Category: Diabetes

Why Gamble with Diabetes?

Photo by PhotoMIX Company from Pexels

Are you a gambler? Do you love the thrill of placing a Vegas bet on the craps or card tables? How much are you willing to gamble at a time? Would you be willing to bet your home on a sure bet? Or are you more of a small time gambler who see’s no harm in the benign scratcher tickets and occasional Powerball game. You know, nothing harmful ever comes from scratching tickets at the local convenience store. Heck that $20 purchase of tickets is going to actually pay off big time one day, right?

How about gambling with your life and or your health? We see this every day when smokers walk out to smoking areas and light up their cigarettes. To a non-smoker, those types are a special fucking kind of stupid aren’t they? After all, we are only gifted with one set of lungs when we are born. How many roll the dice with alcohol by taking their first drink while knowing that it affects some to the point of losing everything. You have likely seen hobo’s panhandling on street corners for enough scratch to purchase a bottle of Wild Irish Rose to swill down under the bridge with Ol Smokey and their pal affectionately referred to as Zoo Breath. Yeah, those bums gambled and lost with that one didn’t they? Of course, we are all better than those stew bums, right?

We can all take relatively safe gambles with our lives, and not have to pay the Piper for several years. Hell, most of us live for today and cannot fathom the future 30 years later when we can not see past the ends of our own noses. It’s not like we are playing Russian Roulette with a .357 Magnum when we bite into a Snickers Bar. Or are we…

Type 2 Diabetes runs in my family. Family members on both sides have suffered it, therefore it is only prudent that I do everything I can in order to avoid it myself. Knowing that it runs in my family, it would be a dick move if I throw caution to the wind and gamble on my life that I can eat tons of sugar and carbs and never get it myself. For all my reasons “Why” for losing weight and committing myself to a life style of health and wellness, avoiding Type 2 Diabetes ranks right there at the top of the list for living the way I do. It is why I promote a diet high in protein and low in carbs. Complex carbs only. No sugar or processed foods. Avoiding those foods are now just a part of my lifestyle which has been given the title David’s Way by my friend.

WHAT IS TYPE 2 DIABETES

Type 2 diabetes, the most common type of diabetes, is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Blood glucose is your main source of energy and comes mainly from the food you eat. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps glucose get into your cells to be used for energy. In type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t make enough insulin or doesn’t use insulin well. Too much glucose then stays in your blood, and not enough reaches your cells.(1)

You can develop type 2 diabetes at any age, even during childhood. However, type 2 diabetes occurs most often in middle-aged and older people. You are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you are age 45 or older, have a family history of diabetes, or are overweight or obese. Diabetes is more common in people who are African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander.

Physical inactivity and certain health problems such as high blood pressure affect your chances of developing type 2 diabetes. You are also more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you have prediabetes or had gestational diabetes when you were pregnant. (1)

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

Symptoms of diabetes include

  • increased thirst and urination
  • increased hunger
  • feeling tired
  • blurred vision
  • numbness or tingling in the feet or hands
  • sores that do not heal
  • unexplained weight loss

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes often develop slowly—over the course of several years—and can be so mild that you might not even notice them. Many people have no symptoms. Some people do not find out they have the disease until they have diabetes-related health problems, such as blurred vision or heart disease.

What causes type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is caused by several factors, including

  • overweight and obesity
  • not being physically active
  • insulin resistance
  • genes

(1) National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

On Weight Watcher’s social media Connect, I have responded to people who have trouble with losing weight by telling them they should quit sugar all together. It is unbelievable how pissed some of them get when I make this suggestion despite the fact it will work for them if only they try. Hell, their panties can get in such a twist, you would think I had barged into their home and removed every source of their sugar. Because sugar is seen as a food source which is added to just about everything now days, many can not see how harmful it can be for some folks. Not just in the problems which stem from obesity, but the even uglier problems which can be prevented just by not eating sugar and by watching your intake of even complex carbohydrates.

If you look at the top causes of Type 2 Diabetes, you will see that being over weight, obese and not being physically active are the top causes. Fixing the third item will help to fix the first two, but is not enough by itself if you still like to indulge in sweet treats on a regular basis. You can not outrun or out work a bad diet as a permanent fix to being over weight or obese. You have to fix your diet and mind set first and foremost. If you need a reason, just look at those feet afflicted with diabetic ulcers with the understanding that your diet can either cause the same for you, or it could correct this course before you get there by simply eating whole and healthy foods and cutting out sugar and processed foods from your diet. Every time you stick a spoonful of sugary crap in your mouth, you are gambling that you will never be stricken with that horrible condition.

