Type 2 Diabetes
There has been so much talk lately about Type 2 diabetes. This used to be called “Adult Onset Diabetes” but with the proliferation of new cases spanning the age spectrum, and particularly affecting youth, another more inclusive name was chosen. There is even a Type 3 now, but we’ll get to that another time.
First of all, what causes it? A great deal of research has been done on the topic. There are various stages to insulin regulation in the body. To make a complicated topic simpler, when your body takes in too much sugar, which could be refined sugars or even carbohydrates and other foods that are changed to sugar during digestion, it cannot process it effectively. Insulin is the hormone that the body uses to signal cells to let sugar through the door. When too much sugar is there, your cells start to rebel and restrict the acceptance of new sugar in the cell by basically not answering the door when the insulin knocks. Your pancreas senses the resistance, and sends out more insulin.
This is the beginning of problems. Not only will the insulin resistance have the potential if unchecked to become Type 2 Diabetes, but cardiovascular risk is correlated to excessive insulin in the system. Some studies have indicated insulin resistance is an even more powerful antagonist, and marker for cardiovascular risk and Type 2 Diabetes than cholesterol.* When your activity level is not sufficient to burn off the massive sugar content and calories, your body stores the extra sugars as fat. This cycle has every quality of a catastrophic system meltdown. The longer you wait to address it, the worse it will get.
What Can You Do?
Thankfully, there are some pretty simple and yet powerful things you can do, without spending any more money (again unless you want to or to speed up the process with targeted supplements), just changing your eating schedule, and some of the components of your diet.* The best part about this is that while most diets restrict the quantity of foods, when I counsel people on food intake, most complain not of being hungry, but of not being able to eat all the food. One of the biggest things is being sure to eat every two to three hours. These meals of course are going to be a bit smaller, but that is the point. You want your body to use the food as fuel progressively, and not flood the engine with too much gas. that is what has been happening to create the insulin resistance in the first place.
The only thing that can make it a bit tricky is the actual plan must be specific to an individuals body composition, weight, and fat/lean ratio, as well as the amount of calories that the person burns in any given day. That is unique to each person, so establishing your metabolic rate is important but it is not that difficult to get a general idea just based upon weight and height with some of the online charts. However to be specific enough to really nail it down a test with a bio-impedence machine is very helpful, and not too expensive.
These tests, which I administer regularly, also give you a chance as you progress through your personal program of lifestyle change, to see a real number for each part of your body’s composition, and watch as your fat, water, muscle and other components change to create a better overall body makeup which results in a superior functioning system.
Amazingly enough, I have personally seen people go from a fasting glucose of 135 to between 90-100 in a week or two, just by changing diet scheduling, some food types, and adding a small amount of what is termed a “medical food”, a high quality protein enriched beverage which I will also explain later in another post. But this is an optional component, that just speeds up the natural process.
If you look up ‘mediterranean diet” online, you will see the basic kinds of foods that are best to consume for optimum health and vitality. It is a mixture of vegetables, lean meats, limited grains, and yes even wine! If you eat a balanced diet of these foods and spread out your 1300-2500 calorie menu for the day every 2-3 hours, it is a good start. You can contact us directly for more information. I do encourage close collaboration with your doctor though particularly when dealing with a serious condition such as cardiovascular disease or Type 2 Diabetes.
James Marfleet, CNC, LE
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Having pregnancy diabetes increases a woman’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the next 5 to 10 years.
Thank you for the comment. Pregnancy diabetes, also called gestational diabetes affects approximately 4% of pregnant women or around 135,000 a year, that is from the American Diabetes Association.
What is happening in gestational diabetes is hormones from the placenta can block the proper activity of insulin in the mother’s body. This is yet another kind of insulin resistance, which as noted in the original post can result in type 2 diabetes if it is prolonged and untreated. The mother can then not produce enough insulin to properly metabolize the glucose in her system, which could actually affect the babies development.
The baby’s pancreas has to make additional insulin to process the excessive blood glucose. Since this glucose would normally be used as energy to grow and develop, but there is just too much available, the additional glucose is transformed and is stored as fat.
This often results in what is called macrosomia, which basically means a “fat” baby. Macrosomia causes potentially serious health problems, like shoulder damage during birth due to the excessive weight. With so much insulin being made by the growing baby’s pancreas, these newborns can have breathing problems due to the effects of very low blood glucose levels at the time of birth. Starting out life with too much insulin initiates the increased risk of obesity as a child and growing into adults who have a much higher risk of type 2 diabetes. Working with and following the direction of your doctor and nutritional healthcare consultant, by utilizing proper diet and nutrition during pregnancy can help keep this condition from becoming a serious health risk to mother and baby.
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