To start with, it should be admitted that diabetes is a disease which is tightly connected to the issue of nutrition. In order to understand it better, one should take into account the fact that diabetes is a metabolic disorder, which arouses out of the human inability to produce or adequately apply insulin hormone. The consequence of it is the dysregulation of glucose in human blood. With the course of the years, the disease has taken the tremendous scale and has already affected more than 220 million people worldwide. The past decade manifested doubling of the incidence of diabetes among people. One of the most essential factors concerns existence of a great number of individuals who do not even know about their disorder. This results in the prevalence of diabetic complications that include cardiovascular diseases, neuropathy, blindness, and amputation. Understanding the nature of this disorder is significant as it could assist to prevent the unfavorable health outcomes and possible complications.
Nutrition interventions turn out to be very productive for the individuals with diabetes. Diabetes presupposes making constant food choices as human nutrition has direct effect on blood glucose level and has the ability to decrease the possible risk of complications. The food products consist of carbohydrates, proteins, and fat. These counterparts perform the role of the building blocks in human organism. Healthy nutrition leads towards the reduced chances of getting negative diabetic consequences. However, recently, there occurred severe debates concerning healthy diet. The researchers try to understand what products constitute healthy nutrition for diabetics. Particular attention has been paid towards carbohydrates. For a long time, it was considered that diet, which includes high carbohydrates intake, is marked by a lower amount of calories and could assist to promote weight reduction. However, the recent studies, which gained credence, manifested that high carbohydrates lead towards the organism’s increased production of insulin, which finally resulted in type II diabetes and obesity. This work is aimed at revealing the effect of high carbohydrates on human organism and understanding how it affects the development of diabetes.
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High Carbohydrates and Diabetes
The existing debates divided the researchers in two camps. One part of the scientists states that high-carbohydrate and low fat nutrition produces positive influence on the individuals suffering from diabetes. They are confident that high-carbohydrates include low number of calories and should be taken in order to prevent negative consequences of diabetes for that reason. These researchers state that diabetes is directly connected towards weight gain and obesity and that weight management will assist to normalize the insulin production. Gabriel Cousens is one of the scientists, who votes for the application of high carbohydrates in the nutrition of diabetics. As an example, he discusses the residents of Japan, Thailand, and other Asian countries, who have noticed the abrupt increase in diabetes after they moved from the high carbohydrate diet being mainly on rice, starchy vegetables, beans, and noodles. Cousens puts an emphasis on the fact that high carbohydrates do not cause diabetes and states that these products have low-to moderate glycemic index and a low insulin index (114). The researcher Gadgil et al. provides in their study the results of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition, which has shown that among 38,094 participants, nearly 30% experienced the increase in type 2 diabetes after the consumption of five energy percent of protein in place of carbohydrates (1135).
Alan Sinclair supports the previous opinion and notes that carbohydrates should be consumed in an acceptable range of 45-60%. Sinclair points out that carbohydrates do not influence the glycemic control in case when a person uses them with a fixed meal. The researcher also states that carbohydrates rich in fiber are especially recommended, because they assist to exceed 10% of the total energy (218). It is the traditionally accepted approach towards the inclusion of carbohydrates into the diabetic nutrition.
The recent years have brought the adverse attitude towards this issue. A great number of researchers have turned towards the innovative studies, which started investigating the high carbohydrates from the completely surprising viewpoint. The scientists began conducting the analyses of the effect of high carbohydrates on human health, and found that high-carbohydrate and low-fat diets promote the conversion of less atherogenic large low-density lipoprotein into more atherogenic small-density lipoprotein, and that fructose, which was considered to be the sweetener for diabetics, implies smaller lipoprotein particles. In other words, the recent investigations showed positive effect of limited consumption of high carbohydrates, and it contradicts all the generally accepted nutritional guidelines.
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Jane Frank provides the historical overview in her work and states that the first researcher who revealed the adverse effect of high carbohydrates was Dr. Give. Long ago in 1935, he noticed the correlation which existed between the diabetes and high carbohydrates intake. After him, it was the researcher Montignac who introduced the hypothesis that high carbohydrates result in the decreased function of the pancreas, which starts working less efficiently and produces too much insulin. Consequently, the human body experiences hyperinsulinemia, which is a disorder that results in insulin resistance.
In his article, Feinman has proved the beneficial effect of reducing high carbohydrates. He mentioned in his article that the effects of the restriction are immediate and well-documented. The data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys have proved that increase of the carbohydrates intake becomes the major contributor to the excess of calories in the US (Feinman 3). In his work, Feinman states one very controversial issue; according to him, weight loss is not definitely connected to the prevention of diabetes. He emphasizes that low-carbohydrate diets turn to be even more efficient that low-calorie diet. The researcher emphasizes that low-calorie diets turn to be less useful as people with diabetes are not always overweight. Moreover, the studies confirm that weight gain is associated with insulin therapy. The analyses have found that diets which include low carbohydrates are more favorable for the weight loss and metabolic rate than fat-reduced diets. This is a groundbreaking assumption as it turns all the recently advised nutritional guidelines upside down.
The researcher Isharwal et al. have conducted the detailed investigation of the effect of high carbohydrates on insulin resistance. According to him, there prevailed a tradition of making the diet consisting of 60% of carbohydrates until recently. The results manifested that high carbohydrates promoted type II diabetes but not prevented it. The same findings were confirmed by Bagchi and Nair. As well as others, these researchers state that despite the fact that high-carbohydrate and low-fat diets are recommended for the individuals with diabetes, the positive effect of such nutrition is doubtful. They emphasize that there exists considerable evidence that in spite of the prevailing tradition, such diets promote the insulin resistant syndrome and are not favourable for the individuals who suffer from type II diabetes (92).
The provided arguments concerning the positive effect of low-carbohydrate diets on weight management and diabetes led towards the assumption that serious changes in present-day dietary guidelines are necessary. Understanding the right nutrition prescriptions is necessary for diabetics as some individuals, who find themselves on the stage of diabetes’ development, try to affect their health state by dietary changes only. These individuals promote the motivation of the scientists to reach the consensus on this issue and find out what kind of diet is beneficial for preventing the onset and progression of the disorder.
In his work, Alan Sinclair pointed out that the optimal diet for the diabetic patients remains unknown. However, the progress should reveal a secret of it as it could seriously simplify the diabetes treatment and improve its outcomes.
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The objective of this research was to find out what kind of a diet is beneficial for the individuals suffering from diabetes, and how high carbohydrates affect the health state of these people. The investigation of different sources did not allow arriving at the mutual consent. The scientists may be divided into two broad groups. Some of them vote for the traditional high-carbohydrate and low-fat nutrition stating that it provides the individual with energy and helps to reduce the body weight. These scholars claim that weight loss is one of the beneficial factors that assist in preventing diabetes development. Other researchers express completely different viewpoint emphasizing that high-carbohydrate products are dangerous for the organism of people being susceptible to diabetes development; as such foods could become the cause of increased production of insulin, which is the leading factor for type 2 diabetes development. The researchers provide the examples of beneficial effect of low-carbohydrate nutrition. Moreover, they also emphasize that weight loss is not always an advantageous factor, and that in particular situations, patients gain extra weight after the insulin therapy. Expressing personal viewpoint, it is vital to note that the latter assumption seems to be more trustworthy. Currently, nothing could be confirmed. There exists a burning necessity to continue studies in order to get the needed nutritional data. Today, the situation seems to be rather vague, and additional investigations could help to achieve the agreement.