Besides ugly ulcers on your extremities which can often lead to amputations, are pints of your favorite ice cream or Little Debby Cakes, worth your eye sight? Do you value your vision enough to clean up your diet? The above pictures are eyes with Diabetic Retinopathy. When your child or grandchild looks into your eyes, do you care if these eyes are what they peer into? Would you ever want to gaze into your child or grand children’s eyes and see these looking back at you? Probably not, but if you do not fix your diet, quit or at least greatly reduce your sugar intake, and increase your physical activity, those eyes might just become your reality. Bad things happen to all of us, not just the other guy.

The costs of Type 2 Diabetes to us personally and financially are devastating to our lives and causes preventable heart ache and stress. Nobody need suffer from Type 2 Diabetes if only they eat healthy whole foods and incorporate vigorous exercise into their lives.

According to American Diabetes Association:

The total estimated cost of diagnosed diabetes in 2017 is $327 billion, including $237 billion in direct medical costs and $90 billion in reduced productivity.

The largest components of medical expenditures are:

  • hospital inpatient care (30% of the total medical cost),
  • prescription medications to treat complications of diabetes (30%),
  • anti-diabetic agents and diabetes supplies (15%), and
  • physician office visits (13%).

People with diagnosed diabetes incur average medical expenditures of $16,752 per year, of which about $9,601is attributed to diabetes. People with diagnosed diabetes, on average, have medical expenditures approximately 2.3 times higher than what expenditures would be in the absence of diabetes.

For the cost categories analyzed, care for people with diagnosed diabetes accounts for 1 in 4 health care dollars in the U.S. and more than half of that expenditure is directly attributable to diabetes.

Indirect costs include:

  • increased absenteeism ($3.3 billion) and
  • reduced productivity while at work ($26.9 billion) for the employed population,
  • reduced productivity for those not in the labor force ($2.3 billion),
  • inability to work as a result of disease-related disability ($37.5 billion), and
  • lost productive capacity due to early mortality ($19.9 billion).

Diabetes Costs in Specific Populations

  • Most of the cost for diabetes care in the U.S., 66%, is provided by government insurance (including Medicare, Medicaid, and the military). The rest is paid for by private insurance (60%) or by the uninsured (2%).
  • People with diabetes who do not have health insurance have 60% fewer physician office visits and are prescribed 52% fewer medications than people with insurance coverage—but they also have 168% more emergency department visits than people who have insurance.
  • Total per-capita health expenditures are higher among men than women ($10,060 vs. $9,110).
  • Total per-capita health care expenditures are lower among Hispanics ($8,050) and higher among non-Hispanic blacks ($10,470) and among non-Hispanic whites ($9,800).
  • Compared to non-Hispanic whites, per capita hospital inpatient costs are 23% higher among non-Hispanic blacks and 29% lower among Hispanics. Non-Hispanic blacks also have 65% more emergency department visits than the population with diabetes as a whole.
  • Among states, California has the largest population with diabetes and thus the highest costs, at $39.47 billion. Texas ($25.60 billion), Florida ($24.80 billion), and New York ($21.23 billion) round out the top four states in terms of total annual cost.

(2) American Diabetes Association

I can not imagine any caring individual wanting to burden their family with these problems, nor can I see anyone truly wanting to risk this for themselves. Yet, every time we indulge in unhealthy eating practices, we take a huge gamble that at some point this will be our lives and not just the life of the other guy. When you take your little girl down to the Dairy Queen on a hot summer day, it is inconceivable that anyone would want this for their sweet child, yet as a society, our children are being lead down this path every day when we feed them sugary foods that might taste really good but have zero nutritional value to man kind.

Friends reading this, know that if you have been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, there are things you can do to improve your quality of life. Quit eating sugar, and or drinking alcohol. Get on a proven weight loss program, and commit yourself to not losing weight so much as just living a healthy life style. The weight loss will come if you make this commitment. Next, get your ass moving with some kind of exercise. Create a plan for exercise and stick to it. Create a long term goal with as many short term goals as you need to get to the long term one. Be specific in what you are going to do. Do not say I will walk more, or I will try to lose weight. That is too vague to be of any good. Say I will walk briskly 15 minutes a day, or I will walk briskly 2 miles per day 4 days a week. With weight loss, I will lose how ever many pounds you need to lose. Lets say 50 for the long term. But in the short term, break that down to 5 pound incremental short term goals and only concentrate on those until you get to your long term goal. Learn to make your world small in order to reduce stress which leads to binge eating. The less mental clutter in your life, the less stress you will have in order to fully commit yourself to a life style of health and wellness.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Type 2 diabetes is a damn serious condition, yet it is not uncommon to encounter people who have it which act as if it is of no true concern to them. At least in the moment that is. It is astounding to see how for some, the prospect of a high carb meal far outweighs their overall concern for the very real harm that increase of blood sugar is doing with in their body. I have personally known diabetics that will monitor their blood sugar and then proceed to consume a carbohydrate rich meal, or go out for a night of drinking. This is ignorance in the least, and stupidity at the worst. Sadly, most of the people I have known who do not take their diabetes seriously, are the most surprised when they begin losing their toes, feet and or vision. This is a real and common issue that I do not always have much sympathy for. Afterall, if you know the risks of continuing an unhealthy diet, yet proceed to do so anyhow, it is your fault when you begin losing body parts and vision. You have to take personal responsibility for your health and wellbeing as no one else is going to do it for you, and that includes your doctor. Your doctor may give you medications, but it is up to you to actually do what is right for yourself.

