Diabetes is an epidemic. There are more people walking around today who either are diabetic or pre-diabetic and may not even know it. The statistics indicate that one in four Americans has either pre-diabetes or the full-blown disease (1)! This shouldn’t be surprising. The standard American diet has evolved into a fast food eating, carbohydrate loading, soda drinking, and fried food loving obsession. People are accountable for what they eat.
However, it has become increasingly difficult to control eating habits due to what is readily available to us. Food manufactures are constantly making false or misleading health claims about their products for appeal to the general population. Consequently, there is far less time invested in advertising foods that are actually good for us. “Advertising of fruits and vegetables is almost non-existent,” says Frances M. Berg in his book “Underage and Overweight”. Most of the food ads children and teens see on television are for foods that nutritionists and government agencies argue should be consumed either in moderation, occasionally, or in small portions (2). These products are minimally nutritious, full of artificial ingredients and trans fats or partially hydrogenated oils.
Diabetes rates for both adults and children are climbing.
The good news is that Type II diabetes is completely preventable and nearly 100 percent reversible. First thing first, get tested. The Hemoglobin A1C test is a common blood test used to diagnose type 1 and type 2 Diabetes. The A1C test reflects your average blood sugar level for the past two to three months. As of now, the clinical ranges that the medical profession uses to diagnose diabetes are between 4.60 – 6.40. These ranges have increased over the years due to the growing population of Americans with diabetes which means you have to be sicker now than you did years ago to become diagnosed. By increasing the ranges and delaying the diagnosis of type II diabetes, are we being set up for failure? Are we waiting too long and letting complications of diabetes such as nerve damage, cataracts, glaucoma, kidney failure, gum disease, and cardiac arrest catch up? What if you were given a warning beforehand so you were able to control your A1C levels? Would you make the necessary lifestyle changes to do so and at what point would you start?
Now is the time.
There are too many people that wait too long and do not understand the importance of how their lifestyle and dietary decisions they are making today will affect their health down the road. By preventing diabetes you will be saving yourself money and time in the future. Experts estimate that the average cost of diabetes care is $5,000 a year (3). The cost jumps when complications require hospitalizations and expensive after-care.3 Even if you already are diagnosed with diabetes, it is never too late to start. In fact, significant improvements can be seen in just days!
1. Don’t count calories, count carbohydrates. Any meal high in carbohydrates will generate a rapid rise in blood glucose. To adjust for this rapid rise, the pancreas secretes the hormone insulin into the bloodstream. Insulin then lowers the levels of blood glucose. The insulin response must be controlled or this roller coaster ride will lead to obesity, insulin resistance, and diabetes. The total storage capacity of the body for carbohydrate is really quite limited. Carbohydrates to limit or avoid include: bread, pasta, crackers, cookies, cakes, potatoes, soda, alcohol, french fries, fruit juice, cereals, and pretzels just to name a few. Remember that fruits are carbohydrates too. Be sure to limit your fruits to no more than one to two per day (depending on the severity of your diabetes). Many diabetics benefit from a low glycemic menu plan. The glycemic index (GI) measures how a carbohydrate containing food raises your blood glucose. The lower the GI, the better.
2. Don’t be afraid of fats. As your insulin is moderated, your body will start using fat for energy which can help you lose weight and control diabetes. Fats to consume include olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, nuts and seeds, and fish. Watch out for condiments and sauces. Many cream based condiments contain hydrogenated oils, soy, and artificial sugars. Use different spices to enhance food’s flavor like turmeric, paprika, lemon, garlic, and pepper.
3. Protein, protein, protein. High-protein foods take more work to digest, metabolize, and use, which means you burn more calories processing them. They also take longer to leave your stomach, so you feel full sooner and for a longer amount of time. In a study published in Nutrition Metabolism, “dieters who increased their protein intake to 30 percent of their diet ate nearly 450 fewer calories a day and lost about 11 pounds over the 12-week study without employing any other dietary measures.” (4) Healthy protein sources include eggs, nuts, nut butters, chicken, fish, even steak (depending on your iron levels). Avoid fatty meats like bacon, sausage, ribs and hotdogs.
4. Eat vegetables with every meal.
5. Exercise. Easier said than done. Take one day at a time and start with 20-30 minutes 3 times a week. Gradually work in weight routine exercises, stretches, and fast pace intervals of running or walking depending on your endurance level. For more information about exercises read our newsletters on Strength Training, Flexibility, and Aerobic Exercise at www.3000health.com.
6. Eat small and frequent meals throughout the day instead of three large meals. This will keep stress off the liver and keep your glucose leveled throughout the day.
7. Get tested. It is hard to know where to start and factors are contributing towards your condition. There may be a link you are missing that is contributing towards your underlying symptoms. Be getting a comprehensive blood test and tissue mineral analysis, your experienced nutritionist can get you started on the correct path towards health. Don’t wait till it’s too late. Even if you think you are healthy, you may be surprised at what your blood test reveals. This comprehensive testing can also determine exactly what supplements to take and what vitamins you may be deficient in. Common vitamins for diabetics include:
• Vitamin C
• Vitamin E
• Chromium Picolinate
• Fish Oil
• Vitamin D
Get tested today to find out exactly what your needs are!
1. NDIC, National Diabetes Statistics 2011 http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/statistics/dm_statistics.pdf.
2. Huff, Ethan A. Big Food’ Manufacturers Being Called Out for False Nutritional Claims. Article, 2004
3. Winston-Salem Journal, N.C. February 17, 2009.
4. Yeager, Selene. Protein: Your secret weight loss weapon. Women’s Health. September 2, 2010