Preventing Diabetes Pt. 2 – What To Do
Diabetes may be on your horizon, and you don’t want it to be, so what can be done? The most important thing about adult onset diabetes is that it is a direct response to having too much sugar in your diet and your body’s response to that sugar.
Reduce foods high in sugar and starch. Most people have low hanging fruits in their diets – which is to say – simple changes that will make a big difference. I worked with a gentleman who had a very high blood sugar when he first came in to see me. His “low hanging fruit” was fast food and two giant-sized sodas daily. He started to prepare his food at home and stopped the sodas completely. Within three months he had a significant drop in his average blood sugars, and we were able to eliminate his medication. He continued with that lifestyle for several years before his blood sugars started to climb again.
Proteins, such as meats, beans, and eggs, as well as complex carbohydrates such as vegetables, are great for you. The foods that are primarily sugar, or easily converted to sugar, are the problem. This includes white bread, white rice, potatoes, and pasta. Fruit juice and soda are also problematic, as are cookies, candy, and other sweets. The takeaway: Eat more protein, eat less carbs.
Deliberate exercise helps the body regulate itself. Exercise means challenging the body by either increasing your heart rate or exhausting your muscles for a sustained period of time. Daily activity, like gardening or moving around at work, is good but is not the same as exercise. Exercise makes the body more sensitive to insulin so blood sugar is more easily controlled and it triggers the body’s mechanisms for repair and regulation. If we do not exercise, the body does not get the message to regulate and repair itself, and we develop more health concerns over time.
Sleep well. A good night’s rest helps the body reset and prepare for the next day. Lack of rest causes stress on the body, and that stress can impair the body’s response to insulin, causing the body to need more insulin to get the same job done. If something is interrupting your sleep or preventing a good night’s rest regularly, talk to your doctor about this because it may be causing more problems than just fatigue.
Reduce stressors. Just as a lack of sleep puts stress on the body, anything that causes ongoing, chronic stress impairs your body’s ability to take care of itself, and can cause an increase in your blood sugars. Identifying stressors is helpful, and a good tool to start identifying your stressors is to ask: “If someone else were in my shoes, what would they be stressed about?”
If you are concerned about your diabetes or are worried about a family history of diabetes, we’re here to help. Our goal is to help you and your loved ones live happy, healthy lives for years to come. A good, personal relationship with your family doctor will protect you and your family.