What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

I can live without a toe. I could survive just fine with a modern style leg or foot prosthetic. But, I can not imagine living the rest of my life blind, can you?

Diabetic Retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that affects your eyes. It’s caused by damage to the blood vessels of the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye (retina).

In the beginning stages, diabetic retinopathy may not cause you to experience any symptoms or you may only experience mild vision problems.  Eventually, it can lead to your blindness. Diabetic Retinopathy can develop in anyone who has type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The longer you have diabetes and the less controlled your blood sugar is, the more likely you are to develop this eye complication. When you continue to eat a high carb diet as a diabetic, you really need to ask yourself if what you are about to consume is actually worth your vision tomorrow. If a high carb snack is worth blindness to you, then knock yourself out I guess, just do not whine about your condition when it actually has a negative impact on your life. You did it to yourself!

Diabetic Retinopathy is caused over a period of time when too much sugar in your blood leads to the blockage of the tiny blood vessels that nourish the retina, thereby shutting off the blood supply to them. As a result, your eyes attempt to grow new blood vessels. The problem is, these new blood vessels don’t develop properly and can easily leak.

Think about this the next time you are snarfing down an extra large value meal with a milkshake or soda at your local fast food joint.

Can you imagine losing the ability to look into the eyes of your loved ones?

Would you miss this emotional connection with your children or grandchildren?

There are two types of diabetic retinopathy:

  • Early diabetic retinopathy. In this more common form — called nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) — new blood vessels aren’t growing (proliferating).When you have NPDR, the walls of the blood vessels in your retina weaken. Tiny bulges (microaneurysms) protrude from the vessel walls of the smaller vessels, sometimes leaking fluid and blood into the retina. Larger retinal vessels can begin to dilate and become irregular in diameter, as well. NPDR can progress from mild to severe, as more blood vessels become blocked.Nerve fibers in the retina may begin to swell. Sometimes the central part of the retina (macula) begins to swell (macular edema), a condition that requires treatment.
  • Advanced diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy can progress to this more severe type, known as proliferative diabetic retinopathy. In this type, damaged blood vessels close off, causing the growth of new, abnormal blood vessels in the retina, and can leak into the clear, jelly-like substance that fills the center of your eye (vitreous).Eventually, scar tissue stimulated by the growth of new blood vessels may cause the retina to detach from the back of your eye. If the new blood vessels interfere with the normal flow of fluid out of the eye, pressure may build up in the eyeball. This can damage the nerve that carries images from your eye to your brain (optic nerve), resulting in glaucoma. (1)

Poor control of blood sugar and high blood pressure can increase your risk of developing Diabetic Retinopathy. Anyone who has diabetes can develop this condition and the longer you have diabetes, the greater your risk of developing it becomes.

 Complications of Diabetic Retinopathy can lead to serious vision problems:

  • Vitreous hemorrhage. The new blood vessels may bleed into the clear, jelly-like substance that fills the center of your eye. If the amount of bleeding is small, you might see only a few dark spots (floaters). In more-severe cases, blood can fill the vitreous cavity and completely block your vision.Vitreous hemorrhage by itself usually doesn’t cause permanent vision loss. The blood often clears from the eye within a few weeks or months. Unless your retina is damaged, your vision may return to its previous clarity.
  • Retinal detachment. The abnormal blood vessels associated with diabetic retinopathy stimulate the growth of scar tissue, which can pull the retina away from the back of the eye. This may cause spots floating in your vision, flashes of light or severe vision loss.
  • Glaucoma. New blood vessels may grow in the front part of your eye and interfere with the normal flow of fluid out of the eye, causing pressure in the eye to build up (glaucoma). This pressure can damage the nerve that carries images from your eye to your brain (optic nerve).
  • Blindness. Eventually, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma or both can lead to complete vision loss. (1)

Diabetes doesn’t necessarily have to lead to a loss of your vision. By making the choice to take an active role in your diabetes management, you can go a long way towards the prevention of complications.  Regular eye exams, good control of your blood sugar and blood pressure, and early intervention for vision problems can help prevent severe vision loss. Once you get this terrible complication from diabetes, you are not going to get over it, there is no cure. Surgery often slows or stops the progression of diabetic retinopathy, but that is a best case scenario as it’s not a cure.

