetes UK. The training has equipped them to get out in the community and effectively raise awareness and encourage behaviour change. They will get out and about targeting black churches, businesses and other organisations to raise awareness and we hope that this will make a significant difference in reducing the negative impact of diabetes on the black community in Croydon. We’ll be getting across the message that we can all reduce our risk of developing diabetes by eating a healthier diet, doing more exercise and maintaining a healthy weight.

This week, on 14th June, our champions will be at Croydon College raising awareness amongst staff and students giving out leaflets and encouraging people to take Diabetes UK’s useful ‘know your risk’ test. If you’re in the area over lunch time why not drop by, pick up some information and speak to our champions.

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