Prof. Femi Fasanmade, Head of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism division of the Department of Medicine in the College of Medicine University of Lagos (CMUL) and the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), said that the increase in cases of diabetes is attributed to changes in diet, lifestyle, and westernisation. He stated that Nigeria now has over 10 million people with the disease, adding that, alongside obesity, it increases the tendency of stroke, cancer, heart attack and blindness. The prof. recommended weight loss, regular checkups for early detection, heightened physical activity and healthy diet to ameliorate the situation.
A cancer expert, Prof. Ifeoma Okoye, stated that, according to the International Diabetes Federation in 2019, about 460 million adults live with this health condition across the globe, with a projection that it would increase to 700 million by 2045. Prof. Okoye explained that intake of processed foods that have high level of sugar and unhealthy fats also increase the risk for type 2 diabetes through obesity. People with a family history of the disease are at higher risk of developing it. Combating the trend requires prevention, management, early detection, research and development, and policy and infrastructure.
Early detection should be encouraged to prevent complications.
According to the medical doctor, promotion of healthier diets and frequent physical activities should be encouraged. Early detection should likewise be encouraged to prevent complications. Governments, businesses and communities can collaborate to ensure accessibility to more fruits, whole grains, and vegetables, and encourage cycling. It is also necessary to ensure that diabetic patients have the required resources like access to medication, expert advice, education on management of diabetes, and routine checkups to take care of their condition.
Also, policies and health infrastructure should be put in place to provide support for initiatives of preventative health, early detection and treatment of diabetes. This could be done through regulation of food and promotion of available health resources. Prof. Okoye stated that through regular investment in research, it would be easy to understand diabetes, boost healthcare systems and develop new treatments. This can only be achieved through collaboration between individuals, health agencies, health providers and even the government.
Foods high in fibre reduce overeating and curbs cravings.
Lancet published a research that asserts that the number of people with the health condition across the globe is expected to multiply in the next three decades, attaining 1.3 billion by 2050. Researchers discovered that in 2021, 529 million people had the disease; 96 percent of these people, globally, had type 2 diabetes due to the rise in obesity. A report by the Access To Medicine Foundation (ATMF), a non-profit organisation based in Netherlands, stated that the estimated 3.5 million people living with the disease in Nigeria is inaccurate as a result of poor diagnosis in African countries.
Dr. Caroline Messer, an endocrinologist at Northwell Lenox Hill Hospital, stated that the recent study released in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine posits that high-fiber, low-fat plant-based diets can help in the achievement of remission from type 2 diabetes mellitus in patients who are already undergoing standard treatment and care. The tendency of having cravings and overeating is cautioned and reduced through consumption of foods that are high in fibre as they make the stomach feel fuller for a long period.
Whole grains and legumes are advisable for diabetic patients.
Plant-based diets have been discovered to have low saturated fats as it also improves satiety in individuals. Whole grains and legumes are also advisable for diabetic patients. This is because of their ability to aid reduction of postprandial blood sugars. Whole grains are usually fermented in the small intestine by bacteria, which results in production of bacteria that help improvement of insulin sensitivity after passage through the liver. Whole grain foods also have high levels of micronutrients like magnesium, vitamin D, antioxidants and others.