Manage your diabetes.

Make healthy eating habits and physical activity part of your lifestyle! Try to get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. Take oral diabetes medications or insulin as directed.

Monitor your blood sugar level.

You may need to check and record your blood sugar level several times a day — more-frequent measurements may be required if you’re ill or under stress. Ask your doctor how often you need to test your blood sugar. But do not be a fool and use a good reading as justification to eat or drink those high carb foods you know that you should avoid!

Ask your doctor about a glycosylated hemoglobin test.

The glycosylated hemoglobin test, or hemoglobin A1C test, reflects your average blood sugar level for the two- to three-month period before the test. For most people, the A1C goal is to be under 7 percent.

Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control.

Eating healthy foods, exercising regularly and losing excess weight can help. Sometimes medication is needed too, but not always.

If you smoke or use other types of tobacco, ask your doctor to help you quit.

 Smoking increases your risk of various diabetes complications, including Diabetic Retinopathy.

Pay attention to vision changes.

Contact your eye doctor right away if you experience sudden vision changes or your vision becomes blurry, spotty or hazy.

(1) MayoClinic.org

Pregnancy and Diabetes

Sad But True

I will never forget one specific day in nursing school. I was assisting with a woman in labor and the fetal heart rate kept climbing. I went to the Charge Nurse repeatedly to report my findings and she said “Okay.” as she sat quietly and read a magazine. Although I continually prodded her to take action, she did not. After a couple of hours, that baby was stillborn. The nurse was fired and appropriate legal action ensued. I had done the right thing but she had not. She was a nurse with an advanced degree and she did nothing to intervene in this situation. That was a long time ago and even as a student nurse, I knew that the mother and the baby were at risk when I read the chart. The mother was diabetic and as a result of the elevated blood sugar, the baby had grown excessively to 11 pounds. There wasn’t enough room for the baby to move around during labor and the cord had gotten wrapped around his neck which led to suffocation.

Risks

  • Women with uncontrolled diabetes have a higher risk of miscarriage and stillbirth. Managing your blood sugar reduces this risk but when blood sugar is uncontrolled, there is a greater risk of both.
  • Premature birth- Women with diabetes are more likely to go into preterm labor.
  • Birth defects are more common in diabetic mothers. Close regulation of the blood sugar before and during early pregnancy greatly reduces the risk of birth defects, especially those of the brain, spine and heart.
  • Excess fetal growth-Persistently high blood sugar levels allows extra glucose to cross the placenta and that can cause the baby to be much larger than usual. When the baby is too big it makes a vaginal delivery difficult, increasing the likelihood of a cesarean delivery and increases the risk of the baby being injured during birth.
  • Urinary Tract Infections and yeast infections are more common in diabetic mothers. Achieving a stable blood sugar can help you to avoid these conditions and help to protect you from kidney disease.
  • Hypoglycemia can develop in the newborn baby of a diabetic mother because the baby may be producing too much insulin in utero. Good blood sugar management can help prevent this and also help ensure that the baby has healthy calcium and magnesium levels. (1)

Resolution

If you are diabetic, work with your doctor to develop a plan for a healthy pregnancy. If you are not diabetic, take action to avoid becoming diabetic, especially if you are planning on having a baby. Adult-onset diabetes, or Type 2, is considered preventable. Lose excess weight, get active and eat a healthy diet that consists of whole foods. Avoid added sugars, other simple carbs and processed foods that supply low quality nutrition. Always consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program. Go to our Home Page to get started on the road to being healthy. Being overweight or obese is also linked to gestational diabetes that can occur during pregnancy because your body can’t make enough insulin to accommodate the changes of the pregnancy. Gaining too much weight during pregnancy can also contribute to the formation of this dangerous disease. While there may be a genetic tendency to develop gestational diabetes, maintaining a healthy weight before and after conception, eating well and exercising regularly can all reduce the risk.

(1) https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/pregnancy-and-diabetes/art-20044621#:~:text=Keeping%20your%20blood%20sugar%20in%20range%20reduces%20your%20risk%20of,Prevent%20complications%20for%20baby.

