The Diabetic Syndrome

Sharon Jane Akinyemi

Sharon Jane Akinyemi

Sharon Jane

A woman I know, who is very overweight for her height and frame, began to have the symptoms of frequent urination, insatiable thirst, dizziness and headaches.

When she went to her physician  for an examination, he diagnosed her condition  as diabetes  (too much sugar in the blood) she was put on a strict diet, with injections of insulin every morning. All sweets and sugar were strictly forbidden. The doctor made this very plain.

As a lover of sweet foods all her life, she takes about six cubes of sugar with her tea so  she thought that three  cubes of sugar in her tea wouldn’t hurt. She also bought her favourite kind of assorted  sweets and an extra packet of sugar and put them in a secret place  in her bedroom. No one knew, she thought; it was a foolproof scheme.

But after supper one night, she left the family circle in the living room and tiptoed to her room secretly to have a piece of her favourite sweets. One piece didn’t quite do it, so she had one more. Those two didn’t quite satisfy her,either. Unable to stop, she ate herself into a diabetic coma!

The panic and confusion that followed sent shock  waves through the household and neighbourhood. It was quite a spectacle when she was rushed to a nearby hospital. About  a day later after so much money had been spent, she was back home feeling guilty and embarrassed for having been so foolish. (Today’s cost may be higher than yesterday’s)

There are two types of diabetes mellitus: Type 1, or juvenile  diabetes, occurring mostly in children and young adults and Type 2, adult onset diabetes. The disease is caused from a defect in insulin production by the pancreas.

Insulin is needed by the body to utilise glucose for energy. In addition, juvenile-onset diabetes is caused by  a failure of the body to produce insulin, which is needed for the metabolism of carbohydrates(starches and sugar).

In maturity onset  diabetes, the body cells are unable to respond normally to insulin. In both types blood sugar fails to penetrate body cells, and they become deprived of vital energy. It is like a “water, water everywhere , and not a drop to drink” situation.

For maturity-onset diabetes lowering one’s body weight to normal and keeping it there  eliminates the condition  in many cases. Juvenile-onset diabetes, on the contrary, is not usually reversible.

Diabetes complications are the third leading cause of death in Nigeria. Diet affects this disease as much as it does cancer. Overweight people who eat diets high in refined processed foods and sugary goodies and low in fibre are more likely  to develop diabetes as they grow older.


Are you one of those battling with excess weight? If you have decided  that you need to lose those excess pounds, here are a few basic  principles for you to follow:

1. Decrease your intake of

*meat (beef, lamb, pork, and pork products)

*fat (fatty meats, fried foods, butter, oil, etc)

*sugars (sweets, candy, refined sugars, etc)

*white-flour baked goods (bread, cakes, doughnuts, etc)

*total calories (from all food groups)

2. Increase your intake of:

*fresh vegetables (plain, with no oil or sauce)

*fresh fruits and unsweetened fruit juices

*freshly squeezed vegetable juices (ugwu, carrots, bitter leaf juices etc.

*grilled or boiled fish and chicken, without oil or skin (Remember very little meat is ideal.)

*whole grain products (bread, cereal, foods.

This simple plan will help you to lose weight safely and will bring about a permanent change in your eating habits.

Diabetics should eat a protein portion and carb portion of the same size at each meal. Take a little fat with these foods too. Eating a wide variety of non starchy vegetable will fill you up without affecting insulin levels. You can enjoy salads with healthy salad  dressings since fat is not the issue for you. (fat must be cholesterol free).

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