By Dr. John Maddox, Pediatrician
Pentucket Medical/ Haverhill
There are two types of diabetes. Type 1 develops in childhood, but it is less likely to run in families. Unfortunately, based on current knowledge, there is not as much a parent can do to prevent type 1. Thankfully, this type is more rare. I’ll add that families that deal with type 1 are some of the most resilient that I have seen as a pediatrician.
Type 2 is more likely to run in families but is also much more preventable. Diabetes, as its core, is about not having enough insulin to help glucose get from the blood stream into the body’s cells to provide energy. The primary key to avoiding type 2 comes from good nutrition. All foods are eventually digested into glucose (also called blood sugar) as our fuel. Foods that are digested slowly allow our body’s pancreas to release insulin slowly, creating a gradual rise and fall of input and output that generates optimal health. Foods that are slowly digested (like an apple) have a low glycemic index; foods that are rapidly turned to sugar (like a potato) have a high glycemic index.
Fascinating new research reveals that a window of taste preference exists for infants ages 6-12 months. A baby might make a face the first few times peas or green beans are offered. However, with 8-10 days of persistence, we can successfully prime their palate for a healthier lifetime ahead.