Artificial Sweeteners Effect on Insulin and Blood Sugar

A couple questions I get asked from time to time is about artificial sweeteners effect on insulin levels and do they have any impact on blood sugar. This topic has been brought up by a few people who believe that artificial sweeteners are just as bad, or possibly worse than refined sugar for diabetics. So let me delve into this…

Artificial sweeteners effect on blood sugar.

Artificial sweeteners, also called sugar substitutes, low-calorie sweeteners or nonnutritive sweeteners do not affect your blood sugar level. In fact, most artificial sweeteners are considered “free foods” — foods containing less than 20 calories and 5 grams or less of carbohydrates — because they don’t count as calories or carbohydrates on a diabetes exchange. If you are diabetic you can use most sugar substitutes  including:

Saccharin (Sweet’N Low)

Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal)

Acesulfame potassium (Sunett)

Sucralose (Splenda)

Stevia (Pure Via, Truvia)

However, you need to always bear in mind that other ingredients in foods containing artificial sweeteners can still affect your blood sugar level. You still need to fully read food labels if you have concerns about your blood sugar. Because of the misperception that foods are healthier when they are sugar-free,  some people end up consuming more than they should and still have weight problems as a result of this. A good many sugar free sweet treats are still void of any real nutritional value and are full of empty calories.

But what about sugar alcohols effect on blood sugar?

Sugar alcohols are a category of sweet carbohydrates. Since sugar alcohols are partially resistant to digestion, they act like dietary fiber. As the name implies, they are like hybrids of sugar molecules and alcohol molecules, yet they do not contain any ethanol. Sugar alcohols are safe for people who misuse alcohol.

Several sugar alcohols are found naturally in fruits and vegetables. However, most are processed from other sugars, such as from glucose in cornstarch. Because sugar alcohols have a similar chemical structure as sugar, they activate the sweet taste receptors on your tongue. Unlike artificial and low-calorie sweeteners, sugar alcohols do contain calories, just fewer than plain sugar

Most sugar alcohols have a negligible effect on blood sugar levels. In the case of erythritol and mannitol, the glycemic index is zero. The only exception is maltitol, which has a glycemic index of 36. However, this is still very low compared to sugar and refined carbohydrates. For people with metabolic syndrome, prediabetes or diabetes, sugar alcohols, with the exception of maltitol can be considered excellent alternatives to sugar.

Sugar alcohols are not artificial sweeteners. They are popular as low-calorie sweeteners, yet the main problem with sugar alcohols is that some of them can cause digestive problems, especially when consumed in large amounts. Your body cannot digest most of them, so they travel to the large intestine where they are metabolized by your gut bacteria. If you eat a lot of sugar alcohols in a short period of time, you may experience gas, bloating and diarrhea.

I personally use a lot of Swerve products which is a brand name for Erythritol which is generally considered one of the healthiest sugar alcohols. Erythritol is calorie-free, doesn’t raise blood sugar levels and is far less likely to cause you any digestive upset than the other sugar alcohols.

Artificial sweeteners effects on insulin.

We know that blood sugar levels increase when we eat foods containing carbohydrates. When digested, carbohydrates are broken down into sugar and absorbed into the bloodstream, leading to an increase in blood sugar levels. When our blood sugar levels rise, our body releases insulin.

But, what about when we consume artificial sweeteners?

There is a response known as cephalic phase insulin release which is triggered by the sight, smell, and taste of food, as well as chewing and swallowing. This response causes small amounts of insulin to be released before any sugar enters our bloodstream when we begin eating.

Depending on the type of sweetener, the effect of artificial sweeteners on insulin levels appears to be variable:

Sucralose

Scientists believe sucralose causes insulin increase by triggering sweet taste receptors in the mouth which can cause cephalic phase insulin release. In one study, 17 people were given either sucralose or water and then administered a glucose tolerance test. Those given sucralose had 20% higher blood insulin levels. (1)

Aspartame

Aspartame is perhaps the most well-known and most controversial artificial sweetener. Studies have not linked aspartame with raised insulin levels. (1)

Saccharin

Scientists have investigated whether stimulating the sweet receptors in the mouth with saccharin leads to an increase in insulin levels and have had mixed results.One study found that mouth washing with a saccharin solution (without swallowing) caused insulin levels to rise. Other studies have found no effects. (1)

Acesulfame Potassium

Acesulfame potassium (acesulfame-K) can increase insulin levels in rats. One study in rats looked at how injecting large amounts of acesulfame-K affected insulin levels. They found a massive increase of 114-210%. However, the effect of acesulfame-K on insulin levels in humans is unknown.(1)

The bottom line on artificial sweeteners:

