People with type 2 diabetes can often control their blood sugar without using more medication.
They need to reduce their calories, eat healthier foods and get plenty of exercise. Diet and exercise can lower blood sugar by decreasing insulin resistance.
People with type 2 diabetes have a condition that does not allow their cells to react very quickly when the natural insulin levels in their bloodstream begins to rise. Even though there is more than enough insulin available, blood sugar levels stay high. This is called "insulin resistance." People with type 2 diabetes usually make enough insulin. The problem is that the insulin doesn't work so well if they eat too much and are not physically active.
The U.S. Surgeon General's office recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days of the week. That totals at least two and a half hours of exercise per week. For a person with type 2 diabetes, this amount of exercise typically lowers blood-sugar levels by about 10% to 20%.
Reducing calories can lead to weight loss, and this improves insulin resistance. With less insulin resistance, sugars can stay in better control.
Some research suggests that sweetened foods (sugared foods, juices and sodas) have an effect on blood sugar that goes beyond their calorie content. A large "dose" of our most common sweeteners (such as table sugar, brown sugar, honey, and high-fructose corn syrup) may affect your metabolism directly, increasing insulin resistance. More research is being done on this topic. People with diabetes should avoid regularly drinking sweetened drinks, and probably would benefit from eating fewer highly sweetened foods.
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