Type 2 diabetes – a precursor to heart disease – means the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or the insulin it does produce is not taken up by the cells. This has grave consequences because insulin regulates blood sugar – the main type of sugar found in blood. Consistently high blood sugar levels can damage the body and some of the most acute warning signs involve nerve damage.
The health body explains: “When your blood sugar levels are running high, your body will try to flush excess sugar out of your blood through the urine.
“As a result, your body will need more fluids to rehydrate itself. Drinking water can help the body with flushing out some of the glucose in the blood.”
It adds: “Just a word of caution to be sensible with drinking water; water intoxication is possible if a number of litres of water are drunk in a short space of time.”
It is also important to monitor your intake of certain foods because they can cause blood sugar levels to soar.
The worst culprits are certain types of carbohydrates that are broken down into blood glucose (sugar) relatively fast.
The faster food is broken down into blood glucose, the more pronounced the impact will be on blood sugar levels.
To sort the good from the bad, you should refer to the glycaemic index (GI).
The GI is a rating system for foods containing carbohydrates – it shows how quickly each food affects your blood sugar (glucose) level when that food is eaten on its own.
Carbohydrate foods that are broken down quickly by your body and cause a rapid increase in blood glucose have a high GI rating.
High GI foods include:
- Sugar and sugary foods
- Sugary soft drinks
- White bread
- White rice.
Low or medium GI foods are broken down more slowly and cause a gradual rise in blood sugar levels over time.
Low or medium GI foods include some fruit and vegetables, pulses and wholegrain foods, such as porridge oats.