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What Is Impacting the Global Increase in Type 2 Diabetes and How Can It Be Managed?

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Type 2 diabetes rates have risen markedly in recent years among the general population around the world. The rise has been noted particularly—but not exclusively—in Western countries. Several factors, including the ancillary introduction of environmental precipitators, such as BPA, as well as diets that are rich in processed and ultra-processed foods, have been cited by studies as likely contributors to this trend. The rising prevalence of type 2 diabetes is particularly worrisome given the subsequent increase in the likelihood of strokes and heart disease as well as eye damage and kidney disease.

Environmental Health Perspectives recently published the results of a nine-year study that was conducted by Australian and French scientists. The study found a correlation between exposure to bisphenol A (BPA), which is commonly found in many plastics, and the emergence of type 2 diabetes. The research, which was conducted by the Melbourne-based Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, concluded that consumers should be advised to refrain from re-using plastic bottles and take-out containers, which are two of the more commonly used plastics with BPA content, as a way of reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. The study also found a correlation between exposure to BPS, which has been used extensively as a BPA substitute in response to restrictions on BPA usage, and the emergence of type 2 diabetes.

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Photo by Jonathan Chng on Unsplash

A second and even more recent study, which was published on December 16, 2019, by Jama Internal Medicine, pointed to a likely correlation between the consumption of ultra-processed foods (UPF) and type 2 diabetes, citing a 15% higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes with every 10% increase in UPF consumption. The study’s results remained statistically significant even following adjustment for metabolic comorbidities, weight change, and other factors among the subjects.

Scientists are overwhelmingly in consensus that one of the keys to remaining healthy in the long term is to adopt a diet that minimizes and optimally excludes all ultra-processed foods altogether. Processed meat and dairy products served at fast-food restaurants, other processed foods that are rich in white sugar, white flour, processed starches, and trans fats, as well as drinks laden with high white sugar contents, have all contributed to the global rise of obesity and heart disease. However, the results of the study, which involved more than 104,000 participants, provided data as to the impact of UPF on type 2 diabetes in particular. They were described by the authors as providing supporting evidence to the argument that UPF consumption should be restricted specifically in order to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

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Photo by Eiliv-Sonas Aceron on Unsplash

The study is significant considering that ultra-processed food consumption has been on the rise in recent decades in the West, and that trend has since become increasingly prevalent in non-Western countries in more recent years. Whereas some scientists argue that a diet consisting solely of whole foods and that is entirely vegan is the healthiest, others view a broader diet that includes fish, eggs, low-fat dairy products, and lean poultry as more conducive to the ultimate goal, especially given the body’s need for fiber, vitamins, protein, and minerals, some of which can be harder to extract from a purely vegan diet.

Naturally, in order to ensure that a healthier diet is truly efficacious, it needs to be complemented by adopting a healthier lifestyle that includes regular exercise. Several studies indicate that taking natural supplements also contributes to optimizing the impact of dietary change, particularly if that change involves the complete removal and replacement of many components that formerly were staples of the subject’s diet. Natural supplements also have been proven to be effective for other purposes, including anti-inflammatories and even in controlling sugar levels in the blood, which is crucial for averting and dealing with type 2 diabetes.

For example, turmeric has been known for its anti-inflammatory properties by Chinese and Ayurvedic herbalists for more than 4,000 years. This was confirmed through a study by the Journal of Medicinal Food, which found 1,000 milligrams of turmeric daily to be effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which is available in supplements that are manufactured by Me First Living. Ayurvedic and Chinese herbalists routinely prescribe turmeric to treat diabetes as well.

A second example is Solgar’s evening primrose oil, which comes in soft gel capsules. The supplement has several gamma-linolenic acids and serves as a common herbal medicine to treat multiple conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis and menstrual pains as well as other inflammations. Evening primrose oil is considered to be a good source of fatty acids that may be present in insufficient quantities in a vegan or lean diet.

While the former two can help prevent type 2 diabetes, those who may already have the disease still have use for certain supplements as part of their efforts to combat the condition. CuraLife’s CuraLin contains a blend of natural ingredients, which have also been used by Chinese and Ayurvedic herbalists. The active ingredients in this supplement include Swertia Chirata, which facilitates insulin release, reduces glucose absorption, and improves the intracellular metabolism of glucose. Other ingredients include fenugreek, which improves insulin production, release, and sensitivity, as well as amla, Gymnema Sylvestre, karela, and Tinospora Cordifolia, which are known to contribute to the control of glucose levels in the blood.

The adoption of a lifestyle that includes an overwhelmingly, if not exclusively, a plant-based and healthier diet can greatly help avert the onset of type 2 diabetes and keep it under control after it has presented itself. The revised diet should be complemented by avoiding contact with environmental toxins such as BPA, a regular regimen of exercise, and a discerning selection of natural supplements that can help control sugar levels in the blood and keep them at healthy levels.

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Mahesh is leading digital marketing initiatives at RecentlyHeard, a NewsFeed platform that covers news from all sectors. He develops, manages, and executes digital strategies to increase online visibility, better reach target audiences, and create engaging experience across channels. With 7+ years of experience, He is skilled in search engine optimization, content marketing, social media marketing, and advertising, and analytics.

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