 Sweeteners are among the food additives that create a considerable amount of debate. Artificial sweeteners are considered to be potential high-consumption food additives because of their use in products consumed in large amounts, such as soft drinks, and ‘‘tabletop’’ sweeteners. Although the scientific evidence indicates that the sweeteners permitted for food use are safe, some individuals and organizations remain skeptical about long-term health risks due to their consumption . Studies of artificial sweeteners have had mixed results, with some indicating that people using them eat fewer calories and lose weight or maintain a stable weight. However, in a few studies, artificial sweeteners were associated with weight gain, which might increase the risk of developing insulin resistance which is a condition where the cells in your body do not respond properly to insulin and thus cannot easily absorb glucose from the bloodstream.

Artificial sweeteners have been declared safe by regulatory bodies in the US and Europe. Although they might not be exactly healthy, they are still a far better choice than refined sugar. If you consume them as a part of your diet, there is no good reason for you to refrain from their use if in moderation.

(1) Healthline.com

Is Counting Carbs Enough For a Diabetic

When you are diabetic, is it enough to simply count your carbohydrates out for each meal and snack you consume during the course of your day?

For some diabetics, yes this may be enough. But for others, there is far more to carbohydrates you need to concern yourself with than just the net total.

What is happening when you are not consuming more total carbohydrates than your doctor allows, yet your blood glucose continues to go up anyhow?

First, I advise you to work closely with your doctor on this issue. You may very well require a change to your medications. But, there is also a good chance that you need to adjust your diet too. It could be that despite your carbs being within their allowable limits as a total, you could be consuming foods that are too high on the Glycemic Index. When it comes to some fruits and melons, you might as well be eating spoonfuls of straight table sugar because of the manner in which the natural sugars just dump straight into your bloodstream. Some fruits and melons are low in fiber content which will causes your blood sugar to sky rocket when you consume them.

What is the Glycemic Index? 

Simply put, the glycemic index is a value assigned to foods based on how slowly or how quickly those foods cause increases in blood glucose levels. Foods low on the glycemic index (GI) scale tend to release glucose slowly and steadily. Foods high on the glycemic index release glucose rapidly. For optimum blood sugar control, those who are pre-diabetic or have full-blown diabetes, no matter the type, need to concentrate on consuming low GI foods . People with type 1 diabetes can’t produce sufficient quantities of insulin and those with type 2 diabetes are resistant to insulin. With both types of diabetes, faster glucose release from high GI foods will result in  spikes in blood glucose levels. The slow and steady release of glucose in low-glycemic foods helps maintain good glucose control.

Foods are classified as low, medium, or high glycemic foods and ranked on a scale of 0–100. The lower the GI of a specific food, the less it may affect your blood glucose levels.

Here are the three GI ratings:

Low: 55 or less

Medium: 56–69

High: 70 or above

Foods which are high in refined carbs and sugar are digested quickly and will have a high number on the Glycemic Index, Foods high in protein, fat, or fiber typically have a low number on the Glycemic Index, while foods that contain no carbs are not even assigned a number on the Glycemic Index. These foods that have no assigned “GI” number include meat, fish, poultry, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices, and oils.

If you are diabetic, you also need to keep in mind that there are other factors that affect the GI of a food. These factors include the ripeness, cooking method, type of sugar it contains, and amount of processing it has undergone. When you consume a lot of high GI foods, you may very well find yourself having a difficult time in controlling your blood glucose, even with insulin and diabetes medications. By paying attention to the GI of the foods you consume, you will have a way to determine slower-acting “good carbs” from the faster “bad carbs.” You can use it to fine-tune your carb-counting and help keep your blood glucose more steady as it should be.

The natural control of blood glucose is very complex and can become unbalanced when you have diabetes. It is important to understand what is supposed to happen in your body, and what is different when you have diabetes.

Glucose is a type of sugar you get from the  foods in your diet,  your body uses it for energy. As it travels through your bloodstream to your cells, it’s called blood glucose or blood sugar.

Insulin is the hormone which transfers glucose from your blood into your cells for energy and storage. People with diabetes have higher-than-normal levels of glucose in their blood. Either they don’t have enough insulin to move it through or their cells don’t respond to insulin as well as they should. Either way, having high blood glucose for a long period of time can damage your kidneys, eyes, and other organs.

Glucose mainly comes from the foods you eat which are rich in carbohydrates, such as bread, potatoes, fruit and desserts. When you eat, food travels down to your stomach where acids and enzymes break it down into tiny pieces. During this digestive process, glucose is released. This glucose then enters your intestines where it’s absorbed. From there, it passes into your bloodstream. Once in the blood, your insulin, which is produced by your pancreas, helps this glucose get into your cells.

