What Is Diabetes?
Diabetes mellitus is a group of metabolic diseases characterised by a high blood sugar level over a prolonged period of time .
It’s a disease that prevents your body from properly using the energy from the food you eat. Your body is made up of trillions of cells. To produce energy, the cells need food in a straightforward form.
For example, when you eat or drink, much of your food is broken down into a simple sugar called glucose. Glucose provides the energy your body needs for daily activities. Imagine it like this: the blood vessels and blood are a sort of highways that transport sugar. Sugar cannot go into the cells by itself.
The pancreas naturally produces insulin once it senses that you are eating. Insulin is immediately released into the blood, which acts as the "key" that opens the door for sugar to enter the cells, which would be used for energy. When sugar leaves the bloodstream and enters the cells, the blood sugar level is lowered.
Without insulin (this “key"), sugar cannot get into the body's cells for use as energy, which causes blood sugar levels to rise.
So, simply said, Diabetes Mellitus is a disease that occurs when your blood sugar is too high due to problems with the hormone ‘insulin’ .
What's the Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes?
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) classified diabetes into two broad categories: type 1, type 2 and other types .
Type 1 Diabetes
In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas makes little or no insulin, so sugar cannot get into the body's cells for use as energy. People with type 1 diabetes must use insulin injections to control their blood glucose. Approximately 5-10% of people with diabetes are diagnosed with type 1.
Type 2 Diabetes
In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas makes insulin, but it either doesn't produce enough, or the body becomes insulin resistant, meaning that tissues such as the muscle and liver don’t respond well to insulin and, therefore, can’t use glucose from your blood as energy. 9 out of 10 people with diabetes have type 2, which is often accompanied by other conditions such as hypertension. Type 2 diabetes may sometimes be controlled and reversed with a combination of diet, weight management and exercise. However, treatment may also include glucose-lowering medications or insulin injections .
Prediabetes means you have a higher-than-normal blood sugar level. It's not high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes yet, but without lifestyle changes, pre-diabetics are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Eating healthy foods, making physical activity as part of your daily routine and maintaining a healthy weight can help bring one’s blood sugar levels back to normal  .
What Is a Diabetes Diet?
If you have diabetes or prediabetes, your doctor will likely recommend that you see a dietitian to help you develop or maintain a healthy eating plan. This will help you control your blood sugar (glucose).
Usually, a diabetes diet is a meal plan that's naturally rich in nutrients and fibre, low in fat and calories. Actually, a diabetes diet is a great eating plan for almost everyone since key elements are fruits, vegetables and whole grains. The diet is based on eating three meals a day at regular times. This helps to better use the insulin that your body produces or gets through medication.
There are different approaches on creating a diabetes meal plan. The ADA recommends an individualized nutritional approach which promotes nutrient-dense foods through controlled portion sizes. For this, the ADA came up with the 'plate method’ which is a simple method of meal planning. In essence, it focuses on eating more vegetables. According to the ADA, you can follow these steps when preparing your plate:
- Fill half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables, such as spinach, carrots and tomatoes.
- Fill a quarter of your plate with a protein, such as tuna, lean pork or chicken.
- Fill the last quarter with a whole-grain item, such as brown rice, or a starchy vegetable, such as green peas.
- Include "good" fats such as nuts or avocados in small amounts.
- Add a serving of fruit or dairy and a drink of water or unsweetened tea or coffee.
Other ways to help you keep your blood glucose level within a normal range are to count carbohydrates or to rank carbohydrate-containing foods based on their effect on blood glucose levels (aka the glycemic index). The lower the glycemic index of foods, the lower their impact on blood glucose. There’s also a possibility that a dietitian recommends you choose specific foods to help you plan your meals and snacks. In this case, you can choose foods from a list including categories such as carbohydrates, proteins and fats. The ADA also recommends a moderation or suppression in alcohol consumption and limiting salt consumption to < 5.75 g/day .
The diet always includes fibre-rich complex carbohydrates, which can be found in whole wheat, oatmeal and beans. Complex carbohydrates take longer to digest and are a more stable source of energy than simple carbohydrates. Because carbohydrates break down into glucose, they have the greatest impact on blood glucose levels. To help control the blood sugar, it is advised to calculate the number of carbohydrates you are eating so that you can adjust the dose of insulin accordingly. Fibre (a carbohydrate) plays an important role in controlling blood sugar levels. Foods rich in fibre include vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes and whole grains  .
