Diabetes ranks as the sixth leading cause of death in the US with new cases of the disease rising at alarming levels, especially among children and teens. More alarming is the fact that diabetes more than doubles the risk of sudden death from a heart attack.
Weight loss among those suffering from diabetes is very difficult as the body’s delicate glucose and lipid balancing mechanisms are disrupted, causing excess pounds to become resistant to traditional diet plans. Following a simple, natural three step plan can provide weight loss relief and health benefits to diabetics and those concerned with preventing this devastating disease.
1. Control Diabetes With Food
The Hippocrates quote ‘Let food be thy medicine’ holds special meaning when discussing diabetes. Medical advise provided to those newly diagnosed with the disease include a variety of prescription medications and a ‘low-fat’ diet which is laden with carbohydrates, both of which lead to a proliferation of diabetes and life threatening complications. Diabetes drugs work by forcing sugar into the cells whether needed or not, and don’t address the core problem.
Diabetics are particularly sensitive to the effect of carbohydrates on blood sugar and a resulting high level of triglycerides. Excess triglycerides circulating in the blood are directly responsible for fat storage in the body, and too many carbohydrates at any given meal will be converted to this fat storage lipid resulting in weight gain.
To prevent and treat diabetes, it’s critical to limit carbohydrates from all sources with each meal. Totally eliminate refined carbohydrates from desserts, potatoes and breads. Even fruits and vegetables in large quantities can create blood sugar problems, depending on individual metabolism. Be sure to include a fat source with each meal, as this helps to regulate the release of sugar into the blood. Lean protein sources from chicken, turkey and pork as well as nuts and seeds have minimal impact on blood glucose and triglyceride levels.
As you remove junk carbohydrate calories from your diet, it becomes easier to monitor total caloric intake to achieve slow and healthy weight loss. Women should target 1200 calories a day, and men need around 1500 calories for effective weight loss.
2. Monitor After Meal Blood Sugars
The best way to determine your carbohydrate sensitivity is to test your blood sugar at 1 and 2 hour intervals after eating. Strong evidence exits which indicates that it’s the post meal blood sugar readings which determine the risk for diabetic complications. It’s also important for those wishing to avoid this disease, as it provides a real-time reading of overall blood glucose control. Many people are unaware they may be pre-diabetic, or already have the disease.
Blood sugar readings 1 hour after a meal should not exceed 140 mg/dl, and no more than 120 mg/dl after 2 hours. Readings which are higher are indicative of metabolic dysfunction, where the cells are bathed in excess sugar for many hours of the day. This leads to a condition known as Syndrome X, and significantly increases risk of heart disease, heart attack, stroke, and kidney disease. It also raises triglyceride levels, leading to stubborn weight gain as the body works to store excess sugar as fat. Regular blood sugar monitoring to optimal levels will ensure proper metabolic function, improved health and reduced weight.
3. Develop a Resistance Training Exercise Program
Compliment your new diet and blood sugar monitoring plan with regular exercise. The power of physical activity cannot be underestimated, as it helps the muscles to properly utilize blood sugar for energy. When done most days of the week, the body is trained to become metabolically efficient, as sugar and triglycerides are ushered out of the blood quickly after finishing each meal.
Recent studies show that progressive resistance training using weights or power bands in short bursts are the best method of achieving physical health, as it mimics the exercise patterns of our evolutionary ancestors. Be sure to work all major muscle groups at high intensity for 1 to 2 minutes and then rest for the same time. 20 minutes a day is enough for beneficial effects.
Those wishing to prevent or treat diabetes must be disciplined in following this three step plan. Proper diet is the only way to halt the devastating effects excess carbohydrates have on our metabolism, and blood sugar monitoring provides the necessary confirmation that the program is working properly. Resistance exercise assists the body to naturally regulate insulin and blood sugar, the end result being improved health and sustainable weight loss.
About the author:
John Phillip is a Health, Diet and Nutrition Researcher and Author of the popular Optimal Health Resource Blog who regularly reports on the alternative cutting edge use of supplements and lifestyle modifications to enhance and improve the length and quality of life. Health problems can be avoided and overcome with a sensible approach to monitoring key health factors such as weight, blood glucose, blood pressure and body temperature. His mission is to discuss the relevant findings on nutritional factors as they become available, and how you can incorporate this latest information to better your lifestyle. Read John’s latest healthy articles, updated regularly at his Optimal Health Resource Blog.