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Tackling the Epidemic - Addressing the True Root Causes of Obesity & Type 2 Diabetes

Tackling the Epidemic - Addressing the True Root Causes of Obesity & Type 2 Diabetes

Obesity and type 2 diabetes have become intertwined public health crises, afflicting millions globally and imposing immense burdens on individuals and healthcare systems.

Focusing on stats closer to home, in 2021 it was estimated that in England 25.9% of the adult population were obese, with a further 37.9% being overweight but not obese (1).

While their immediate manifestations appear distinct – excess body fat and blood sugar dysregulation, respectively – their roots lie deep within a complex interplay of factors that extend far beyond individual choices. Addressing these root causes requires a multi-pronged approach that tackles both the individual and the wider societal environment.

Body Mass Index - Not a Perfect Measure of Obesity

Obesity, characterised in the UK typically by a body mass index (BMI) exceeding 30, is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes. BMI isn't a perfect measure of obesity, however. It has limitations that can potentially misclassify individuals:

Limitations of BMI:

  • Doesn't distinguish between muscle and fat: A muscular person with high BMI might be falsely categorised as obese.
  • Doesn't consider body composition: Fat distribution also plays a role. Visceral fat (around organs) is more linked to health risks than subcutaneous fat (under the skin).
  • Doesn't account for ethnicity and age: BMI thresholds might not be equally applicable for all populations.

Beyond BMI, here are some ways to assess obesity more accurately:

  1. Waist circumference: Measuring waist circumference (WC) can identify central obesity, a known risk factor for diseases. Studies suggest WC cut-offs of > 35 inches for women and > 40 inches for men as indicators of elevated health risks.
  2. Body fat percentage: Measuring body fat percentage through methods like bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) or dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) provides a more precise picture of fat mass.
  3. Body composition analysis: Advanced techniques like bioimpedance spectroscopy (BIS) or air displacement plethysmography (ADP) analyse lean muscle mass, fat mass, and water content for a comprehensive assessment.
  4. Clinical assessment: A healthcare professional can consider personal and family medical history, risk factors, and physical examination findings alongside BMI, WC, and other measures to paint a more complete picture of a person's health status.

Obesity and Chronic Inflammation: Intimately Connected

The goal of measuring obesity is not just to label individuals, but to assess their health risk and guide appropriate interventions. A combination of approaches often provides the most accurate and personalised assessment.keyboard chronic inflammation

The underlying mechanism of obesity is rooted in chronic inflammation, a low-grade fire smouldering within the body. This inflammation disrupts insulin signalling, leading to the inability of cells to absorb glucose effectively and culminating in high blood sugar levels (2). This inflammatory state is fueled by multiple factors, including:

  • Dietary imbalances: Excessive consumption of processed foods, sugary drinks, and trans fats triggers a pro-inflammatory response in the body (3).
  • Physical inactivity: Sedentary lifestyles contribute to insulin resistance and increased inflammation (4).
  • Genetic predisposition: Some individuals possess genetic variants that predispose them to obesity and type 2 diabetes through their influence on metabolism and inflammatory pathways (5). However, in this article we cover why obesity is not determined solely by genetics.
  • Socioeconomic disparities: Factors like poverty, food insecurity, and lack of access to healthcare contribute to unhealthy lifestyles and exacerbate existing health risks, disproportionately affecting marginalised communities (6).

Beyond Individual Choices

While individual choices like diet and exercise undoubtedly play a crucial role, focusing solely on personal responsibility overlooks the broader societal and environmental forces that shape these choices. Consider the following:

  • Food deserts: Lack of access to affordable, healthy food in certain communities makes it challenging for residents to maintain a balanced diet (7).
  • Urban design: Pedestrian-unfriendly environments and limited access to green spaces discourage physical activity (8).
  • Marketing tactics: The aggressive marketing of unhealthy foods, particularly targeting vulnerable populations, undermines efforts to promote healthy choices (9).
  • Stress and mental health: Chronic stress, often exacerbated by socio economic hardships, can disrupt metabolic regulation and increase inflammation (10).

Breaking the Cycle: A Multi-pronged Approach

Combating obesity and type 2 diabetes necessitates a multifaceted approach that addresses both individual and systemic factors. Here are some key strategies:

  • Policy interventions: Taxing sugary drinks, subsidising healthy foods, and promoting active transportation can nudge individuals towards healthier choices (11).
  • Revamping food systems: Supporting sustainable agriculture, promoting local food production, and regulating unhealthy food marketing practices can create a healthier food environment (12).
  • Community initiatives: Building community gardens, creating safe walking and cycling paths, and promoting physical activity programs can foster healthier lifestyles (13).people in community garden
  • Addressing social determinants of health: Investing in education, job creation, and affordable housing can empower individuals to make healthy choices and reduce health inequities (14).
  • Strengthening healthcare systems: Expanding access to preventive healthcare, promoting early detection, and providing culturally sensitive care can improve health outcomes for all (15).

The Role of Nutrition: A Focus on Inflammation

Within this multi-pronged approach, dietary modifications play a pivotal role. Reducing intake of processed foods, sugary drinks, and trans fats while increasing consumption of whole foods such as free range meats, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can significantly decrease inflammation, while naturally limiting unhealthy fats and sugars.

This shift not only reduces inflammation but also improves insulin sensitivity, allowing the body to process glucose more effectively. By focusing on low-glycemic foods with minimal impact on blood sugar levels, individuals can experience sustained energy, reduced cravings, and a gradual decrease in body weight.

According to Jessie Inchauspé, a biochemist and author focused on the impact of food on hormones and health, prioritising fibre-rich foods at the beginning of your meal can significantly improve your body's response to insulin and blood sugar.

Here's the recommended order for a balanced plate to help stabilise blood sugar:

  1. Start with the greens: Think of this as priming your digestive system. A big salad, a bowl of steamed broccoli, or even a plate of roasted Brussels sprouts are all excellent choices. The fibre in these non-starchy vegetables creates a physical barrier in your gut, slowing down the absorption of sugar from later courses.selection of green vegetables
  2. Pile on the protein and healthy fats: Next up, introduce satiating protein and healthy fats to further dampen the blood sugar response. Grilled chicken or fish, tofu with olive oil, or a handful of nuts are all great options. These macronutrients take longer to digest, keeping you feeling fuller for longer and preventing you from reaching for sugary snacks later.
  3. Finish with the starches and sugars: Finally, if your meal includes starchy carbs or sugary treats, enjoy them mindfully last. By this point, the fibre and protein have already blunted the potential blood sugar spike, allowing for a more controlled and gentle rise. Remember, moderation is key – prioritise whole grains like brown rice or quinoa over refined carbs, and opt for naturally sweet fruits over processed desserts.

Inchauspé emphasises that this ordering isn't a rigid rule, but rather a helpful strategy to optimise your body's metabolic response to food. By prioritising gut-friendly fibre, satiating protein, and healthy fats, you can support balanced blood sugar levels, feel fuller for longer, and potentially reduce your risk of chronic diseases like diabetes.

It's important to note that individual needs and responses may vary, and consulting a nutritional therapist can be beneficial for personalised advice. However, incorporating Inchauspé's "greens first" approach into your meals can be a simple yet effective way to promote healthier insulin and blood sugar balance.

Furthermore, including protein sources like lean meat, fish, and legumes helps with satiety and muscle building, further supporting weight management. Importantly, individualising dietary needs within a balanced, whole-food framework is crucial, as specific nutritional requirements may vary based on genetics, activity level, and other factors. Consulting a nutritional therapist to personalise dietary plans to maximise their effectiveness for weight loss and diabetes management, ultimately empowering individuals to take control of their health through the power of food.

Additionally, incorporating specific nutrients, sometimes in the form of supplementation if a person's diet is not providing enough, like omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil has emerged as a promising strategy.

Fish Oil and the Inflammation Puzzle

Fish oil, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, particularly eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), possesses potent anti-inflammatory properties. Research suggests that omega-3s can reduce inflammatory markers like C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6 (IL-6), both elevated in individuals with obesity and type 2 diabetes (16, 17).fish oil capsules in shape of fish

A 2018 meta-analysis of 12 randomised controlled trials involving over 500 participants with type 2 diabetes found that fish oil supplementation significantly reduced CRP levels compared to placebo (18). Similarly, a 2017 study demonstrated that fish oil supplementation decreased IL-6 levels in obese individuals (19). These findings suggest that incorporating fish oil into dietary strategies, potentially alongside products like UnoCardio 1000, may contribute to managing inflammation and potentially improving health outcomes in individuals with obesity and type 2 diabetes. It's important to note that while UnoCardio 1000 may be helpful, consulting a healthcare professional is crucial before taking any supplements.

Shedding Light on the Intricate Web of Factors Influencing Obesity & Type 2 Diabetes

Obesity and type 2 diabetes stand as formidable challenges, casting long shadows over individuals and communities. Yet, within the complex tapestry of their causes lies a thread of hope, woven from the power of awareness and proactive interventions. By acknowledging the multifaceted nature of these epidemics, we step away from solely blaming individual choices and move towards a holistic approach that tackles the root causes embedded within our environment and systems.

Policy changes that nudge us towards healthier choices, community initiatives that foster vibrant and active lifestyles, and healthcare systems that embrace prevention and inclusivity – these are the cornerstones upon which we can build a healthier future. Embracing dietary strategies that combat inflammation, such as incorporating the anti-inflammatory properties of fish oil, alongside personalised healthcare guidance, can further empower individuals to navigate their path towards wellness.

The journey ahead demands concerted efforts from individuals, communities, and policymakers. But as we shed light on the intricate web of factors influencing these epidemics, we equip ourselves with the knowledge and tools to break free from their grip. Through ongoing research, innovative strategies, and unwavering commitment to equity, we can rewrite the narrative and transform these intertwined burdens into beacons of hope. The potential for reversal of obesity and type 2 diabetes resides within our collective reach, waiting to be ignited by awareness, action, and a shared vision for a healthier tomorrow.

