Fri, Sep 01, 2017 - Page 4 News List

Watch your blood sugar level, physician warns

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

A 22-year-old university student who often ate bread three times a day was shocked when she was diagnosed with diabetes, a doctor said, urging people to maintain a healthy diet.

Sung Yen-jen (宋晏仁), a physician at Taipei’s Shu-Tien Clinic, cited the recent case of the student who had come for an examination due to urinary tract problems, but was found to have a blood sugar level as high as 198mg/dl and a glycosylated hemoglobin level of 9.6 percent. She was diagnosed with diabetes.

The patient did not have a family history of diabetes, but had eaten out every day — often eating bread at all three of her daily meals — and was overweight, with a body mass index of 24.8 and a high percentage of body fat at 30.8 percent, Sung said.

Blood glucose levels begin to rise after eating and signals are sent to the pancreas to produce insulin, which acts on cells throughout the body to stimulate uptake, utilization and storage of glucose, while stimulating the liver to store glucose in the form of glycogen, Sung said.

However, foods high in refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, raise blood glucose levels more quickly than meals that also contain fats and proteins, resulting in a deficiency of insulin secretion and an inability to handle the glucose in the body, he said.

The student’s health improved noticeably after she changed her diet, quitting bread and making sure that vegetables made up about half of her daily intake, Sung said.

Sung urged people not only to avoid food high in sugar, but also to avoid other food that rapidly increase blood glucose levels, such as white bread, udon noodles, pastries and sugary beverages.

While diabetes can be controlled with medication, maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly are also very important to control the disease, he added.

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