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This Morning: Type 2 diabetes can be 'devastating' says expert

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Type 2 diabetes can be a tricky beast to tame because it requires kicking some bad habits. That’s because poor lifestyle decisions – namely eating too many carb-rich and sugary items – can send blood sugar levels soaring and this is the main threat posed by type 2 diabetes. Conversely, by improving your diet, you can slow down the rate at which food is broken down into blood glucose (sugar) and this can moderate the rise in blood sugar.

Research suggests drinking black tea can improve postprandial glycaemic control.

Put simply, black tea consumption slows the rate at which blood sugar levels rise after eating and this effect kicks in within minutes.

That’s the conclusion of a study published in Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The study examined the effect of black tea consumption on postprandial (post-meal) blood glucose and insulin (the hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar) response following sucrose loading in normal and pre-diabetes subjects.

Sucrose is the scientific name for table sugar.

Twenty-four subjects, male and female aged 20-60 years, normal and pre-diabetic, randomly ingested a sucrose solution with a low dose of black tea, a high dose of black tea or a placebo drink.

Blood samples were collected at 0, 30, clonazepam infusion status epilepticus 60, 90, and 120 minutes from commencement of drink ingestion to measure blood glucose and insulin levels.

What did the researchers learn?

The drink containing low dose and high dose black tea “significantly” decreased blood sugar after sucrose intake compared with placebo in the normal and pre-diabetic subjects, the researchers wrote.

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There was no statistically significant difference of changes in insulin levels between the placebo and black tea groups, they found.

The researchers concluded: “Black tea consumption can decrease postprandial blood glucose after sucrose intake.”

General tips for lowering blood sugar

To keep blood sugar levels in check, you should refer to the glycaemic index (GI) – a rating system for foods containing carbohydrates.

It shows how quickly each food affects your blood sugar (glucose) level when that food is eaten on its own.

Carbohydrate foods that are broken down quickly by your body and cause a rapid increase in blood glucose have a high GI rating.

High GI foods include:

  • Sugar and sugary foods
  • Sugary soft drinks
  • White bread
  • Potatoes
  • White rice.

Instead, you should opt for low or medium GI foods because they are broken down more slowly and cause a gradual rise in blood sugar levels over time.

They include some fruit and vegetables, pulses and wholegrain foods, such as porridge oats.

Type 2 diabetes – do you have it?

Many people have type 2 diabetes without realising. This is because symptoms do not necessarily make you feel unwell.

Symptoms include:

  • Peeing more than usual, particularly at night
  • Feeling thirsty all the time
  • Feeling very tired
  • Losing weight without trying to
  • Itching around your penis or vagina, or repeatedly getting thrush
  • Cuts or wounds taking longer to heal
  • Blurred vision.

See a GP if you have any of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes or you’re worried you may have a higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes, advises the NHS.

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