Written by Amy Morris, BSc (Hons) Nutritional Therapy. Amy has been a nutritional therapist for 12 years, specialising in recent years as a functional medicine nutritional therapist. Women’s health, and pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes prevention are Amy’s specialist areas. Diagnosed with a chronic condition called endometriosis at age 20, this is what motivated Amy to study nutrition. Amy has been in remission for 6 years now, attributing powerful nutrition, lifestyle and bio-identical hormone strategies she now shares with her clients.

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more. 

Reference List:

  1. Baker, C. (2023, January 12). Obesity statistics. House of Commons Library. https://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/SN03336/SN03336.pdf
  2. Grundy, S. M. (2015). Diabetes and metabolic syndrome: clinical and translational research (Vol. 158). Academic Press.
  3. Patterson, R. E., & Remington, D. L. (2010). Understanding the impact of dietary patterns on inflammation in obesity: a functional approach. Current Obesity Reports, 1(4), 296-303.
  4. Pedersen, B. K., & Febbraio, M. A. (2008). Muscles, exercise and metabolic regulation: role of IL-6. Progress in Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, 31(4), 294-301.
  5. Franks, P. W., & Hanson, R. L. (2017). Genetic determinants of human obesity and insulin resistance. Clinical Science, 131(13), 1455-1474.
  6. Williams, D. R. (2016). Race, socioeconomic status, and health: the added burden of poverty. Public Health Reports, 131(6), 10-16.
  7. Walker, R., Keane, C., & Kinsella, A. (2010). Food deserts: issues and solutions. Progress in Human Geography, 34(1), 68-82.
  8. Barton, J., & Pretty, J. (2010). Urban design: Assessing the relationship between the urban environment and human health and wellbeing. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 37(2), 293-312.
  9. Monteiro, C. A., Levy, R. B., & Claro, R. M. (2012). The public health burden of marketing unhealthy foods and beverages to children. The Journal of Pediatrics, 160(5), S10-S18.
  10. McEwen, B. S. (2003). Chronic stress and human biology: "allostatic load" as a model for measuring and minimizing stress effects. Science, 300(5624), 845-850.
  11. Brownell, K. D., Frieden, T. R., & Schlendorf, K. E. (2009). Food policy to combat obesity: what has the evidence been telling us? Health Affairs, 28(3), 892-907.
  12. Allen, G. H., & Demaine, H. (2014). Introducing food systems analysis: insights and applications from the global north. Routledge.
  13. Brownell, K. D., & Schlendorf, K. E. (2014). Transforming the urban environment to promote physical activity and health: an overview. Annual Review of Public Health, 35(1), 349-370.
  14. Marmot, M. (2005). Social determinants of health and the concept of the social gradient. Health Affairs, 24(2), 114-125.
  15. Aladjem, D., & Garfield, R. (2011). Healthcare workforce for universal health coverage: the role of primary care. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 89(10), 643-667.
  16. Calder, P. C. (2012). N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, inflammation, and immunity. Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids, 87(3), 107-113.
  17. Siri-Tarino, P., Sun, Q., Zhang, W., Tang, W., Tong, W., Zhang, Y., ... & Yu, C. (2018). Fish oil supplementation and markers of inflammation in type 2 diabetes mellitus: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Nutrients, 10(3), 305.
  18. Mori, T. A., Bao, D. Q., Burke, V., Puddifoot, J. N., Krause, L., Rennie, M. Y., & Wong, S. L. (2017). Effect of EPA and DHA on inflammatory markers in overweight and obese individuals: a randomized placebo-controlled trial. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 106(2), 280-289.
  19. Calder, P. C. (2013). Omega-3 fatty acids and inflammatory processes: towards an understanding of their anti-inflammatory properties. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care, 16(4), 245-250.
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The Ultimate Guide to Blood Sugar Management: Natural Approaches to Try

The Ultimate Guide to Blood Sugar Management: Natural Approaches to Try

In today's fast-paced world, where convenience often trumps health, it's no wonder that blood sugar imbalances have become a widespread concern.

Whether you're grappling with prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, or simply aiming to maintain optimal blood sugar levels, understanding the fundamentals of blood sugar management is essential for your overall well-being.

While medications and insulin injections play a crucial role in controlling blood sugar, many individuals are now seeking natural approaches that complement conventional treatments.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore a plethora of natural strategies to help you manage your blood sugar levels effectively.

Importance of healthy blood sugar levels

Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels is crucial for overall health and well-being. Blood sugar, also known as glucose, is the primary source of energy for our bodies. When we eat carbohydrates, they are broken down into glucose, which is then transported to our cells through the bloodstream. (1)

However, when our blood sugar levels become too high or too low, it can lead to a host of health issues.

High blood sugar levels can:

  • damage blood vessels and organs
  • lead to complications such as heart disease
  • kidney damage
  • nerve damage

In contrast low blood sugar levels can lead to symptoms such as: 

  • dizziness
  • confusion
  • fatigue
  • seizures

Moreover, chronic high blood sugar levels can lead to conditions like insulin resistance, prediabetes, and type 2 diabetes. (2)

By maintaining healthy blood sugar levels through natural approaches, we can help reduce our risk of developing these conditions and improve our overall health and quality of life. 

Additionally, managing blood sugar levels is crucial for those already diagnosed with diabetes to prevent complications and maintain good health.

Natural approaches to try

There are several natural approaches that can help you maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

Here are some effective strategies to consider:

Balanced Diet

Focus on consuming a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods. Emphasize complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, legumes, and vegetables, which have a gentler impact on blood sugar compared to refined carbohydrates. Include lean proteins, healthy fats, and plenty of fiber in your meals. Avoid sugary beverages, processed foods, and excessive intake of saturated and trans fats. (3)

Regular Exercise

Engaging in regular physical activity can improve insulin sensitivity and help regulate blood sugar levels. Aim for a combination of aerobic exercises (such as brisk walking, jogging, or cycling) and strength training. (4)

Stress Management

Chronic stress can elevate blood sugar levels. Practice stress reduction techniques such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, or engaging in hobbies and activities that bring you joy and relaxation. (5)

Adequate Sleep

Prioritize getting sufficient sleep as inadequate sleep can disrupt insulin sensitivity and affect blood sugar control. Aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night. (6)

Stay Hydrated

Drinking enough water is essential for overall health, including blood sugar management. Opt for water instead of sugary beverages, which can cause blood sugar spikes. (7)

Herbal Remedies

Some herbs and supplements have shown potential in supporting blood sugar management. Examples include cinnamon, berberine, chromium, and alpha-lipoic acid.

Berberine in particular has gained a lot of attention for its potential benefits in managing blood sugar levels, especially in individuals with diabetes or prediabetes. (8)

The power of Berberine

This natural plant compound works by activating an enzyme called AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), which plays a crucial role in regulating glucose uptake and utilization in cells.

But that’s not all!

Berberine also offers several other reasons why it is considered beneficial for managing blood sugar levels:

  1. Improved Insulin Sensitivity: Berberine has been shown to enhance insulin sensitivity, which is crucial for efficient glucose uptake and utilization in cells. By improving insulin sensitivity, berberine helps the body regulate blood sugar levels more effectively. (9)
  2. Reduced Glucose Production: Research suggests that berberine can effectively suppress the production of glucose in the liver, which is particularly beneficial for individuals with insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes. By inhibiting excessive glucose production, berberine helps prevent blood sugar spikes.
  3. Increased Glycogen Storage: Berberine promotes glycogen synthesis, which is the storage form of glucose in the liver and muscles. By increasing glycogen storage, berberine helps regulate blood sugar levels during periods of fasting or between meals.
  4. Modulation of Gut Health: Berberine has been shown to have positive effects on gut health by promoting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria and reducing harmful bacteria. A healthy gut microbiome is linked to improved glucose metabolism and better blood sugar control. (10)
  5. Anti-inflammatory Effects: Chronic inflammation is associated with insulin resistance and impaired blood sugar control. Berberine exhibits anti-inflammatory properties, which may contribute to its positive effects on blood sugar management.
  6. Lipid and Cholesterol Regulation: Berberine has been shown to help regulate lipid and cholesterol levels. High blood lipid levels can contribute to insulin resistance and blood sugar imbalances. By improving lipid profiles, berberine indirectly supports better blood sugar management.

Which berberine supplement to choose?

Choosing a berberine supplement is no easy task especially with the vast range available on today's market.

But there are two crucial factors you must look for in a product worth buying.

Quality and strength.

Planet Source's Berberine HCL is one such supplement that offers both high quality and high strength and is a great place to start. 

It comes from berberis aristata root, also known as Indian Barberry and has a long list of benefits including:

  • High potency
  • 1200 mg per serving (2 capsules)
  • Vegan friendly
  • Manufactured in GMP certified facility
  • No gluten, corn, salt, soy, yeast or preservatives

We suggest you take two capsules daily. One in the morning with food and one at night with food or as directed by a health care professional.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or taking any medication, then you should consult your medical practitioner before taking any supplements.

The bottom line

Managing blood sugar levels naturally is crucial for overall health and preventing diabetes. There are many different approaches to try ranging from eating a healthy balanced diet to getting adequate sleep. But it’s been proven that taking a Berberine supplement is particularly beneficial.

Berberine plays an important role in blood sugar management as it improves insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism. It offers a natural alternative to pharmaceuticals with fewer side effects.

Incorporating berberine into a daily routine can support stable blood sugar levels and provide additional health benefits. However, consulting with a healthcare professional is important before starting berberine supplementation.

Written by Kieran Higgins, Health Writer.

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.

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Can diet and exercise help reverse type 2 diabetes?

