Diabetes is a rapidly growing threat in U.S. society. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), from 1980 to 2012, the rate of diabetes among adults quadrupled, and it is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States (2014). Around 200,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. due to diabetes (CDC, 2014).It is calculated that the prevalence of diabetes cases in U.S. (both type 1 and type 2) will increase by 54% from 2015 to 2030 (Rowley, et al., 2017). Because of the soaring rates of diabetes, it is important to take measures to prevent diabetes, and also to help individuals manage diabetes effectively.
So what is diabetes?
It is a chronic condition in which the body does not correctly process food for the body’s energy needs. Food is typically converted into glucose and stored in the body to be used for energy. However, with diabetes, the hormone, called insulin, does not do its job correctly in spreading the glucose throughout the body as energy. With diabetes, there is either too little insulin, or the insulin is not used correctly.
One of the most helpful websites is by the American Diabetes Association at www.diabetes.org. On this website, you can learn more about diabetes whether you are managing it personally, or helping to support a family member or friend with managing diabetes. This website has a lot of information on recipes, family activities, medications, available resources, and emerging research findings, that can help improve diabetes management. There are diabetes cookbooks that can help a variety of people, whether looking for simple meals, or more challenging meals or deserts that can feed the entire family and guests. For example, did you know that whole grain use decreases the risks of diabetes? According to Chanson-Rolie, et al. (2015), for every 45g of whole-grains in the everyday diet, there is a 20% reduction in relative risk of type 2 diabetes. Therefore, even if one family member has diabetes, then these dietary adjustments can help reduce the risks to other family members.
For anyone who wants to reduce their own risks, switching to whole-grans and cutting out refined grains can make a major difference. Whole grans includes the following: Dark bread, cooked oatmeal, popcorn, whole-grain breakfast cereal brand and types, bran, brown rice, wheat germ, bulgur, couscous, and more. In contrast, here is the list of refined grains that are known to increase diabetes risks: English muffins, biscuits, muffins, white bread, pasta, cakes, sweet rolls, refined-grain cereals, pancakes, waffles, pizza, and white rice (Liu, et al., 2000). Learning more about food and everyday exercise and lifestyle factors can significantly help with management and prevention.
CDC. (2014). Diabetes Report Card. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Liu, S., Manson, J. E., Stampfer, M. J., Hu, F. B., Giovannucci, E., Colditz, G. A., … & Willett, W. C. (2000). A prospective study of whole-grain intake and risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus in US women. American journal of public health, 90(9), 1409.
Rowley, W. R., Bezold, C., Arikan, Y., Byrne, E., & Krohe, S. (2017). Diabetes 2030: Insights from yesterday, today, and future trends. Population health management, 20(1), 6-12.