When you break it all down, we only consume three macronutrients : proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Unfortunately in the American diet, carbohydrates have become king. Along with this increased consumption of carbohydrates has come a dramatic rise in the incidence of diabetes. In fact one in every three American children born in 2000 will likely be diagnosed with diabetes in their lifetime!
The problem with eating too many carbohydrates is that they ultimately break down and are converted to simple sugars – glucose and fructose – which wreak havoc with the body’s internal organs. Glucose gets a bad rap, but in proper amounts, glucose is essential. It’s literally our body’s fuel source and without it we couldn’t function at all.
In diabetes, the body loses the ability to effectively transport and utilize glucose. In Type 1 Diabetes, the pancreas can no longer produce insulin – the hormone that transports glucose into the cells. In Type 2 Diabetes (the most common form) the body can still produce insulin, but not enough, and glucose can build up in your bloodstream, causing a whole host of problems.
The good news is that Type 2 Diabetes is most often preventable. If you’ve already been diagnosed, rest assured that you do have the power to possibly reverse this condition. The sooner you take control, the better your chances of success.
Here are three steps you can take right now that can help:
85% of people diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes are overweight. Getting on a regular exercise program will not only help keep your blood sugar under control, it will also help you shed those pounds. You should try to incorporate a combination of weight bearing exercises with mild aerobic workouts. Check with your physician to make sure you’re healthy enough for exercise and ask them to recommend a program. You’ll feel better and have more energy and you’ll be taking control of your health in a profound way!
We talked about this in our last post. It’s very important that you give your body the appropriate fuel it needs to process the right amount of glucose for the energy your body needs. You need carbohydrates, but try to get them from fresh fruits and vegetables. Avoid processed foods and skip the white stuff (white bread, white rice, pasta). Make sure you get enough protein in your day, especially at breakfast. And, of course, avoid sugar (especially high fructose corn syrup) as much as possible.
Stress causes our adrenal glands to release a hormone called cortisol. While cortisol is important for proper glucose metabolism, too much cortisol over a period of time can potentially lead to insulin resistance. Trying to set aside some time in your day for relaxation and de-stressing can go a long way toward helping manage diabetes, and don’t forget about getting a good night’s sleep!
So be sure talk to your health care provider if you think you may have a blood sugar issue. Your doctor can order blood tests that can determine your blood sugar levels and assess your risk factors.
Remember, with a few simple steps you can greatly improve your health and keep diabetes at bay!
Source: Emerson Ecologics Uevolve (Winter 2013)