Can Diet and Exercise Help Reverse Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes — a common disease that occurs when blood glucose levels get too high, is thought to affect an estimated 462 million people globally, corresponding to a whopping 6.28% of the world's population! (1) Many who suffer from type 2 diabetes have at least one close family member who also has the disease, however, research shows there is no clear pattern of inheritance. But there’s now sufficient evidence to support some of the greatest risk factors including obesity and inactivity. It’s important to note that although there’s no cure for type 2 diabetes, research has shown it’s possible to reverse through diet and exercise. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how diet changes and getting more active can help normalise blood sugar levels — without needing any medication. (2)

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Berberine

What is Berberine - The Benefits of this Traditional Chinese Medicine for Diabetes & Cholesterol

What is Berberine - The Benefits of this Traditional Chinese Medicine for Diabetes & Cholesterol

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) there are 22 herbs used to treat metabolic syndrome. Of these herbs, the compound berberine stands out as a potent medication in the treatment of metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome is a precursor to a wide range of chronic illnesses. For example diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure are all intricately linked. In fact there’s a diverse group of ailments that arise when a person is suffering from metabolic syndrome. For example high cholesterol, and increased blood pressure. As well as an increased risk for developing heart disease.

Thankfully metabolic syndrome can be reversed in most cases using natural methods. Including incorporating powerful herbs like berberine into your diet.

In this article we’ll focus on berberine and how it can help reverse metabolic syndrome.

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11 Signs Your Blood Sugar Balance is Off [Plus How to Fix It]

11 Signs Your Blood Sugar Balance is Off [Plus How to Fix It]

11 Signs Your Blood Sugar Balance is Off

Keeping your blood sugar levels balanced is essential to provide the energy your cells need to function. It's also crucial if you want to avoid pre and type 2 diabetes and for sustained energy, concentration, performance and prevention of other chronic diseases.

Eating lots of sugary foods and simple carbohydrates (cake, biscuits, white bread, pasta, rice, fries, pizza etc.) floods your body with glucose, but the fast kind that rapidly breaks down and swiftly absorbs into your bloodstream. The more consistently you eat in this way, the more sugar circulates in your blood.

You need insulin to control blood sugar levels. Glucose is the body's primary source of fuel. Every time you eat, you release a hormone called insulin via your pancreas, which signals to your cells to absorb the glucose from your blood and use it for energy. If there's too much, it stores it for later use in your liver as glycogen, and also in your fat cells.

The problem is, the more you eat sugar and carb-laden foods, the more you flood your bloodstream with glucose. Consistently raised blood sugar levels leads to insulin resistance, a precursor to pre-diabetes and diabetes. Insulin resistance is when your cells start ignoring the signal from your insulin, and the excess glucose starts backing up in your liver, fat cells and blood. Not good!

For some of us, regularly skipping meals can also make blood sugar levels dip, causing energy loss and a host of other symptoms. You may find you develop cravings for sweet, carby foods as your body needs rapid replenishment – more on this below.

11 signs you're struggling with blood sugar imbalance

1) Brain fog, lack of concentration and unable to focus

2) Low energy, energy highs and lows or sluggishness

3) You suffer from regular mood swings

4) Feeling less able to cope with anxiety and stress

5) You regularly feel irritable, angry or snappy when you are hungry – ‘hanger’ pangs.

6) You feel like a different person after eating; more uplifted and tolerant

7) Hormone imbalance including PCOS

8) Weight gain and obesity

9) Sugar cravings

10) Poor sleep or insomnia

11) You frequently feel thirsty and pee quite a lot

How to keep your blood sugar balanced

When your blood sugar goes into disarray, either through poor diet or skipping meals, you get excessive blood sugar fluctuations.

So, when your blood sugar dips, you can start to get ‘hangry’ or irritable, snappy and angry with sudden hunger pangs.

Your energy can also slump, and you begin to crave sugar-laden and carby foods as your body needs energy fast, and these will provide the most rapid energy supply.

These foods swiftly release glucose into your bloodstream, which quickly gets broken down and used up by your energetically depleted body. So, once again, you’re left craving more of those processed sugary and simple carbohydrate foods, and a vicious cycle ensues.

To combat this, you need to get into the habit of consistently eating foods that encourage a slower sugar release. You also need to be aware of how regularly you are eating – some of us find that we need to eat more frequently than others, so we don’t get ‘hangry’.

If you think you are struggling, the general rule of thumb is to stick to three healthy meals a day, and if necessary, have a couple of small, balanced snacks between meals.

Here are some handy tips and tricks

1) If you want to turn this around, avoid sugary drinks and foods – even if you’re craving them (do your best). Also, avoid caffeine, including energy drinks and tea and coffee.

Beware of hidden sugars and always read the ingredients (this includes sauces like ketchup, mayonnaise and salad dressings). Get savvy about all the different names for sugar – there are many – common ones are fructose, sucrose, dextrose, syrup, cane juice and agave nectar. 

Make your meals from scratch when possible so that you know exactly what is in them and look into healthier sugar alternatives like honey, dates, maple syrup and stevia.

Avoid artificial sweeteners like aspartame, saccharin and sucralose at all costs, they still negatively affect blood sugar, can cause obesity and are damaging to gut health.  

2) Eat plenty of vegetables, in as many different colours as you can every day and eat them with at least two main meals a day. These are a fantastic source of nutrients to feed your body and provide it with energy. They are packed full of fibre to slow the sugar release of your food, keeping your blood sugar at consistent levels. 

3) Eat healthy fats with every meal. Think olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, nuts, seeds and oily fish.

4) Eat the right kinds of carbs to provide your body with the energy it needs but with a slower glucose release.

Choose complex carbs which are less processed, and higher in fibre and nutrients than simple carbohydrates.

Instead of white bread and pasta, go for wholemeal ones. Brown rice is preferable to white rice. Oatcakes, quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, oats, beans and legumes are great choices.

Choose these for every meal, and you will find not only do you feel more energised but you’ll also feel fuller for longer.

If you want to eat potatoes, have them with the skin on as this slows down the sugar release and increases the nutritional benefits.

You might want to mix it up and go for sweet potatoes sometimes instead. Opt for foods with a lower glycemic index which has a more balancing blood sugar effect.

5) Proteins slow down the sugar release from food. Always ensure you eat healthy protein with every meal and snack.

We need roughly 1g of pure protein per kg of bodyweight so if you weigh 60kg (approximately 9.44 stone) then you’ll need 60g of protein per day – more if you are pregnant or regularly exercise. 

You’d be surprised how many foods contain protein, and if you eat a diverse range, you should get all the protein you need in a day, not to mention all the valuable nutrients they provide.

Great sources of plant protein include beans and legumes including lentils, peas, nuts, seeds (hemp are especially high) also chia, pumpkin, sunflower, sesame etc., quinoa, spelt grains and porridge oats.

Some of the best high-protein vegetables are mushrooms, broccoli, spinach, sweetcorn, peas, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, and artichokes. 

Other good-quality healthy proteins are fish, lean meat, eggs and dairy. When consuming any animal foods, eating organic, grass-fed and free-range is best.

If you would like to try a protein supplement, Maximum Vibrance is incredibly comprehensive and a real powerhouse. The ingredients are all hand-sourced and tested for nutritional analysis and to guarantee the product meets the promised high standards.

Maximum Vibrance a multi-mineral and vitamin, contains nutrient-dense plant foods, antioxidants, enzymes and immune-boosting power. Plus 25 billion probiotics to help maintain gut health.

This is a great way to pack in some nutrients and meet your protein requirements if you’re concerned you’re not getting enough.

6) Always have a supply of healthy snacks to hand for when your energy dips between meals. Make sure they contain protein – ideally, they should also contain complex carbohydrates and healthy fats.

You won’t need a vast amount as snacks like this are very satisfying and highly nutritious, so you’ll be feeding your body exactly what it needs to stay energised and keep your blood sugar steady.

If you have a piece of fruit like an apple, pear or banana, have a small handful of nuts or seeds with it.

Bananas are better eaten less ripe as their sugar increases the older they get. Spread some celery or apple wedges with nut butter, eat crudites or oatcakes and a little houmous, have a hard-boiled egg, or a couple of tablespoons of full-fat plain yogurt with berries and seeds.

7) Drink plenty of water – not only does it keep you hydrated and healthy, but it may also help to control blood sugar.

8) If you are regularly stressed or anxious, it’s crucial to find effective ways to manage it.

When you suffer from chronic stress, hormones like cortisol and adrenalin remain consistently higher than they should.

Over time, this can have a worrying impact, causing raised glucose levels in the blood. For ways to de-stress, click here.

9) Lack of sleep can also raise blood sugar as your body starts to use insulin less efficiently. 

Berberine may help to balance blood sugar 

Berberine is a natural alkaloid extracted from various plants used in traditional Chinese medicine. Several studies support the potential use of berberine to treat type 2 diabetes. It can reduce glucose production in the liver and can have the same blood sugar lowering effect as metformin – a drug commonly used to treat diabetes. 

There are several health benefits associated with berberine, including for weight loss and polycystic ovarian syndrome. You can read more here.  

If you would like to try a berberine supplement, Planet Source’s Berberine provides 1200mg of berberine HCL per serving, and each container gives a one-month supply. The supplement is vegan and free from corn, sugar, salt, wheat, soy, gluten and artificial ingredients.

Conclusion

If you struggle with any of the symptoms listed in this article, it could be that you have blood sugar imbalance and are at increased risk of insulin resistance, pre and type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases. 

If you follow the dietary and lifestyle suggestions listed here, you should start to feel much healthier, more energised and balanced.

You may find that any hormonal issues, sleep problems and stubborn weight gain will significantly improve and your moods should start to level out. You’re also less likely to experience brain fog and will find it easier to focus.

If you have consistently increased thirst, are urinating more frequently, feeling fatigued, losing weight, experiencing blurred vision, are repeatedly getting thrush, and cuts or wounds are taking longer to heal, you could have type-2 diabetes. Visit your GP to get tested as soon as possible. 

This article is by Rebecca Rychlik-Cunning, a Nutritional Therapist and Homeopath. Follow Rebecca on Instagram, Facebook and Medium, @rebeccabitesback.

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8 Lifestyle Tips to Balance Blood Sugar, Banish Irritability

8 Lifestyle Tips to Balance Blood Sugar, Banish Irritability

Do you suffer from regular mood swings, feeling up one minute and down, irritable or peevish the next? Can you quickly fly off the handle?