Our bodies are designed to keep the blood glucose level constant, it is not meant to fluctuate from high to low and all over the map at all. Beta cells in your pancreas monitor your blood glucose level continuously,  therefore when your glucose level rises after you eat, these beta cells release insulin into your bloodstream. Your insulin acts like a key that unlocks muscle, fat, and liver cells in order for glucose to get inside of them. As damaging as too much glucose in the blood can be, most of the cells in your body use glucose along with amino acids and fats for energy. It is the primary source of fuel for our brains. Nerve cells and chemical messengers there need it to help them process information. Without glucose, your brain wouldn’t be able to work.

Once your body has used all the energy it needs, the leftover glucose is stored in little bundles called glycogen in the liver and muscles. Your body can store enough of this glycogen to fuel you for about a day. Once you have not eaten for a few hours, your blood glucose level drops and your pancreas stops churning out insulin. At this time, Alpha cells in the pancreas begin to produce a different hormone called glucagon which signals the liver to break down stored glycogen and turn it back into glucose which travels to your bloodstream  in order to replenish your supply until you’re able to eat again. This is a continuous loop cycle that must be kept in balance through good nutrition for optimal health, especially if you are diabetic.

There are two types of diabetes:

In type 1 diabetes, once known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, your body doesn’t have enough insulin. The immune system attacks and destroys cells of the pancreas, where insulin is made. Different factors, including genetics and some viruses, may contribute to type 1 diabetes. Although type 1 diabetes usually appears during childhood or adolescence, it can develop in adults .Despite world wide, active research, type 1 diabetes has no cure. Treatment focuses on managing blood sugar levels with insulin, diet and lifestyle to prevent complications.

In type 2 diabetes, your body’s cells don’t respond to insulin as they should. Therefore the pancreas needs to make more and more insulin in order to move the glucose from your blood into your cells. With type 2 diabetes, your pancreas is eventually damaged and can’t make enough insulin to meet your body’s needs. Without enough insulin, glucose can’t move into the cells. The blood glucose level stays high which is a condition called hyperglycemia.

Too much glucose in your bloodstream for extended periods of time can damage the vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood to your organs. High blood sugar can increase your risk for:

Heart disease, heart attack, and stroke

Kidney disease

Nerve damage

Eye disease called retinopathy

People with diabetes need to test their blood sugar often. Exercise, diet, and medicine can help keep blood glucose in a healthy range and prevent these complications. It is a sad fact, there are many people who are either ignorant, or apathetic in how to manage their diabetes and blood glucose levels. I personally know more than a couple whose idea of managing blood glucose is a matter of checking their level and then eating what ever they want, and then adjusting their medicine or insulin to adjust instead of  just eating the right foods to adjust their blood glucose in the first place. These people are fools gambling with their health!

Even if you are not diabetic, you are smart to still take your nutrition seriously in order to not become one sometime in the future. Once you have become diabetic, life takes a turn where you must become knowledgeable of your body and diet. It is not enough to think you can just manage your diabetes through medications, that is simply a method of hacking your way to still eating all kinds of carbohydrate laden crap you do not need. Simply counting carbs is not enough when your blood sugar is still rising despite your exercise and medications. You have to analyse everything you eat in order to avoid the condition in the pictures below,or even worse:

 

Diabetic foot ulcer
Diabetic retinopathy

Obesity and Insulin

We are often asked the question by people professing to want to lose weight how they can best go about it. It seems at times, that most are looking for some type of hack, or gimmick, which comes as no surprise when it appears that weight loss hacks and gimmicks are more prevalent than legitimate weight loss plans.

Hacks and gimmicks may work in the short term, but they will always lead you to failure in maintaining weight loss. They fail you because they are not nutritionally sound. They fail you exactly because hacks and gimmicks are for the short term fix, when what you need is a life long solution! There are no short cuts to having a fit and trim body with a healthy percentage of body fat. Nutritional habits need to be a permanent lifestyle, and not something you just want to get through. It is a sad state of affairs when so many people either do not care what is making them fat, or simply just do not know the cause of their obesity. I blame this largely on our education system where nutrition and health are not subjects taught as they used to be when I was in school. This ignorance of basic nutrition is causing a significant rise not only in obesity, but Type 2 Diabetes too. Sadly, we now have children with Type 2 Diabetes when it used to be that you only heard of adults getting it.  More and more people are developing type 2 diabetes during youth. This trend is growing across all racial and ethnic backgrounds.

34.2 million Americans—just over 1 in 10—have diabetes.

88 million American adults—approximately 1 in 3—have prediabetes.

