Nutrition plays a significant role in the treatment of diabetes. Although nutrition experts, including the American Dietetic Association, maintain that there is no one diet for all diabetics, agreement exists that proper nutrition based on the Food Pyramid is essential to helping blood sugar levels remain stable. This paper will identify and explain the role of nutrition in the cause, prevention and treatment of diabetes.
Adult Onset Diabetes (Type II Diabetes)
Type II diabetes, also known as adult onset diabetes, is the most common form of diabetes and is caused when the body either does not secrete enough insulin, or the cells of the body have a reduced sensitivity to its effects (ADA, 2002; Adderly, 2000). It is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States (Schardt and Schmidt, 1996). Diagnosis of Type II diabetes has soared over 600 percent in the last 40 years. Almost 95 percent of patients with diabetes in this country have Type II diabetes, and there may be another 5.5 million sufferers who don't yet know they have the disease (Adderly, 2000).
In Type I diabetes, about five percent of all diabetes patients, there is an immune dysfunction which cause the beta cells in the pancreas, which normally produce the hormone insulin, to die off and no insulin is then produced. These patients need to take insulin by injection to replace this hormone loss. In type II diabetes, either the pancreas does not secrete enough insulin, or the cells of the body become resistant to its effects. In either case, the problem arises because the body is unable to remove glucose from the bloodstream into the cells where it is stored or burned for energy (Schardt and Schmidt, 1996). High levels of glucose in the bloodstream lead to a variety of symptoms including hunger, thirst, fatigue, frequent urination, blurred vision, tingling, burning and numbness in the feet, sores that won't heal, and rapid weight loss (Adderly, 2000)...