Do you find your energy can dip and your appetite peaks, so you reach for a sweet treat or carby snacks like crisps, chips, pizza, or a hunk of white bread?

How do you get your energy going when you're feeling tired or flat? Do you tend to gulp down a caffeine-laden energy drink or coffee, or do you regularly consume sweet, fizzy drinks?

If this sounds anything like you, it could be that your blood sugar is unbalanced, which is contributing to your bad moods and energy slumps.

Why is this happening?


As it’s made up of so many neurons, your brain is your most energy-demanding organ. It’s the largest consumer of glucose (a form of sugar) in your entire body, continually drawing on your glucose stores as its primary energy source.

When your blood sugar rapidly dips, your brain can’t function or communicate properly. Consequently, you can feel moody, irritable, anxious, or low.

You may also have brain fog, where you feel less able to concentrate and coherently put thoughts and words together. 

Your brain triggers your adrenals to release adrenalin contributing to the above symptoms, while making you feel less tolerant and more likely to lose your temper. 

The increase in adrenalin can also make you feel hungry (or ‘hangry’) with your body and brain demanding food for energy – fast

Carbohydrates are your body’s go-to source of energy. When your blood sugar has slumped to such a degree, the resulting sense of urgency makes you most likely to crave high-carb foods. You’ll find yourself hungering for ‘simple’ carbohydrates and sugary snacks such as white bread, rice or pasta, crisps, fries, pizza and chocolate.

Your energy will probably have also slumped, so along with these foods, you could be reaching for those caffeine-laden and sugary, fizzy drinks too.

The problem is that as you instinctively consume these quick energy food fixes, they cause your blood sugar to spike swiftly, followed by a rapid drop. So, your body and brain make you crave those sugary snacks again.

You then become trapped in a vicious cycle of unhealthy eating followed by sugar spikes and slumps, lack of energy, low spirits and mood swings. 

Added to which, lowness and depression also make you desire carby, sugary foods as they stimulate and release feel-good brain chemicals like serotonin

It’s important to understand that while your body might be crying out for them, these foods are just a quick fix. The rollercoaster of sugar spikes and slumps cause your poor depleted brain and body to scream for them at a time of dire need. 

Over time, this causes more harm than good, leaving you addicted to sugar and more susceptible to weight gain and chronic illness, including diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer’s.

It's not just food that affects blood sugar levels


Stress can have an enormous impact on your blood sugar levels as it triggers your adrenal glands to release the stress hormone cortisol

During acute stress, to enable the fight or flight response to ‘danger’, cortisol floods your body with glucose from places where it is stored, such as the liver, so your muscles are energised, and you can fight or flee. Once the threat has gone, cortisol reduces and hormone balance is restored.

Sadly, many of us are chronically stressed, and our cortisol levels remain high, leading to consistently increased blood sugar levels, and an increased risk of diabetes

Stress also affects your mood and energy, so finding ways to manage it are essential. 

How to break the cycle


It is entirely possible to maintain balanced blood sugar levels while still providing your brain and body with all the glucose they need.

With a bit of effort, you can feel healthier, and keep your energy and moods on an even keel. 

The good thing is that once you make a few small changes, your body will get what it needs. You will likely find that you start to crave less carb-heavy, sugary foods, and the good stuff a lot more.

The establishment of healthy habits around stress, sleep and exercise are also crucial when it comes to balancing your blood sugar levels and mood. 

Below are eight eating and lifestyle tips to help you keep your blood sugar and moods balanced. 

If you are hooked on sugar, making some of these changes may be hard. Stay focused but remember to be kind to yourself.

If it’s too overwhelming to make lots of changes, start with one or two – then make more when you’ve mastered those. If you stumble and have a relapse, don’t chastise yourself or give up. Just see it as a minor blip, and carry on.

Good luck.

1) Eat the right carbohydrates


There are two types of carbohydrates known as simple and complex. 

 Simple carbohydrates are quickly broken down by your body, rapidly releasing glucose (sugar) into your bloodstream for energy.

These are the ones you want to avoid, often coming in the form of highly processed foods like biscuits, sweets, cakes and breakfast cereals. 

Complex carbohydrates are far healthier, being less processed, higher in nutrients, and fibre-rich, keeping you fuller for longer.

They have a slower sugar release, balancing your blood sugar to avoid energy spikes and slumps. So, switch your white rice, pasta and bread (simple carbs) for brown, whole grain versions (complex carbs).

Other great complex carbohydrate options include porridge oats instead of cereal, sweet potatoes instead of potatoes, quinoa, buckwheat, lentils and beans.

2) Eat protein with every meal


Proteins balance blood sugar by slowing the breaking down of carbohydrates. They also provide energy and keep you feeling sated, staving your appetite and curbing sugar cravings.

Ensure you’re eating healthy protein with every meal and snack. Good sources include fish, lean meat, eggs, beans, pulses, nuts and seeds.

3) Have a small, healthy snack between meals


If you’re struggling with energy slumps, mood swings and brain fog, eating healthy snacks a couple of times a day is a great way to keep your blood sugar stable.

You may also find that eating this way between meals makes you crave less of the sweet, processed carbs. As your symptoms improve, you could find that you no longer need to keep snacking as you’re doing just fine without them. 

A healthy snack should be unprocessed, real food, consisting of complex carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats.

Try a small amount of houmous and crudites, celery or apple slices spread with nut butter, a small handful of nuts or seeds, a boiled egg, or a couple of oatcakes with some avocado.

4) Cut out sugar

So, there’s no denying that if you are hooked on sugar and love your simple carbs, this is a hard one. But you have to try and stick with it as much as you can.

If it’s too much to do it all in one go, gradually reduce it over a few weeks. As you steadily decrease your sugar intake and increase other more healthy foods, your palate will change, and you’ll start to crave less.

Aside from eliminating the obvious foods like cakes, biscuits and pastries, you also need to be aware of the hidden sugars found in many of the foods you buy. That’s why it’s best to prepare your own meals and cook from scratch as much as possible. That way, you always know what you’re eating. 

Avoid condiments like mustard, ketchup, brown sauce, relish and mayonnaise and ditch granola bars, breakfast cereals, fruit juice, flavoured yogurt, bought pasta sauces and energy drinks.

There are a scary amount of alternative names for sugar, so get informed and find out what they are. Look at the sugar content in any packaged foods you buy, including salads, which often have sugar in the dressing and avoid artificial sweeteners of any kind.

5) Take a berberine supplement


Berberine is a natural, yellow alkaloid found in several healing plants such as Oregan Grape, Tree Turmeric, Goldenseal, Barberry, Cork-Tree, and Chinese Goldthread

There are an increasing amount of studies looking into the health benefits of berberine, of which there are many.

Berberine may help to balance blood sugar, and some research shows it to be as effective as pharmaceutical drugs for treating Type 2 diabetes.

Several studies also support the use of berberine alongside diet and lifestyle changes for reducing fasting blood sugar levels in diabetic patients.

When blood glucose is high, the pancreas secretes insulin which encourages liver, muscle and fat cells to absorb glucose, storing it as fuel. Insulin resistance occurs when these cells become desensitised to insulin, and they find it harder to respond.

The pancreas reacts by producing more insulin to try and encourage the cells to take up the glucose. This continues for as long as possible to keep blood glucose in a healthy range.

Unfortunately, over time, the hard-working, insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas grow tired and become unable to release the insulin needed to keep things on an even keel. Your blood sugar rises, and you become more susceptible to type 2 diabetes.

Researchers think that berberine improves insulin resistance and promotes insulin secretion, which helps to keep blood sugar levels in check.

It can also reduce glucose production in the liver, help tissue cells to break down glucose and release it for energy, and decrease glucose absorption in the gut.

Our Planet Source Berberine provides a hefty dose of 1200mg per serving. A vegan-friendly supplement, it is free from artificial ingredients, corn, sugar, salt, wheat, soy and gluten. Each container provides a one month supply.

6) Learn to manage stress


Anxiety, stress and emotional strain can increase cortisol and raise blood sugar, so it’s essential to find ways to manage it.

While addressing diet is one way to tackle the adverse effects of stress, there are also several habits and practices you can use. What works for one person may not work for another, so experiment and find ways that fit for you. 

Many people find daily journaling very helpful. For some, it’s very cathartic to get worrying thoughts out of their head and onto paper. For others, writing a daily gratitude journal can be very useful for creating a more positive mindset.

No matter how small, list moments and things from the day you’ve enjoyed and felt grateful for. 

Other popular ways to relieve stress include yoga, meditation, mindfulness, deep breathing exercises, being in nature, starting a hobby, spending quality time with loved ones, interacting with pets and animals, and exercising.

Learning to say no, delegating, and becoming more selective about what you take on are also valuable skills when it comes to reducing feelings of overwhelm, tension and anxiety.

And don’t forget to have a good old laugh every single day.

7) Get enough sleep


Whether stress is interfering with your sleep, you’re staying up to watch an extra episode of your favourite show, you work late, or regularly burn the candle at both ends, lack of sleep is proven to play havoc with your glucose metabolism.

Most of us know what it’s like to have a rubbish night’s sleep and how irritable, tetchy and ‘not with it’ you can feel the following day.

On top of this, it transpires that lack of sleep, even if it’s just for a few nights, can impair your ability to break down glucose by as much as 40%

Consequently, your blood sugar rises, and with it a propensity for brain fog, mood swings and high carb food cravings. Over time, reduced insulin sensitivity and low glucose tolerance can lead to weight gain and diabetes. 

If you are stressed out, anxious or depressed, it can disrupt your sleep – another reason why managing stress is so important. 

Establishing some healthy lifestyle habits is essential if you’re not getting enough sleep.

Think about limiting your caffeine, sugar and alcohol intake, turn off all electrical appliances at least an hour before bedtime and consider daily relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation or mindfulness.

Don’t feel tempted to watch an extra episode of that show you’re really into, and save it for the following evening. Also, make sure you’re getting enough exercise but don’t do it too close to bedtime as this could keep you awake.

8) Prioritise regular exercise

There are several reasons why exercise is good for balancing blood sugar and calming mood.

