Diabetes and Junk Food-Can a diabetic patient eat it?
Who would have thought that the kind of food you eat determines you future health.
Junk food is everywhere and is one of the major cause of health related problems. With the growing popularity of processed foods, the health disorders are also in rising trend.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), the number of people with diabetes has risen from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014.
What are we doing wrong?
Why the evolution of medical science has not helped to get the disease in first place?
It is all because of processed food.
With the growing food market, various multinational organizations have evolved and came out with products which are lethal for our body. These corporations have billions of dollars in their disposal which they use to convince us to buy the their product.
Let us take example of a product named “Cadbury Bournvita”
The company has totally convinced Indian parents that their product is important for their child and they will do great injustice to their child by not buying the product.
The company claims that the product is full of nutrients and help the child to grow taller, smarter and faster.
The reality is that the product is full of sugar which is not only harmful for the child but can also cause various disease in the future. I remember taking this product when i was child and my mother literally forced me into it.
It is important as an intelligent human being to question everything and do not blindly trust the person whose eyes is in your wallet. Do your analysis and check what is right or wrong.
What is Processed Food?
Processed food or Junk food is basically any food which is processed by putting artificial chemicals or sugar. This kind of food is widely available in the market, in-fact, 80% of the supermarket shelf is now flooded with processed foods.
Why Processed Food is harmful for diabetic patient?
1. Full of Sugar
These foods are loaded with sugar and fructose. Even the sugar free products contain artificial chemicals which are extremely harmful for the body.
Sugar delivers “empty calories” in the body which means it provides energy without any nutrition to the body cells and it can have disastrous consequences.
a. Weight Increase
Eating sugar will increase your hunger and make you eat more.
It also leads to leptin resistance which regulates the hunger in your body.
In simple terms, eating too much of processed food will not satisfy your hunger and will make you eat more.
This can lead to weight gain and decrease in insulin sensitivity which is dangerous for diabetic patient as it can expose you to other set of problems like heart disease etc.
Saneh Booth, an actress, describes how she faced weight related issues when she was consuming diet coke regularly.
Saneh writes “I was planning to drop few pounds but I was unable to make any major change in my life style, so I decided to switch from regular coke to diet coke. To my surprise I wasn’t losing any weight, in fact I was gaining more! “
b. Heart Problems
People suffering from diabetes are in high risk of getting heart related problems, Around 80% of diabetic death is due to heart related issues which are easily preventable.
One of the main cause of heart problems is excessive consumption of sugar.
In a research it is found that consuming high sugar diet/drinks lead to obesity, inflammation, triglycerides which are directly related to heart related problems.
Doctors recommend around 10% of your daily calorie intake from added sugar but we are consuming as high as 20% of our daily requirement. The people who are doing this are twice as likely to die from heart disorders than the normal person.
c. Increases Depression Risk
Consuming sugary products can make you susceptible to depression.
This sugary diet cause huge variation in your blood sugar which along with inflammation of nerves are detrimental for your mental health.
Diabetics are anyways in the high risk of suffering depression. Around 50% of diabetes patient suffer some kind of mental health problem which affect their daily functioning.
I am a diabetic and i have depressive symptoms.
The pressure of managing blood sugar coupled with professional problems are enough to drive you into depression.
Relying too much on the processed food is nothing but an indirect invitation to multiple health problems.
d. Dementia and Alzheimer
In a research it was found that the people who consume sugary drink in large amount are more likely to get memory related disorders in their old age.
The researchers conducted study with over 4000 middle aged men.
They tried to correlate their dietary habits with their brain scan and the memory test.
After analyzing the data they concluded that people who consumes drinking soda regularly have greater decline in their cognitive function.
e. Tooth Problems
In Reddit, one dentist has explained the tooth problem in best possible way.
He writes “When you ingest sugar, the plaque (which is alive) on your tooth gets very happy. Plaque is bacteria and it LOVES sugar. It eats the sugar and then it gives off acid as a byproduct of its metabolism. So it literally poops acid onto your tooth.
The acid then starts to “de-mineralize” the outer shell of the tooth (the enamel). Your own saliva, though, is buffering the acid or ‘neutralizing’ it, bringing the level of acid on your tooth back to normal.
Then, because your saliva has calcium in it, the tooth will ‘re-mineralize’ during the period of time when the acid levels are low enough. This goes on all day long in everyone’s mouth and as long as the amount of re-mineralization is not outpaced by the de-mineralization, the enamel stays intact and no cavity begins.
It is when you don’t give the tooth a chance to re-mineralize that the problems occur. Sipping all day long on sugary liquid never allows the saliva to neutralize the acid and so the tooth never re-mineralizes and sooner or later the enamel breaks through and now the acid has access to the inner part of the tooth which is crappy at defending itself.
