Can poor gut health lead to diabetes? A nutritionist explains | Health
Good gut health can be helpful in warding off diabetes, and avoiding a diet high in carbohydrates and fats can lower your risk of a metabolic disorder, says a nutritionist. Diabetes, one of the fastest growing diseases in the world, is increasing rapidly due to several factors ranging from lifestyle, family history to stress.
Studies suggest that the disease is also directly linked to our gut health as there is an interdependence between gut bacteria and diabetes. Recent experiments indicate that the intestinal microflora is regulated by factors such as genes, drugs and diet.
“Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease while type 2 diabetes is related to lifestyle, genetics and environmental conditions. Research is being conducted to understand the root cause and better treatment of the disease .link between your gut health and diabetes,” says Avantii Deshpaande, PCOS and gut health nutritionist.
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While a diet high in fiber and probiotics can keep gut health in tip-top shape, consuming more carbs and fats does the opposite by increasing the number of bacteria causing toxins to build up in the body and increasing bad cholesterol. This in turn can lead to obesity, which increases the risk of diabetes.
“The onset of type 2 diabetes is often due to the intake of high calorie foods in the diet. A diet higher in carbohydrates and fats causes obesity, which can then lead to diabetes. This impairs also the microbiome, with a decrease in the number of beneficial bacteria and an increase in the number of bacteria which in turn increase the accumulated toxins in the body.These accumulated toxins increase the levels of triglycerides, LDL which is the bad cholesterol and reduce also good HDL cholesterol. This is the root cause of obesity which in turn can lead to insulin resistance,” says Deshpaande.
What is Gut Health?
Gut health refers to millions of microbiomes, primarily bacteria and some viruses and fungi that live inside the large intestine. These microbiomes are capable of protecting our body, producing several nutrients and metabolites which are utilized by our body and eliminating harmful wastes out of the body. There are also several harmful ones, those that do cause disease and other infections.
“Good gut health balances these two categories of microbiomes. Disturbances in the gut microbiome have been reported to decrease immunity, cause fatigue, affect mental health, mood swings, depression, stress and cancer.Several metabolic and hormonal disorders like obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes, hypertension, PCOS, cardiovascular diseases are due to dysbiosis,” explains the gut health nutritionist.
A diet rich in fiber can not only help manage diabetes, but also prevent it, since fiber acts as a prebiotic that helps increase the number of good bacteria. These good bacteria produce short chain fatty acids (SFAs) which act as food for the further production of more good bacteria.
Foods to Prevent Diabetes
“Type 2 diabetes occurs at low-grade inflammation which is linked to changes in the microbiome. An anti-inflammatory diet consists of rich fruits and vegetables, consuming whole grains, especially millets, including ingredients like ghee, coconut oil, and turmeric—all of these foods are responsible for increasing the good microbiomes that will reduce inflammation in the body,” says Deshpande,
Nutritionist advises to focus on high fiber diet like fruits, vegetables, beans, millets and include more probiotics in form of buttermilk or curd, 1 tsp ghee in diet every day. She also advises keeping protein and good fats moderate in the diet and carbohydrates low.
Other than that, exercising for at least 20 minutes a day can help prevent and manage diabetes.