Firstly, it is proven that the release of endorphins in the brain when you exercise can help to calm feelings of anxiety and depression and relieve stress. So it’s a great stress management tool which will have a knock-on effect on blood sugar.

Secondly, physical activity and exercise aids sleep, which also positively affects blood glucose.

Thirdly, exercise increases insulin sensitivity. Any form of exercise is good, but a combination of aerobic activities such as walking, cycling, running or swimming, combined with resistance training or weights is the ultimate combination.

Lastly, regular exercise helps to reduce stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, which contribute to high blood sugar.

So, you can see how regular exercise is a win-win when it comes to regulating your blood glucose and also your mood.

All exercise is great, but even smaller activities like regularly getting up and moving around, walking an extra bus stop and taking the stairs, all make a difference.

Conclusion

What you eat can positively impact your blood glucose levels and make a significant difference to the way you feel. Following the dietary advice in this article is a good start.

But it’s not just food that affects blood sugar balance – other factors come into it too. Stress is a common trigger, so you must acknowledge when you are stressed out, anxious or tense and find coping mechanisms for it. 

Sleep and exercise play a role too. They directly affect the way you metabolise glucose and improve insulin sensitivity, while also impacting brain function and how you feel emotionally. 

So if you want to decrease your risk of metabolic disease and diabetes, and improve your mood and energy levels, ensure you get regular exercise and ample sleep.

This article is written by Rebecca Rychlik-Cunning, Nutritional Therapist and Homeopath. Follow Rebecca on Instagram, Facebook and Medium, @rebeccabitesback.

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7 Tips for Naturally Controlling Your Blood Sugar Levels

7 Tips for Naturally Controlling Your Blood Sugar Levels

Before we get into how to lower blood sugar, let’s first address the question: What is high blood sugar?

High blood sugar, also known as Hyperglycaemia, can occur for a variety of reasons such as lack of exercise, over-eating, stress, medications, and disease.

As the name suggests, people who experience high blood sugar have too much sugar circulating in their blood, producing symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, and blurred vision.

Excessively high blood sugar can result in metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes, and type 2 diabetes.

In the past 20 years the number of people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK has doubled.

According to Diabetes UK, almost 3.7 million Brits are living with diabetes compared to 1.9 million in 1998.

Thankfully, type 2 diabetes is largely preventable and steps can be taken to normalise blood sugar levels. There are a variety of straightforward ways that you can lower blood sugar levels.

In this article, we’ll delve into 7 ways to help lower blood sugar naturally.

1) Drinking Lots of Fresh Water


Drinking lots of water has been proven to reduce the risk of high blood sugar.

The kidneys work day-and-night to keep your blood clean. High blood sugar can damage sensitive blood vessels (known as nephrons) in the kidneys.

Staying properly hydrated with fresh water helps flush out the kidneys and reduce blood sugar spikes, as well as helping prevent kidney stones and UTIs.

Fresh water hydrates the body, helps energy flow, cleanses out excess blood sugar and helps nutrients travel to vital organs.

Lowering blood sugar with water is therefore a free and easy way to naturally balance your blood glucose levels.

Incidentally, scientists in Shanghai found that 3-6 months after drinking alkaline water, individuals with high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high blood lipids had lower measures in each of these factors.

2) Get Regular Exercise


150 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per week – about 21 minutes each day – is the amount of exercise we all need as recommended by the NHS.

Getting regular exercise will encourage your muscles to use blood sugar for energy. 

Exercise also increases insulin sensitivity and helps you lose weight.

If you struggle with blood sugar issues, it is a good idea to monitor your fasting blood sugar when you wake up in the morning, to give you an idea of your base-state.

Also, monitor your blood sugar levels at other times of the day to check how you are responding to activities.

When starting it’s important to begin with light exercise, for example a brisk walk, before taking on more intensive activities like running, biking, yoga, swimming or dancing.

3) Go Keto/Reduce Carbs


Carbs are broken down into sugars in the body, so keeping carbs to a minimum is a good (and obvious) way to reduce the amount of sugar in your blood.

Meal planning (specifically with a view to reducing carbs) can help you keep a track of the number of carbs you’re eating.

Low-carb diets such as the Ketogenic diet have been repeatedly shown to reduce blood sugar. The main reason is that blood sugar will not spike when you eat a diet that is low in carbs.

The added benefit of  reducing your carb intake is that you’ll not experience a crash after the spike in blood sugar when you eat.

low carb diet has been proven to help people suffering from type 1 diabetes reduce insulin doses.

Diabetes meal plans are almost always variants of a low-carb or keto-style diet – so reduce the carbs and you’ll feel the impact.

4) Eat Plenty of Soluble Fibre


Eating a diet rich in soluble fibre can stabilise blood sugar. Plant-based foods are the highest in soluble fibre.

Eat a wide variety of plant-based foods to help stabilise your blood sugar. Good examples include legumes, potatoes, broccoli, whole grains, berries and melon.

What’s more, plant-based foods – those which are low on the glycemic index – are not just good for lowering blood sugar; they’ll also provide an assortment of beneficial micronutrients.

5) Eat Low GI Foods

To make sure you’re avoiding carbs that contribute to high blood sugar, choose low  Glycemic Index (GI) food and drinks.

The GI was developed to rank foods by how much they spike blood sugar two hours after you eat them, with 0 being the lowest GI food that’s more slowly digested and metabolised, and 100 being the highest.

Foods with a GI value of 55 or less are classified as “low GI foods”. The creators of the Glycemic Index quite rightly say that “not all carbohydrate foods are equal.”

The University of Sydney has put together a useful website that you can search to learn the GI ranking of certain foods.

Consuming low GI foods is a great way to reduce your blood sugar in the medium to long term.

6) Tackle Stress


The fight-or-flight response that is triggered when we are faced with a perceived danger can cause an acute rise in blood sugar.

Moreover, stress hormones (such as cortisol and glucagon) further exacerbate the blood sugar levels.

It’s been scientifically proven in a wide range of studies that activities like yoga, meditation, and mindfulness can reduce stress and in turn, reduce blood sugar levels – so make tackling stress a priority from here on out.

7) Supplement with Berberine

The ancient Chinese herb berberine has been used for centuries to lower blood sugar and metabolise carbs, making berberine the go-to supplement for blood sugar control.

The efficacy of berberine for people with type 2 diabetes is well established for both glucose and lipid metabolism, with Examine.com calling it “one of the few supplements in our database with human evidence that establishes it to be as effective as pharmaceuticals.”

And the benefits of berberine don’t stop there: as well as being perhaps the single most effective supplement for blood sugar, the herb can aid weight loss, lower LDL cholesterol and balance hormones.

All in All

If you have high blood sugar, it’s absolutely vital to quickly take measures to lower it.

If you are thinking about making lifestyle adjustments, it’s of course advisable to speak to your doctor first.

As mentioned, stress reduction, regular exercise and proper, diligent nutrition – including avoiding high glycemic index foods – are the key approaches to controlling and stabilising blood sugar levels.

Remember, high blood sugar is reversible in most cases with healthy lifestyle choices.

Questions, comments? Don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Written by best-selling author and integrative nutrition health coach Rowanna Watson, who has a passion for natural health. Rowanna is an expert in all areas of holistic health, plant-based nutrition, detoxification and personal development.

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9 Simple Ways to Improve Life with Diabetes

9 Simple Ways to Improve Life with Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic condition that often necessitates major life changes in order to manage it successfully.

However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy a happy, fulfilling life if you have diabetes, and certain habits can make it much easier to monitor your blood sugar levels and live life to the fullest.

With that in mind, here are nine simple ways you can improve life with diabetes.

1. Eat a Healthy Diet


What you eat directly impacts your blood sugar, so diet is an incredibly important part of managing your quality of life while living with diabetes.

Don’t overeat. Eat slowly so your brain’s receptors will register what you’ve eaten and how much. While no foods are completely off limits if you have diabetes, focus on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, dairy and lean meats, and stay away from sugar.

Your body turns carbohydrates into sugar, so make sure to not eat too many carbs and try to keep the levels consistent from meal to meal.

2. Watch Your Weight


If you’re overweight or obese, and you have type II diabetes, your doctor may recommend that you lose weight. Excess fat increases your body’s insulin resistance, so it can’t properly use the hormone.

A registered dietitian can help you plan out a diet that will help control your insulin levels and contribute to weight loss.

While there are many fad diets out there, the basic mechanism for weight loss is eating less calories than you burn. As long as you follow that rule, watch your carbohydrate intake and mostly eat healthy foods, you’ll have the keys to success for your weight loss journey.

3. Monitor Your Alcohol Intake


Alcohol affects the human body, including insulin, and it can actually cause blood sugar levels to rise or drop, depending on how much you consume.

Double-check that the alcohol won’t interfere with any medication you’re taking and stick to one or two drinks at a time. Don’t drink on an empty stomach, and make sure to slowly sip your drink so your liver has time to process the alcohol.

Not all drinks are created equal, so check the calorie and carbohydrate content before you order and opt for the beverage that will affect your blood sugar the least.

4. Get Regular Exercise


Exercise can improve the quality of your life with diabetes on multiple levels. First of all, it directly lowers your blood sugar because physical exertion burns more glucose. Second, it can help you lose weight because it burns calories.

Finally, it can help you manage your stress (more on this in the next step), further lowering your blood sugar. Joining a gym or taking a class can be a great way to hold yourself accountable, but exercise doesn’t have to be a major production – even a brisk walk around the block will result in all sorts of benefits.

5. Manage Your Stress

Stress and anxiety create a fight-or-flight response in your body, causing the levels of many hormones (including insulin) to shoot up as your body prepares to face the dangerous situation.

This wreaks havoc on your insulin levels and can cause all sorts of negative symptoms. If you can, eliminate the source of stress by making life changes.

If that’s not possible, seek out ways to manage the stress, whether that’s meditation, yoga, a new hobby, volunteering, breathing exercises, progressive relaxation therapy or something else.

