There’s nothing more American than baseball, apple pie, and… developing diabetes. The activity and eating patterns of American society have taken away the need for daily physical exertion in our lives and have placed right under our noses the largest portion of high calorie, poor nutritive foods that has ever existed in human history. Because of our current culture, it should not be surprising that 1.6 million adults are diagnosed with diabetes every year (National Diabetes Information Clearing House, 2007).
Type II Diabetes doesn’t develop over night. It takes years and often decades of what is called insulin resistance to exist before diabetes develops. When the body’s cells are resistant to insulin, the pancreas has to secrete higher and higher amounts of insulin to transport glucose out of the bloodstream to the body’s cells. Eventually, even the high amounts of insulin can’t keep blood glucose levels normal and diabetes is diagnosed.
A poor diet, stress, and a lack of physical activity all contribute to an increased waistline. Adipocytes, or fat cells (particularly around the waistline), secrete multiple hormones and other inflammatory factors that contribute directly to insulin resistance. Many of these same factors also make the body’s blood vessels unhealthy, resulting in high blood pressure and heart disease
If obese, improve your BMI gradually. Obesity is associated with increased systemic inflammation, pre-sleep apnea/snoring, poor posture, low back pain, and other conditions which contribute to stress and anxiety.
Aim to exercise daily or even twice daily with emphasis on achieving cardio fitness. Find a way to get active and stay active. Join group classes like yoga, spinning, step or water aerobics at your local gym or find local walking/hiking, riding, or running clubs. Recruit co-workers, friends or neighbors and schedule times to workout. It’s harder to cancel when you are meeting some one. Convenient cardio at home is often the best. Working out early morning or before a well-earned supper is recommended.
Reduce caloric intake.
Choose low calorie-high nutritive foods, and reduce portion sizes.
Increase fiber intake.
This alone can decrease your risk of developing diabetes. The less processed your foods are the more fiber they are likely to have.
Achieve moderate weight loss of 4.5% of body weight.
For an individual who weighs 150 lbs, that is 10 lbs. Just this small amount of weight loss can get you out of the danger zone of developing diabetes.
Choose foods based on the glycemic index below.
Increase your cardio activity.
Daily exercise can help both prevent and control diabetes. This effect is seen even when the exercise is not accompanied with weight loss. Choose a form of exercise you like and stick with it.
Be active throughout the day.
Park in the far end of the parking lot. Use a broom or rake instead of a leaf blower. Go for a walk after every meal.
Build your muscle mass.
Results can be achieved without a gym membership. Always take the stairs and challenge yourself to climb them faster from week to week. Purchase an exercise ball from to use for daily home workouts.
Gradual Weight Reduction
Aim to acheive a normal BMI (less than 25).
Start with achieving moderate weight loss (5% of your body weight). For an individual who weighs 175 lbs, that is just 9 lbs of weight loss. Just this small amount of weight loss can get you out of the danger zone of developing diabetes.
Spend time on yourself daily.
Play or listen to music. Take a walk or meditate by yourself. Turn off the iPod during your exercise.
Help others achieve their goals.
Help a family member or close friend with a project. Volunteer in a cause you are passionate for.
Avoid daily repetitive stresses.
Try to drive less. Shop locally. Spend less than you earn. Eliminate clutter.
Low Glycemic Foods (Better Choices)
- natural sugar sweeteners: agave nectar, stevia, dark chocolate (greater than 70% cocoa)
- mixed whole-grain cereals, multigrain or whole wheat bread, brown or basmati rice, whole grain pasta cooked al dente, quinoa, oats, millet, buckwheat
- lentils, peas, beans: black, garbanzo, kidney, etc.
- oatmeal, muesli, All-bran
- fresh fruit, particularly berries, cherries, raspberries
- water flavored with lemon or lime
- 1 glass of red wine a day with a meal
- brightly colored/dark green vegetables, sweet potatoes, yams, garlic, onions
High Glycemic Foods (Poor Choices)
- sugar: white or brown, honey, syrups: maple, fructose dextrose
- white bleached flours: white bread, white rice, overcooked white pasta, muffins, bagles, croissants, rice cakes
- potatoes, especially mashed or fried potatoes
- cornflakes, rice crispies (and any other bleached, sweetened breakfast cereals)
- jams and jellies, fruit cooked in sugar, fruit in syrup
- sweetened drinks: commercial fruit juices, sodas, sports drinks
- alcohol (except during meals)
- Although not high glycemic, the following foods are also pro-diabetic: processed, boxed, frozen foods, cheese, animal fats: butter, sour cream, bacon, red meat, greasy foods, e.g. hamburgers, hot dogs, fries, pizza.