Soft Drinks are just really high in sugar and really sticky so it’s like spoon feeding the plaque. It is far better to chug a soft drink and rinse your mouth out. No, the temp is irrelevant, but people with this decay pattern have the drink next to them all day and it gets warm and they don’t care”
2. High in trans fats
Junk Foods contain high amounts of saturated and trans fats which are known to cause heart related disorders.
Before delving into harmful effects of trans fats, let us first understand about these terminologies and their sources.
Without going into technicalities, let us try to understand different types of fats. There are mainly 4 types of fats in our food:
a. Saturated Fats
b. Mono Unsaturated Fats
c. Poly-Unsaturated Fats
d. Trans Fats
a. Saturated Fats
Mainly found in animal sources like meat, butter, milk, cheese. etc
There is a misinformation among the communities that saturated fats are bad for our body and are responsible for heart disease.
But this is wrong information!
Saturated Fats are essential parts of body and we need it for effective body functioning.
It is because of processed and high carbohydrate foods, we have seen rise in heart related disorders.
Prior to 1950, heart related issues were uncommon.
Those times people used to eat simple foods which were full of saturated fats and lived healthy life.
With the rise of food processing companies, the rate of obesity, diabetes and heart disorder starts increasing. Thus, one should blame these modern food for all the problems.
Before i got diagnosed with diabetes i was also in high carbohydrate based diet as i used to eat lots of processed foods. But when i start doing research, i realized out how wrong we have gone in our food choices and then took steps to get in right direction.
Now, i try to eat simple foods. Here’s is my simple strategy:
I cut different green vegetable and mildly cook it with butter.
Add a pinch of salt and other Indian Masala for taste.
This is the kind of food we used to eat when life were simple. And this kind of simple food is the need of our generation.
b. Mono and Poly-Unsaturated Fats
Unsaturated Fats are considered as “healthy fats” and it is extremely important to include in our diet.
|Mono-Unsaturated Fats||Olive Oil, Avocados, Vegetable Oils|
|Poly-Unsaturated Fats (Omega 3 and 6)||Olive Oil, Fish Oil, Nuts and Seeds, Sea Foods|
These food are healthy and play an important role in effective heart function.
The only problem with these food is its affordability. Some of the foods are so expensive that some people cannot even afford it to buy.
c. Trans Fat
This is the kind of fat which is harmful and create heart problems in our body.
Keep in mind that it is the trans fat and trans-fat only which is creating great problems in our body.
Dr. Fred Kummerow, who died at the age of 103, did vast research on the subject of trans fats. He told that there are basically 2 main cause of rising heart problems in present generations:
i) Use of products high in trans fats
ii) Using oxidized cholesterol which forms by cooking poly-unsaturated vegetable oil
Sources of Trans Fats
Bakery Items, Crackers, Fast Foods, Bread, Microwave popcorn, partial hydrogenated vegetable oil etc
From the above write-up one can understand that these processed foods are high in trans fats which is main culprit for heart related disorder.
I have a clear memory of my friend who died of sudden heart attack while attending a class in college. It was a time of summer and we were in our classroom studying engineering design.
The class was long and we were tired and why not, we have been standing continuously for the past two hours besides our drawing board.
We all were busy with our drawing sheet and then suddenly one boy told his teacher that he is not feeling comfortable and want to have a seat.
He took rest for 5 minutes then went back to his drawing table.
Everything felt fine until suddenly that boy started having shallow breath with loud noises. He was sweating profusely and his eyes turned upwards.
Our fellow classmates immediately took him to the next air conditioned room and gave him a glass of water. At that point of time he was again looked normal and was talking as nothing happened.
We asked him to take him to the hospital as we felt something is seriously wrong with him.
He complied and asked us to take to nearest hospital.
He said “he is feeling cold”
It was strange to us as how a person can feel cold when outside temperature was 40 degree Celsius.
We took him outside the building where a car was waiting for us.
Suddenly in the middle of the road his health started deteriorating and in a moment of second he died.
After the postmortem we found that he died of heart attack.
Until this episode i never heard such young person dying of heart attack. I never tried to find out the cause of such major medical problem in young person until i got diagnosed with diabetes.
With my diagnosis, i did lot of research about nutrition and food sciences which let me conclude that it is our bad food habits which are responsible for this kind of problem.
3. High Sodium Content
Junk foods contain high amount of sodium which is harmful for diabetic patient.
Eating sodium rich diet cause problem like high blood pressure which in effect can lead to problems like heart failure, kidney disease, headache etc
Diabetics are anyways in the high risk of getting heart and kidney related disorders and eating the processed food will only increase their trouble.
But how do we get high sodium food?
All the packaged food we buy from super market, the food we order from restaurant are high in sodium. We are so much dependent of ready made foods that it is now spoiling our body.
We are living in emergency like situation.
Over 90% of people living in USA are over consuming sodium.
Along with the above mentioned diseases, Sodium also affects the way you look.
Sodium is basically a mineral which also plays a role in water regulation in the body. Excessive amount of sodium leads to water retention in the body which make you looked puffed and bloated.