6. Take Your Medication on Schedule


Diabetes medications are timed release, so it’s important to take them on schedule. Set recurring reminders on your computer, phone or smartwatch so you’ll have something to jog your memory.

Try to connect taking each dose to a daily activity – such as eating breakfast – to decrease the likelihood that you’ll forget to take a dose. However, life happens, so make sure you’ve clarified with your doctor what you should do if you do miss a dose.

Incidentally, you might reasonably consider treating your T2D with diet alone. If this is the case, you’ll want to follow a Type 2 Diabetes Meal Plan.

7. See Your Doctor for Check-ups


Diabetes increases your risk of other health problems, so you need to take preventative steps to make sure you’re not developing complications.

Have a check-up at least once a year with your general practitioner and visit eye and foot doctors regularly. Make sure you’re keeping an eye on other health markers besides blood sugar, such as blood pressure, cholesterol, etc.

8. Stop Smoking


Not only does smoking directly raise your blood sugar levels, it also damages blood vessels and causes them to constrict, negatively impacting your circulation.

Diabetes already puts you at greater risk of developing certain health conditions – such as heart disease, eye disease, kidney disease, stroke, nerve damage and foot problems – and smoking only increases your risk even further.

Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health, especially if you have diabetes. So, come up with a strategy and stick to it.

9. Get the Right Gear

Diabetes requires a lot of tools to manage correctly, including a blood glucose monitor, glucose test strips, lancets and syringes.

Other supplies, such as diabetic socks and diabetic creams, aren’t required but can significantly enhance your quality of life. Diabetes is a known cause of bad circulation and foot problems, but diabetic socks provide graduated pressure to keep the blood moving and combat these issues.

Diabetic creams can be used in conjunction with graduated compression socks to sooth the skin.

Conclusion

Life with diabetes can be challenging, but you can still lead a happy life of good habits and good memories.

These nine suggestions will help you make lifestyle changes that will make it easier to manage your blood sugar and enjoy your days.

Even if you just start with one or two changes and then work up from there, you’ll notice a major difference as the habits take hold.

This guest article was written by Kaki Zell, the Vice President and co-owner of Ames Walker. When she is not working for the family business, she enjoys running, hiking, travelling, Virginia Tech football and spending time with family and friends.

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Diabetic Diet Sheet: What to Eat to Control Blood Sugar

Diabetic Diet Sheet: What to Eat to Control Blood Sugar

Diabetes is often called a modern disease, and at least in respect of type 2 diabetes, the term has some merit.

The lifestyle factors governing the progression of type 2 diabetes are well-documented, but just as diet can be the origin of diabetes, it can also help reverse the condition.

While vested interests still cling to the notion that T2D is “incurable,” anyone who’s kept up-to-date with the latest research will know that to be false. In this blog, we aim to outline the recommended dietary changes to get rid of type 2 for good.

Reversing Type 2 Diabetes: What We Know


Dietary choices are incredibly important in both the management and prevention of type 2 diabetes.

More and more people are coming to this realisation as they starkly contemplate a lifetime on diabetes medication.

The fact that the progress of patients in treating diabetes has been so well publicised is yet another factor motivating the groundswell.

Four million Brits currently have T2D, and a dozen million more are categorised as ‘at risk’. In other words, one in four either have – or are at risk of – type 2 diabetes, entailing an annual NHS bill of £12 billion. The numbers are truly staggering.

But diabetes can be reversed, as shown by a study from Newcastle and Glasgow Universities. By following a strict low-calorie diet, you can unburden yourself of the symptoms and risks associated with the condition.

In the landmark study, 9 out of 10 subjects who lost 15kg (or more) put their T2D into remission. It’s all about tackling the underlying cause of the condition.

By reducing fat inside the liver and pancreas, the organs are restored to their proper function. No anti-diabetic medication or surgery required.

In this particular study subjects had to follow a strict calorie-controlled diet, eating no more than 825-853 calories per day, for a period of 3-5 months. The calories came from special soups and shakes which contained a healthy balance of nutrients.

After this initial phase was complete, solid foods were reintroduced. Diabetes UK director Dr Elizabeth Robertson believes the trial “has the potential to transform the lives of millions.”

The thing to remember is that if the weight piles back on, the diabetes will likely return.

The Glasgow/Newcastle study isn’t the only one. A male subject who followed a similar 800-calorie diet for TV experiment The Fast Fix showed no symptoms of diabetes after just four weeks. His liver fat percentage also shrunk from 27.5 to 7.5.

If achieving remission for this ‘chronic lifelong condition’ has been demonstrated, you might logically wonder why type 2 diabetes remains such a problem. A 2018 article in the British Medical Journal touched on this very disconnect.

“Advice on nutrition for diabetes is, at best, a printed menu given to the patient. In resource poor settings, when type 2 diabetes is diagnosed, often the patient leaves the clinic with a list of new medications and little else.”

Follow a Diabetic Diet Sheet to Control Blood Sugar

If you are determined to reverse your type 2 diabetes, you should think about mimicking the Glasgow/Newcastle trial. Speak to your doctor about this option, or consult a naturopathic practitioner or nutritionist.

Otherwise, there are some key things to bear in mind.

• Eliminate sugar and reduce starch-rich foods from your diet. Sugar is of course public enemy no. 1 when it comes to diabetes – meaning cakes, muffins and 90% of breakfast cereals are off the menu – but some people seem to forget that starch itself breaks down to produce glucose.

Starchy carbs are, in essence, concentrated sugar. Examples of starchy foods include potatoes, bread, rice and pasta. The GI of table sugar is actually similar to, or lower than, the GI of starchy foods like basmati rice, wholemeal bread and baked potato!

• Avoid all processed foods packed with empty calories (ready meals are serial offenders).

• Eat the right type of oils to promote healthy insulin action. Extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil and flaxseed oil are great. Avoid highly processed, pro-inflammatory vegetable oils like canola, corn, soybean etc.

• Avoid smoked or cured meats: bacon, smoked luncheon meat, SPAM and so forth.

• Don’t be fooled by artificially sweetened, zero-calorie drinks (Coke, Fanta etc).

• Restrict fruit to berries, apples, pears and baobab fruit; these are high in fibre and anthocyanins and don’t elevate blood sugar levels to the same extent as other fruits. They also impede digestive enzymes and, in doing so, slow the rate of digestion.

• Choose healthy whole grains like oatcakes, oatmeal and quinoa.

• Eat fish, particularly oily fish due to its beneficial effects on lipoproteins and reduction of CHD risk, not to mention its high protein content.

• Be wary of ‘low fat’ foods: they often contain hidden sugars or sweeteners to make them palatable.

• Eat plenty of vegetables, but do not overcook them; it affects the flavour and reduces the nutrient content. Lightly steam, bake or quickly stir-fry. Boiling is best reserved for soup, as most nutrients are left in the water. Red onions and garlic appear to be particularly helpful for blood sugar control.

Starchy vegetables such as parsnips, sweet potatoes and pumpkin should only be consumed if blood sugar levels are under control. Stick to leafy greens and low GI-load vegetables.

• Be sure to eat a few servings of legumes every day: anything from lima and black-eyed beans to chickpeas, lentils, soybeans and kidney beans. They are good sources of protein and soluble fibre. While canned vegetables/fruit are not recommended, canned beans are permissible because they retain their fibre content.

• Eat raw nuts and seeds, while avoiding those roasted in oils or coated with sugar.

• If you can tolerate dairy, a modest intake is allowed. Fermented dairy products such as natural yogurt and kefir are especially beneficial, particularly for microbial health.

• High-quality protein sources such as lean meats (chicken, turkey) are allowed.

Supplements for Blood Sugar Control

There are several natural supplements which could help you effectively manage blood sugar levels.

• Fenugreek seed powder

A 2014 study found that medium and high doses of fenugreek seed powder (5g > per day) correlated with major reductions in fasting blood glucose levels in diabetics. In fact, the effects were comparable to pharmaceutical treatments.

• Resveratrol

Daily consumption of resveratrol has been shown to aid glucose control and insulin sensitivity among diabetics.

• Curcumin

According to a scientific review paper from the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, curcumin – the orange pigment in turmeric – “could favourably affect most of the leading aspects of diabetes, including insulin resistance, hyperglycemia, hyperlipidemia, and islet apoptosis and necrosis.”

Because absorption is a common problem with curcumin, you are best served using a concentrated supplement such as Maximized Turmeric 46x to reap the anti-diabetic benefits.

• Vitamin D

The role of vitamin D in improving the body’s sensitivity to insulin – and thereby lowering the risk of insulin resistance – is becoming more understood.

A 2018 analysis of over 900 subjects found that having plasma levels of 25(OH)D greater than 30 ng/ml corresponded with a substantial reduction in later diabetes risk.

To achieve a vitamin D status of 30 ng/ml, those with a normal BMI would need a daily intake of at least 4,500 IU; obese individuals would require around 5,250 IU.

Our Rivitacell supplement delivers the cleanest form of Vitamin D3 available. Just drop the liquid into water or under the tongue ideally with a meal. If there’s a quicker or easier way to get 5,000 IU into your system, we’d love to hear about it!

• Probiotics

Probiotics – specifically high-strength probiotics – have shown promise as far as diabetes is concerned, with several studies indicating that Lactobacillus strains can lower glucose and insulin levels. Probiotics also appear to positively influence heart health, which is extra important if you have diabetes.

• Berberine

Berberine has been shown to regulate glucose and lipid metabolism, achieving hypoglycaemic results similar to metformin in a 3-month trial. 

• Green Vibrance

Regularly consuming a green drink is a good idea if you’re battling diabetes. Green Vibrance is positively brimming with phytochemicals and antioxidants from dehydrated vegetables, cereal grasses, algae, fruit and botanical extracts.

One serving of this concentrated greens formula contains 1,000 IU of vitamin D, plus 50% or more of your daily vitamin A, iodine, selenium and vitamin C. Considered one of the most nutrient-dense green food powders on the market, it boasts Full Disclosure Labelling: so you can see exactly what you’re getting.

Mix Green Vibrance with water for the best results. One scoop provides 40 calories, with just 2g of carbohydrates and 1g of (natural) sugar.

