Just to share my personal experience with diabetes and how I have been keeping sugar levels under check. I do NOT take (and have NEVER taken) ANY medicines (for blood sugar control). I don't take any other medicines regularly. I Do the following:
1) I try to avoid eating simple carbohydrates, as much as possible. However, since carbs are required for body to function, I do take complex carbs (in the forms of oats) as well as a lot of vegetables that do not increase sugar levels (such as for me, okra, egg plant, cabbage, cauliflower etc).
2) As a follow-up on point #1 above, I try NOT to eat anything made from rice (or from wheat for that matter...this is a major challenge with Indian food, as most if not all of them are rice/wheat based).
3) I do try to eat protein as much as possible (I am vegetarian, so this is a bit of a challenge), in the form of lentils, beans, eggs (I prefer egg whites most of the time).
4) Avoid sugar (no sugar in coffee/tea, no sweets unless made for diabetics etc)
5) I check sugar levels often (at-least once a day, most days), about 1 hour after taking food. This confirms sugar levels to me, as also confirms which foods (and quantities) that keep sugar levels to acceptable levels and those that do NOT (so, I avoid them).
6) I use a home sugar-level monitor, and if I do buy strips in 50's, then, price of each strip comes to a little less than Rs.17. These are the most cost-effective strips I have managed to find - if anyone else knows of blood sugar-level test strips, which can be got cheaper, please let me know.
7) I try to adhere to stricter standards than ADA recommended levels for sugar. 1 hour Post Prandial (after food), I look for sugar levels which are 140 or less - for me, sugar levels peak at around 1 hour after food intake and then, start to FALL after this 1 hour. [ADA recommends 180 or less, 2 hours after food intake].
8) As a comparison, when I was initially diagnosed as Diabetic (Type 2) in Nov 2011, my Fasting levels were between 250-300 and Post Prandial was I believe 350-400 (sorry don't remember the exact numbers).
9) Sometimes, if I need to consume rice, I take brown rice (not raw or par-boiled rice) - if eaten is smaller quantities, this keeps sugar levels to within acceptable limits (as mentioned above in #7).
10) Now, with regard to maintaining a good Fasting sugar level, I have found that avoiding eating food (especially carbs) after say 9:00p or so, does result in good Fasting sugar levels for me (just around 100 or less). This has been a bit difficult off late though...so, if I do eat after 9:00p (esp carbs or even huge quantities of any food after 9:00p), my Fasting levels then increase to just under 120. Of course, if I do lose control (which does happen at times) and consume sweets/cookies on any day, esp after 9:00p, Fasting levels in the morning reach around 125, which is NOT good - so of course, I try to avoid, as much as possible.
11) Under unavoidable conditions, such as when needing to eat at a marriage function, during festival time celebrations etc, I buy myself an insulin pen (I use Mixtard) and inject some insulin (between 5-10 units, maybe 12 units rarely but no more), about 15 mins before consuming food. This certainly helps of course, whenever, a good amount of rice (and sometimes even regular sweets) need to be taken.
12) I try to exercise regularly - don't do any cardio - just train for strength...just 2 days (or 3 days max) per week. Works wonders overall and also to control body weight, sugar levels, keeping blood pressure in check etc. Always, looking foward to gym day...can't emphasize that enough.
13) Also, have a home Blood Pressure monitor and using all the right techniques, do measure my BP level regularly. Levels have always been around 115-75 (normal is 120/80). Heart rate (which is measured by the same monitor) was 65 this morning (normal is 72 or below).
14) Try to consume much less than usual amounts of salt in food prepared at home.
15) It's been a while that I checked my HbA1C level...when I was diagnosed a Diabetic, HbA1C was between 13 and 14 (quite high, I know). After doing all the above, my HbA1C (measured about 8-9 months ago, was 6.3. I am trying to get this to 5 or less and haven't measured this lately...I do realize it is good to get this measure, once every 3-4 months.
Although, the above seem like a LOT of things to do, it's just that it gets pretty verbose trying to detail all of the things that I do and NOT do - once this kind of a routine gets imbibed, it gets pretty "easy" to follow. However, I would say, avoiding simple carbs, in an Indian setting, is the most difficult task of all - especially, considering that I am a vegetarian.
I also try to keep my body weight in check (have a tummy - no great amount of fat anywhere else).
The less simple carbohydrates I eat and the less quantity of food I eat, tummy vanishes pretty quickly for me. However, given that I LOVE strength training, I won't be able to progress, with an extremely small body weight - so I do try to keep some body weight on still. So, waist levels were 41-43 inches when I was diagnosed (body weight then, was around 97-98 kgs)...right now, waist is probably around 37 inches...I know, should be reduced still...working on it. Body weight is around 85 kgs - my height, by the way is 5'7". Age - 46 years old.
Also, measured my cholesterol numbers at the same time I measured HbA1C last (about 8-9 months back) - I had the best of numbers in all categories.
I used to train for long distance running many years back for quite a number of years (never did manage to compete in any marathon)...I have no interest in this anymore and don't run anymore at all.
Also, used to walk 2-3 kms or so everyday, immediately after I was diagnosed a diabetic...I don't do that anymore either (just no time to walk anymore).
Tried a LOT of food supplements when diagnosed initially...raw garlic, vinegar, sakkarakolli (sorry, local term used...don't know the English/Generic name), fanugreek seeds, arnica, mag phos etc etc etc. Found that none of them really make a significant difference (if at all) either way. Diet control (basically to avoid eating simple carbohydrates and other high Glycemic foods) and exercise, have proved to be the most effective, for me. As a side-note, I feel that raw garlic and vinegar (in moderate quantities), are good to eat for general health reasons anyway.
I own a computer software business...so, involves a lot of staring at the computer monitor and lots of typing, but little else in terms of physical movement.
Hey, as a last point for the moment...came across that new research has found that a hormone by name Betatrophin replicates (produces new cells) Beta cells, which then produce insulin normally (as and when required, in the right quantities). Still in trials and (hopefully) will be available for safe human use within the next 2-3 years - can't wait for this to become available for approved human use.
LOVE to hear any suggestions from anyone on the above...
Disclaimer: I am NOT a doctor, or a dietician of any sort. Just writing down my own experiences with controlling my blood sugar levels, with diet control and exercise alone. Please do consult your doctor BEFORE making any changes/additions to your medicines, diet or exercise programs.