Foods containing monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, like Omega-3 fatty acids, can help lower cholesterol levels. Avocados, nuts and olive oil are good sources of these fatty acids  . For further information about mono and polyunsaturated fats, check out this blog.
Some research has found successful management of type 2 diabetes with meal plans including slightly higher levels of protein (20–30%), which may contribute to increased satiety. However, different studies suggest that protein should be a supplement to vegetables, fruits and whole grains in a meal, not the entire meal. Multiple studies have found that a plant-based diet can control blood sugar levels to a greater extent than a traditional diabetes diet which limited calories and carbohydrates. Plant-based protein can be found in soy, brown rice, quinoa, pea, buckwheat, bulgur, nuts, legumes and seeds   .
Diabetes and Weight Loss
Research has shown that weight loss is the primary medical aim for diabetic patients with type 2 form of diabetes.
By reducing weight, especially from the abdominal area, insulin sensitivity will improve along with blood glucose control and thus reduce the risk of complications.
Meal replacements like the Jimmy Joy Plenny Shake can involve replacing one or two meals a day with a meal-replacement beverage. These meal replacers have been shown to lead to greater weight loss compared with a reduced-calorie diet, according to Dr Steven B. Heymsfield .
Read more practical tips in our Complete Guide to Fat Loss.
What Is the Best Meal Replacement Shake for Diabetics?
The combination of complex carbohydrates like the dietary fibre inulin, protein and fatty acids creates an optimally balanced meal replacement. This can be easily incorporated into a healthy and varied diet rich in unprocessed products.
Hooray! All Plenny meals include slow-releasing (complex) carbohydrates that include starches and fibres which can be found in ingredients like oatmeal, flaxseeds, inulin and soy. These complex carbs help to control blood sugar levels thanks to their fibre content.
Moreover, the Plenny Shakes, Plenny Drink, Plenny Bar and Plenny Bar are rich sources of omega 3 fatty acids that help lower cholesterol levels.
Jimmy Joy is a great tool for people living with (pre) diabetes. One bar, a shake or a drink equals one optimally formulated nutritious meal.
One Plenny Shake Active meal (100g) that will keep you full for hours:
- 408 calories (remember, it’s a meal shake)
- 37g protein
- 31g total carbs, of which 4,0g sugar
- 14g fat, of which 2,1g saturated fat
- 7,3g fibre
Note: See your doctor if you're concerned about diabetes or if you notice any type 1 or 2 diabetes signs or symptoms. Ask your doctor about blood sugar screening if you have any risk factors for diabetes.
Reviews Jimmy Joy and Diabetes
 A.T. Kharroubi, H.M Darwish. Diabetes mellitus: The epidemic of the century. Available from:
 Cleveland Clinic. Diabetes Mellitus: An Overview. Available from: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/7104-diabetes-mellitus-an-overview
 Edwards CM, et al. Prediabetes A worldwide epidemic. Endocrinology and Metabolism Clinics of North America. Available from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/prediabetes/symptoms-causes/syc-20355278
 Insulin resistance and prediabetes. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Available from: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/what-is-diabetes/prediabetes-insulin-resistance
 Dr. E. Zacharias. Complex Carbohydrates and Dietary Fiber. Available from: https://www.bouldermedicalcenter.com/complex-carbohydrates-and-dietary-fiber/
 M. Regina Castro, M.D. Diabetes diet: Create your healthy-eating plan. Available from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/in-depth/diabetes-diet/art-20044295
 A. Gray, et al. Nutritional Recommendations for Individuals with Diabetes. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279012/
 S.B. Heymsfield. Meal replacements and energy balance. Available from: https://www.academia.edu/12066521/Meal_replacements_and_energy_balance
 Yokoyama, Y., Barnard, N. D., Levin, S. M., & Watanabe, M. (2014). Vegetarian diets and glycemic control in diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Cardiovascular diagnosis and therapy, 4(5), 373–382. https://doi.org/10.3978/j.issn.2223-3652.2014.10.04  Toumpanakis A, Turnbull T, Alba-Barba IEffectiveness of plant-based diets in promoting well-being in the management of type 2 diabetes: a systematic reviewBMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care 2018;6:e000534. doi: 10.1136/bmjdrc-2018-000534