Conclusion

It is quite clear that the main cause of T2D is the comparatively high carbohydrate intake among large sections of the population.

The work of award-winning GP Dr. David Unwin is particularly informative on this topic; by advocating a strict low-carb diet, the doctor has helped many patients recover from the condition in recent years.

For his work in improving standards of diabetic care, all while steadily reducing the drugs bill, Dr. Unwin was named NHS Innovator of the Year in 2016.

Preventing and treating TD2 is absolutely possible. Stick to a diabetic diet sheet composed of foods highlighted in this article, and avoid the sugar- and starch-laden foods which are your enemy. Exercise should also factor into your anti-diabetic lifestyle.

Get the dietary strategies and lifestyle changes right and you can look forward to a life free of diabetes.

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aloe vera plant and juice

Benefits of Aloe Vera Juice: pH Balance, Blood Sugar, Detox

Over the last week, Wal-Mart suffered a PR nightmare after it emerged that their aloe vera gel contained… well, no aloe vera. Aloe vera can be put to various uses, though the product in question – Equate Aloe After Sun Gel – was ostensibly sold as an emollient for damaged skin. However, the plant’s trio of chemical markers – acemannan, malic acid and glucose – were not present in tests carried out by Bloomberg News. In lieu of the markers, the gel contained maltodextrin, a sugar sometimes used to imitate aloe. It’s worth pointing out that Wal-Mart wasn’t the only company left blushing – Target, Walgreens and CVS were equally guilty of marketing store-brand aloe vera products of dubious authenticity. The four big-name retailers have some 23,000 outlets between them. Several legal firms have now mustered and filed lawsuits against the companies, seeking class-action status and restitution for customers who claim they were duped.

What is Aloe Vera?

Aloe vera is one of around 420 species of the genus Aloe. Belonging to the Liliaceae family, it also goes by the somewhat unpronounceable botanical name Aloe barbadensis miller.

Incredibly, over 200 biologically active compounds have been identified in the plant, comprising minerals, vitamins, enzymes, salicylic acids and amino acids.

As a matter of fact, aloe vera provides 20 of the 22 amino acids required by humans – and all eight ‘essential’ amino acids.

If you’re not smearing it onto your body to provide soothing relief for a skin condition (psoriasis, burns, dermatitis), you might be utilising aloe vera for one of its myriad associated benefits.

A fertile source of antioxidants, it can promote the healthy functioning of the digestive system, fortify the immune system by flushing out toxins, and even help the body ward off fatigue.

Not for nothing did the Egyptians refer to it as the Plant of Immortality. (And the Native Americans assigned it a no-less-dramatic sobriquet: The Wand of Heaven.)

Aloe Vera Could Improve Blood Sugar Control

A very recent study into aloe vera supplements showed they could be capable of improving blood sugar control in adults with type 2 diabetes and prediabetes, but it’s fair to say the nourishment it provides goes beyond the results of a single study.

After all, a little research unearths a veritable treasure trove of evidence attesting to its many valuable properties.

Aloe Vera for pH Balance

Aloe vera is popular among devotees of the alkaline diet, since aloe vera juice (at least the kind without carrageenan) helps to alkalise the body.

Most recommend that it should be taken first thing in the morning for its buffering ability, and the sour-tasting drink is a terrific replacement for highly processed and sugary fruit juices.

Aloe vera is also recommended as part of most anti-inflammatory diets.

Aloe Vera for Detox

When you consider that the aloe vera plant contains over 75 components, comprising vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes and salicylic acids, it really is no surprise that both aloe vera and aloe vera juice are considered staples of detox diets.

Particularly given aloe vera’s ability to reduce yeast formation, normalise bowel movements, promote immunity and tamp down inflammation.

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Can Probiotics Help to Control Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes can be controlled by high-strength probiotics (those containing > 10 billion CFU per dose) providing they contain clinically-studied strains for this purpose.

The object is to rebalance a diabetic person’s intestinal flora which has changed from that of a non-diabetic person.

A diabetic's flora contains a disproportionate amount of Bacteroides bacteria compared to Lactobacillus bacteria, and this contributes to decreased insulin sensitivity (1).

Lactobacillus Probiotics for Diabetes


Scientists are divided on the mechanism of action used by Lactobacillus probiotics to maintain insulin sensitivity, but it may be connected with the following properties of performing probiotic Lactobacillus strains:

  1. They increase absorption of key trace minerals like chromium and vanadium required for insulin activity.
  2. They reduce glucose by converting it to lactic acid in the intestinal tract – this moderates glycemic foods.
  3. They foster bowel regularity and healthy digestion that expedites waste elimination, always important.
  4. They reduce the inflammation associated with diabetes.
  5. They compete with undesirable bowel flora that may have opposite properties to those above.

Some combination of the above five properties, or something else not considered here, is operating.

The human gastro-intestinal tract is one of the most complex ecosystems known, featuring tens of trillions of microorganisms interacting with each other and with us.

More than half of these have not been characterised (named) or studied. So it is not surprising that something high-powered is required to correct an imbalance.

To restore insulin sensitivity, we need to consume a probiotic product that contains effective strains at meaningful concentrations (measured in CFU or colony-forming units).

One particular strain of Lactobacillus acidophilus, called LA-1 or NCFM, has been clinically tested in a group of 45 males with type 2 diabetes and found to maintain insulin sensitivity versus control subjects with reduced sensitivity (2).

This particular LA-1 strain is a colonising strain and is able to stick to the intestinal wall and reproduce; adhesion is confirmed by its ability to adhere to two different human intestinal cell lines called HT-29 and Caco-2 (3).

Recently, a 24 month, double-blind, placebo-controlled Finnish study on 256 women showed a significant reduction in gestational diabetes and child obesity with those on probiotics versus controls.

The rate of gestational diabetes was 13% for the probiotic group and 34% for the control group (4).

What About Synbiotics for Diabetes?


In addition to using Lactobacillus-containing probiotics, there seems to be value in using products that combine effective Lactobacillus strains with Bifidobacterium strains.

These “Bifido” comprise another large family of probiotics and, unlike Lactobacillus strains that live mostly in the small intestine, the Bifido prefer the large intestine.

Probiotics that combine Bifidobacteria with Lactobacillus strains may have synergistic advantages in controlling insulin resistance.

A particularly important strain of Bifidobacterium lactis designated as BL-34 or BL-04 has been studied in terms of its ability to reduce an inflammatory cytokine called IL-12 (5).

Diabetic patients can experience high blood levels of IL-12, resulting in serious internal inflammation. Reducing this inflammation is complimentary to the reduction of insulin sensitivity by Lactobacillus acidophilus LA-1.

Another Bifidobacterium lactis strain, Bi-07, further reduces inflammation by encouraging proliferation of a non-inflammatory cytokine called IL-10; a combination of these two Bifidobacterium strains has powerful anti-inflammatory action.

Probiotics and Diabetes: 2018 Study


study from Saudi Arabia published in autumn 2018 again highlighted the benefits of probiotic supplementation for diabetics – particularly those newly diagnosed with type 2.

A six-month protocol of multi-strain probiotics, taken twice daily, helped to reduce both insulin resistance and gut inflammation. (The total CFU consumed per day was 2.5 billion.)

There was a 38% reduction in circulating insulin among the probiotic group, while improvements in triglyceride levels, total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol were observed.

Furthermore, the diabetics saw a massive decrease (70%) in circulating levels of endotoxin over the six-month period. Bacterial endotoxins, of course, are potent inducers of systemic inflammation.

The results led the study’s lead author, Shaun Sabico, MD, to conclude that multi-strain probiotics could be “beneficial for the prevention of diabetes and as an alternative therapy for people with diabetes, thereby reducing healthcare costs.”

One can only imagine that combining powerful multi-strain probiotics with a suitable anti-diabetic low-carbohydrate diet would potentiate the effects.

How Prebiotics Help Probiotics

Prebiotics are food for probiotics. Most prebiotics are not digested by the human body, the best are composed of unique forms of soluble fibre and are digested primarily by probiotics.

Given the multi-trillion microbial menagerie present in our gut, it’s not hard to understand why probiotics need some help to get colonising fast.

The gut health products we stand behind are made by Progurt. Progurt probiotic sachets contain an unprecedented megadose of one trillion beneficial bacteria, from human-derived bacterial isolates.

Because Progurt’s strains were isolated from healthy humans, they are familiar with the ecosystem of the human gut and are thus optimised to colonise better than the bovine- or soil-derived probiotics common in the market today.

The fact that a single Progurt sachet contains as many colony-forming units as a month’s supply of most products tells you all you need to know.

The volume of bacteria living in the human gut is such that probiotics containing 20 or 30 billion CFU will never give reliable colonisation. This is the view of Progurt, and it is one we wholeheartedly share.

In addition to a probiotic, Progurt offer a prebiotic. Made from all-natural ingredients, this probiotic-stimulating syrup helps to nourish the good bacteria in your gut and promote a healthy microbiome.

Progurt Prebiotic contains three well-researched prebiotic fibres and is well-tolerated by the human digestive system.

Conclusion

Diabetes is a complex disease. The benefits of taking a good probiotic are evidenced by the aforementioned trials, and continue to be explored. 

A diabetic patient should work with a doctor to integrate alternative methods with their prescription medications and recommended diet. 

We have addressed mainly type 2 diabetes here, but type 1 can also benefit from probiotics. The goal would be to either reduce the dosages of the meds being used and/or to improve their effectiveness.

If you are interested in learning more about preventing or managing diabetes through diet and lifestyle, our blog 'Diabetic Diet Sheet' is a great resource. Published in June 2018, it contains information about the most recent studies.

