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Diabetes Is An Impairment Of Blood Glucose Regulation

What is diabetes?

For many people, the fine regulation of the level of blood glucose becomes impaired. This results in chronic high blood glucose concentrations medically known as hyperglycemia. The impairment may be due to a decreased ability of the pancreas to produce insulin which is the case in type 1 diabetes. The lack of insulin allows glucose levels to remain elevated even in a fasting state. Furthermore, after a carbohydrate containing meal blood glucose levels can climb exceptionally high. For most people diagnosed with diabetes, blood glucose regulation is impaired despite their ability to produce insulin. In fact, many of these individuals produce more insulin than what seems normal, at least initially. This type of diabetes is referred to as type 2 diabetes.

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In the past, type 1 diabetes has also been called insulin-dependent diabetes because medical treatment involves insulin therapy via needle injections or automated subcutaneous pumps. Insulin nasal sprays seem to be promising to simplify diabetes management. Type 1 diabetes has also been referred to as juvenile (or child-onset) diabetes because diagnosis is much more common in children. However, since type 1 diabetes can develop at any age, type 1 diabetes is the most correct terminology. Type 2 diabetes has also been called non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, as medical treatment does not absolutely require insulin injections. However, because insulin injections may be prescribed from time to time this terminology is confusing. Also, type 2 diabetes has been referred to as adult-onset diabetes mellitus since it is more commonly diagnosed in adults. Again, this is confusing as more children are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. While type 2 diabetes occurs in people of all ages and races, it is more common in U.S. population among African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders, as well as the aged population.


What causes type 2 diabetes?

In type 2 diabetes mellitus, muscle and fat cells become less sensitive to insulin. What has become very clear to researchers, physicians, and nutritionists is that there is a strong relationship between obesity and this form of diabetes mellitus. In fact, nearly 90 percent of all individuals diagnosed with type 2 diabetes mellitus are also recognized as obese. In support of this relationship, most obese type 2 diabetics regain the ability to regulate their blood glucose as they reduce their body fat through weight loss and exercise. Although the relationship seems clear enough, the mechanism has been somewhat elusive to scientists. However, today, some evidence suggests that swollen fat cells themselves may release (and/or not release) chemicals that contribute to decreased sensitivity to insulin.


Does sugar cause diabetes?

Over the years, many theories have evolved about the relationship between higher consumptions of sugar and various diseases and conditions. However, dietary sugar does not appear to promote the development of diabetes, at least not directly. As discussed above, diabetes can be largely categorized into two groups: those individuals that have a reduction in ability to make insulin (type 1 diabetes) and those individuals that appear to make insulin, but whose muscle and fat cells appear to be less sensitive to its presence (type 2 diabetes). In most cases of type 2 diabetes mellitus, one of the most significant underlying factors is an excessive body weight in the form of fat. So, if a person eats excessive amounts of sugary foods, which by simple excess of energy intake will lead to fat accumulation, obesity, and subsequent diabetes, then perhaps an argument can be made. However, sugar would then be an indirect factor, not a direct factor. On the other hand, high sugar foods such as soda, cookies, cakes and pies can make it more difficult to manage diabetes because of their glycemic effect described above.

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