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 is an even more powerful antagonist, and marker for cardiovascular risk 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 me directly for more information, and if you are in the Orange County California area, I am available for private consultations, and can actually monitor your composition with the Bio-impedence test I spoke of earlier. I do encourage close collaboration with your doctor though particularly when dealing with a serious condition such as Type 2 Diabetes.