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Diabetes. Will You Be Next?

Aug 17, 2007
If you "don't have time" for any form of sport or exercise and eat fatty takeaways and fast foods, you could be a candidate for "metabolic syndrome."
What is it and how do you avoid it?

Kate was a hard-working stockbroker. She worked long hours sitting at her computer and regularly took work home. Because of her busy lifestyle, she "didn't have time" for any form of sport or exercise and existed mainly on fatty takeaways and fast foods. Breakfast was usually coffee and toast.

Her lifestyle eventually caught up with her. She put on weight around the waist and could not fit into her favorite jeans. She also became very tired and noticed an increased thirst. On the advice of both parents, she reluctantly visited her doctor. Her blood pressure at 135/85 was very high for her age and further tests revealed high LDL [bad] and low HDL]good] cholesterol levels. Her blood sugar level was also high.

Kate, at the age of 34 had a combination of factors called "metabolic syndrome" or "syndrome X". These, plus a number of other factors can lead to type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Kate was very lucky. Her quick action meant that she could embark on a program of lifestyle changes to regain her health and fitness. Her doctor suggested the following 4 diabetes beating strategies.

Lose weight, particularly around the waist.
Exercise. Both aerobic and resistance.
Modify her diet.
Take healthy supplements.

HERE IS KATE'S PROGRAM.

WEIGHT LOSS.

Her biggest challenge and critical health issue, was to remove excess fat from her waist. Her waist measurement of 88cm [35 inches] indicated the possibility of insulin resistance or the decreased ability of her pancreas to convert sugar or glucose into insulin. Exercise and diet became an important part of her program.

EXERCISE.

Kate joined her local health club and started a program including both aerobic and resistance exercises.

A study at Yale and reported in Journal of Applied Physiology, January 2006 showed that intense exercise is far more effective in preventing and controlling diabetes than exercising at a leisurely pace.

The most tissue damage occurs immediately after eating, when blood sugar levels rise the highest. After you eat, sugar goes from the intestines into the bloodstream. The only places that sugar can be stored are in your muscles and liver. When your muscles are not exercised, they are full of sugar and sugar has no place to go after it enters your bloodstream. This can result in increased body fat, particularly around the waist.

On the other hand, when your muscles are exercised, they empty their stored sugar. Then when you eat, sugar can go from the intestines into the bloodstream and then immediately into your muscles, preventing a high rise in blood sugar and suppressing fat formation.

If it is not convenient to join a health club, it is possible to enjoy similar benefits by taking a brisk 30 to 40 minute [minimum] walk before a meal, particularly your main meal of the day. According to University of Western Australia clinical professor of medicine, Dr Tim Welborn, many overseas experts are now saying that to prevent becoming overweight and at risk of a range of diseases including diabetes, people needed to get 60-90 minutes of mild to moderate physical activity every day.

A recent study at the University of Alabama found that women on a strength training program for 25 weeks lost significant amounts of belly fat, the dangerous kind that increases your risk of heart disease and diabetes.

DIET CHANGES.

Modifications to her diet included removing foods containing saturated fats and eating more low GI [glycemic index] foods. The glycemic index is a ranking of foods according to how rapidly there is a rise in blood sugar. High GI foods are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, sending blood sugar soaring, causing heavy insulin production and giving a rapid energy spike. This is soon followed by a crash that leaves you with flagging concentration and food cravings. Kate's diet included a high proportion of high GI foods, including French fries, white bread, cakes and pastries, white rice, doughnuts and potatoes.

Research studies at Harvard University suggest that if you want to avoid type 2 diabetes, eating too many potatoes [especially from foods like French fries] raises your risk. Sweet potatoes have a lower glycemic load than white potatoes.

Dr Ray D. Strand, author of Healthy for Life [real life] recommends a healthful low GI diet that does not spike blood sugar. This includes fresh fruit and vegetables, many types of beans, brown rice, lentils and oatmeal. These high fiber foods trigger only a moderate rise in blood sugar, enter the bloodstream slowly and reduce food cravings. Other low GI foods include legumes, nuts and seeds.

Kate's doctor "insisted" that she eat a breakfast including fruit and oatmeal or muesli. To this could be added blueberries and ground flaxseeds. The result is a substantial, low GI, high fiber meal which is absorbed slowly, reduces mid morning hunger pangs and is gentle on the pancreas. I always add blueberries to my morning cereals. They are high in fiber and antioxidants and as a bonus, taste delicious.

HEALTHY SUPPLEMENTS.

To boost cellular nutrition, Dr Strand suggests taking high quality antioxidants
[ including vitamins C and E] with each meal. Other helpful supplements include chromium, magnesium, fenugreek, potassium, omega 3 fish oil, apple cider vinegar and selenium.

Never start a new treatment before consulting your doctor, especially if you are currently taking medication. The information published in this article is not intended as a substitute for personal medical advice from your physician or other qualified health-care practitioner. It is for information purposes only.
About the Author
Graeme Lanham is a freelance writer and health/fitness researcher. His new book "Your Life Fitness" includes current research studies on fitness and anti-aging. Discover more about the secrets to avoiding diabetes and receive a FREE subscription to his regular subscribers only newsletter at:
http://www.yourlifefitness.com
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