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As a specialist in diabetes, Claire Lynch warned of highly refined and processed carbohydrates.
Such foods can be absorbed and broken down into glucose fairly quickly, meaning blood sugar levels can soon rise after eating them.
So, which foods are high in refined carbohydrates? Lynch said “cakes, biscuits and confectionery” are some examples.
Others include “pastry products, sugary drinks – including fruit juices – and white breads, rice and pasta”.
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Highly refined foods have had their fibre content stripped away, said Lynch.
“Fibre is hard to digest and therefore slows down this digestion process,” she explained.
“Fibre also adds bulk to your food making it much more filling,” Lynch added.
By eating highly processed foods, you’re more likely to feel hungry once more soon after, which can lead to overeating.
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Overeating, consistently over time, can lead to weight gain, which is one of the key risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes and having high blood sugar levels.
Lynch said: “Type 2 diabetes is predominantly caused by diet and lifestyle factors.”
Although high blood sugar is a symptom of the disease, the cause of insulin resistance is “due to fat building up in your liver and muscle cells”.
Lynch said: “This build-up happens because our Western-stye dietary pattern is high in animal foods and highly processed foods.”
Lynch added: “Both of these increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes because they are high in fat, energy-dense (high in calories), and very low in fibre.
“This excess dietary fat and energy is stored as fat in your body and can enter your muscle and liver cells, causing insulin resistance.”
Lynch said: “But a high-carbohydrate, high-fibre diet can reverse type 2 diabetes even in the absence of weight loss.
“When you centre your diet around whole plant foods, you reverse the root cause – insulin resistance.”
Claire Lynch is Educational Lead and dietician specialising in diabetes.
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