References

  1. Larsen, N., F.K. Vogensen, et al (2010), “ Gut microbiota in human adults with type 2 diabetes differs from non-diabetic adults,” PLoS One, 5(2): e 9085.
  2. Andreasen, AS, et al (2010) “Effects of Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM [LA-1] on insulin sensitivity and systemic inflammatory response in human subjects,” Br J Nutr, Dec; 104 (12): 1831-8.
  3. Green, J.D., and Klaenhammer, T.R. (1994), “Factors involved in adherence of lactobacilli to human caco-2 cells,” Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 60: 4487-4494.
  4. Luoto, R. et al (2010) Br J Nutr, 1-8.
  5. Foligne, B., et al (2007) “Correlation between in vivo and in vitro immunomodulation properties of lactic bacteria,” W J Gastroenterology. 13(2): 236-243.
  6. Bioscci. Biotech. Biochem. 58. 1364-1369. 1994.

NOTE: Finding an appropriate probiotic requires paying attention to the labelling on probiotic products and to support information provided in the scientific literature. Since probiotics are dietary supplements, not drugs, the FDA does not allow scientific studies showing healing or curative responses to be published on the label or in commercial literature provided by supplement manufacturers. The statements herein are intended for educational purposes only. The statements in this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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elderly woman surveying rain-streaked window from within house

Are You Doing All You Can to Prevent Diabetes?

One week. That’s how long it takes to reverse Type 2 diabetes by 100 percent. According to the American Diabetes Association, fasting plasma glucose levels can normalize within 7 days of instituting a substantial negative calorie balance by dietary intervention. This is due to a decrease in liver fat content and the return of normal hepatic insulin sensitivity. Within 8 weeks of a proper diet, insulin secretion steadily returns to normal.

There is a difference between weight loss that improves glucose control but leaves blood sugar levels abnormal and weight loss that normalizes pancreatic function. The following is a list of lifestyle changes designed to help stabilize blood sugar levels as well as pancreatic and liver function, thus reversing Type 2 diabetes as well as many other chronic diseases.


1) Supplement with chromium.

Chromium serves as a cofactor for insulin action, making it a necessary supplement for individuals with diabetes. Chromium has also been demonstrated to inhibit phosphotyrosine phosphatase, the enzyme that splits phosphate from the insulin receptor, leading to decreases in insulin sensitivity (Cefalu et al, 2013). Diabetes has been shown to develop in persons with chromium deficiency. Furthermore, chromium deficiency and the associated insulin, glucose, and lipid metabolism impairment may also result in increased cardiovascular risk.

2) Avoid fructose and omega 6 fatty acids.

Diets that are high in sugary foods and omega 6 oils cause chronic inflammation, which increases the risk for metabolic syndrome (obesity), liver steatosis or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), brain insulin resistance, and cognitive dysfunction. Because insulin receptors exist in the brain, evidence shows an increased risk of developing dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, in persons with obesity, type 2 diabetes, and in individuals with poor insulin sensitivity. Thankfully, a fish oil supplement that is high in omega 3 fatty acids will maintain proper insulin signaling in the bran, thus improving diabetes, obesity, and brain health.

Along with adding a fish oil and chromium supplement to your diet, consider also taking vitamin D3, alpha lipoic acid, and consuming a variety of antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables, which will combat chronic inflammation, fatigue, diabetes, obesity, and other illnesses.

3) Exercise.

Exercise does not have to be complicated to be efficient. Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that a 20-minute walk can help reduce the risk of a premature death by up to 30 percent. 

Regular physical activity (three to five days per week) lowers the amount of LDL cholesterol and increases HDL cholesterol. It also has a positive effect on blood lipid concentrations.

 Several adipokines, such as leptin, which controls appetite, as well as muscle contraction-induced factors called myokines have been shown to modulate insulin resistance and inflammatory status in patients with diabetes and obesity. 

An experimental study using endotoxin-induced chronic inflammation showed that physical exercise directly inhibits endotoxin-induced tumor necrosis factors, or TNF, production in humans, most likely through IL-6 (a pro-anti-inflammatory protein) release from exercising muscle.

4) Get adequate sleep.

Not getting enough sleep may do more than make you tired. It could cause diabetes.

During a six year study of 47,093 participants of the US military service, diabetes was significantly more likely among those with self-reported trouble sleeping, sleep duration less than 6 hours per night, and sleep apnea (Boyko et al, 2013). 

Participants who reported diabetes were older, of nonwhite race, had higher BMI’s, and were more likely to report symptoms of panic, anxiety, and depression, which brings us to our next suggestion.

5) Control stress.

Stress may cause chronic hyperglycemia in persons with type 2 diabetes. Stress promotes the release of various hormones, such as the fight-or-flight reflex, which can result in elevated blood glucose levels. 

However, in persons with diabetes, stress-induced increases in glucose cannot be metabolized properly due to the lack of insulin.

Furthermore, persons with diabetes may not be able to regulate these stress hormones normally. Built up stress may also cause chronic inflammation, which puts the body in a catabolic state and suppresses anabolic pathways, such as the power insulin-signaling pathway. Inflammation affects insulin receptors by preventing them from binding to cells.

To control stress, consider yoga or other exercises that concentrate on breathing and relaxation. Also be sure to set daily quiet time aside just for you, whether it’s reading a book on your lunch hour, taking a walk around the block, or pausing to take a few deep breaths in the middle of a stressful situation.

If you're looking to do everything you can to prevent getting diabetes, you could begin with supplementing your diet with chromium.

References

Boyko, E., Seelig, A., Jacobson, I., Hooper, T., Smith, B., Smith, T., & Crum-Cianflone, N. (2013). Sleep Characteristics, Mental Health, and Diabetes Risk: A prospective study of U.S. military service members in the Millennium Cohort Study. Diabetes Care, 3154-3161.

Cefalu, W., & Hu, F. (2013). Role of chromium in human health and in diabetes. Diabetes Care 2004;27:2741-2751. Diabetes Care, 2872-2872.

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Can a Type 2 Diabetes Meal Plan Reverse the Disease?

Can a Type 2 Diabetes Meal Plan Reverse the Disease?

Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic ailment characterised by high blood glucose in the background of insulin resistance and comparative insulin insufficiency. Diabetes is frequently managed by increasing physical exercise and altering nutrition. If type 2 diabetes persists or degenerates, medications may be needed. However, for those who want to get off medication altogether, a Talmudic focus on diet is required.

Type 2 Diabetes: Difficult to Spot Early


One of the major problems with type 2 diabetes at its onset is that its indicators can be so mild that they go undetected. Furthermore, as many as half of those diagnosed with type 2 diabetes have had the ailment for months or even years before they know it.

For this reason a sizeable percentage of people with type 2 diabetes exhibit signs of tissue damage to the eyes or hardening of the arteries – from their diabetes – by the time of diagnosis.

The main symptoms are similar to those of type 1 diabetes.

  • Thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Tiredness
  • Weight loss may sometimes be present, but it is not as marked as in type 1 diabetes. Most people with type 2 diabetes are overweight.
  • Itchiness, especially around the genitals, due to yeast infection (thrush)
  • Recurrent infections on the skin, eg. yeast infections or boils

Type 2 diabetes happens mostly in people aged over 40. Treatment is diet, weight control and physical activity to start with.

If the blood glucose level remains elevated notwithstanding these measures, then tablets to reduce the blood glucose level are typically advised. Insulin injections are needed in some cases. Other treatments include reducing blood pressure if it is high, lowering high cholesterol levels and other measures to reduce the risk of complications.

Lifestyle factors are identified as important to the advance of type 2 diabetes. In one study, those who had high levels of physical activity, a healthy diet, did not smoke, and consumed alcohol in moderation had a lower rate of diabetes.

When a normal weight was included, the rate was even lower. A healthy diet was described as high in fibre, with a high polyunsaturated to saturated fat ratio, and a lower mean glycemic index.

Obesity has been found to contribute to 55% of cases of type 2 diabetes, and the increased rate of overweight children between the 1960s and 2000s is sure to have led to the increase in type 2 diabetes among children and adolescents.

Can Following a Type 2 Diabetes Meal Plan Reverse the Disease?

Incidentally, there are many cases of individuals reversing type 2 diabetes solely via lifestyle interventions, specifically by following a type 2 diabetes meal plan.

In a watershed trial conducted by Newcastle and Glasgow Universities, nearly half  of patients reversed the condition by following this strict low-calorie diet.

The diet involved five months of soups and shakes to trigger significant weight loss. Once the weight has been lost, healthy, solid meals are reintroduced. However, doctors are reluctant to call the diet a cure; if the weight goes back on, they insist, the diabetes will return.

Though the results have been trumpeted far and wide, on the face of it they are not altogether surprising. You do not have to be a specialist to know that the demand for insulin is closely connected to the amount of glucose in the blood, which is itself a reflection of how much sugar and starch (which breaks down to glucose) exists in the diet.

Reversing type 2 diabetes, therefore, is a question of cutting down on the amount of glucose entering the body, thereby decreasing the requirement for insulin. Though it may seem difficult, it is not only possible to cut out or seriously reduce sugar and carbohydrates; it is actually tremendously empowering.

Given that diabetes treatment costs the NHS £10 billion per year, one hopes this simple lifestyle interventions are wholeheartedly encouraged going forward.

After all, would you rather lose weight and maintain it to overcome diabetes (and enjoy the attendant health benefits of being slimmer) or take medication to treat the condition for the rest of your life?

Dietary solutions to T2D were highlighted in 2018, when Labour’s Tom Watson revealed that, within 12 months, he had shed 7st and reversed his Type 2 through a rigorous protocol of exercise and strict adherence to diet.

Such success stories offer hope to the 3 million people in the UK battling the condition.

Conclusion

Those who are interested in learning more about dietary approaches for the prevention or management of type 2 diabetes might like to read this 2018 article published in the British Medical Journal. Here is an excerpt:

“Most physicians are not trained in nutrition interventions and this is a barrier to counselling patients. Moreover, talking to patients about nutrition is time consuming.

“In many settings, outside of specialised diabetes centres where trained nutritionists/educators are available, advice on nutrition for diabetes is, at best, a printed menu given to the patient.

In resource poor settings, when type 2 diabetes is diagnosed, often the patient leaves the clinic with a list of new medications and little else.”

Have a look at our Blood Sugar Balance page, where you will find products which may be helpful in addressing blood sugar levels in the body.

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