Nearly 20 percent of children and adolescents are obese, a percentage than has more than tripled since the 1970’s. The recent rise in type 2 diabetes is directly related to the rise in obesity rates in the United States.

Our message is SIMPLE!

Quit eating refined sugar, foods with added sugars, and simple carbohydrates except for fruit.  Cut out processed foods as much as you can, and when you cannot avoid a processed food, be sure to make choices that do not have added sugars, unhealthy fats and preservatives. By doing this and only eating whole foods that are nutritionally dense, you will manage to lose weight down to a healthy level of body fat as long as you are not consuming in excess of your daily needs in calories.

The main obstacle we encounter when telling people to quit eating sugar and simple carbs is society’s ignorance of sugar’s effects and their tendency to ignore what it is they do not want to hear. It is not rare that a person who is obese will also be addicted to sugar and simple carbohydrates. They do not want to hear they need to give up that which is making them fat. The addiction to sugar is really no different than the alcoholics addiction to alcohol. Putting it bluntly, if you are not in the frame of mind to give up sugar in order to improve your weight and health, a half hearted effort at weight loss will only result in failure, more obesity, and at some point a poor nutrition related ailment such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome to name a few.

Insulin

Insulin is created and secreted by the pancreas which stores about 200 units of the hormone. People of a healthy weight and good dietary habits will secrete about 25 to 30 units of insulin per day. You might think of insulin as being like a broom, as it sweeps glucose, amino acids and free fatty acids into cells where they are stored as fat and glucose to be used later.

For those at a healthy body fat percentage, blood sugar levels  do not vary much because of the harmonious and compensating actions of insulin and glucagon which is also created by the pancreas. Insulin keeps blood sugar from rising too high, while glucagon prevents blood sugar from falling too low. A healthy and nutritious diet keeps these hormones in harmony with each other. Humans can actually survive without glucagon, but must have insulin on order to survive. For the diabetic, what they need to know and understand is insulin given by injections is not nearly as efficient as the pancreas in supplying a steady stream of insulin for your body’s needs. When you become obese, you stand the risk of becoming insulin deficient or your body becomes insulin resistant. Either way, you are jeopardizing your health and well being. I want to emphasize,

“YOU ARE JEOPARDIZING YOUR HEALTH”.

No one is doing it to you!

After you have consumed carbohydrates, your digestive system breaks down the food. The blood in your intestines will absorb the digested food and as a result your blood sugar will rise. This action stimulates the release of insulin from you pancreas which causes glucose to be stored as fat. Once the blood sugar, or glucose has dropped too low, glucagon is secreted which converts the stored fat into glucose and restores your blood sugar to a normal level. When these two hormones get out of balance, people tend to become obese. Obesity causes increased insulin production as a result of excessive stimulation of the pancreas through over eating. Over eating most often occurs through an over consumption of sugar and simple carbs which only serve to make foods calorie dense and low in nutrition.

Increased insulin levels promote the storage of sugar as glycogen in both the liver and muscle. After proteins and fats are ingested, insulin promotes the storage of protein in muscle and fat in fat cells as triglycerides. Because insulin also prevents the breakdown of glycogen and triglycerides, it becomes almost impossible to lose body fat when your insulin levels are elevated.

Insulin also activates the enzyme, lipoprotein lipase that promotes the removal of triglycerides from the bloodstream and their position in fat cells. Insulin also inhibits hormone sensitive lipase that breaks down stored fats. The net result of these two activities is an increase in stored fat that results in your increased weight and obesity. Insulin is a major hindrance to fat breakdown and is a major facilitator of fat storage. When you are munching away on those cupcakes with icing piled sky high, you are causing your pancreas to pump excessive amounts of insulin. Over time, you may quit producing insulin, or you may become insulin resistant which is a condition where your body has a decreased response to insulin and your fat cells, liver cells, and muscle cells are now insensitive to the circulating insulin in your system.

Obesity is the most common cause of insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes. Whether you want to admit it or not, the power is in your control to not be afflicted with either condition. Yet many refuse to give up their sweet treats in exchange for good health. Obese people without diabetes usually have elevated insulin levels with normal blood sugar levels. However, the obese person with high insulin levels may be well on their way to becoming diabetic. What occurs is their pancreas becomes exhausted from constant stimulation by glucose and will eventually fail which results in diabetes. Obese individuals will also often have elevated insulin levels in both the fasting and fed states. These people will also often have elevated lipoprotein lipase levels which is important in the storage of fat. The result of which is the obese individuals are metabolically ready at all times to store fat from everything they consume. It is not rocket science why an obese individual with an elevated insulin level can not lose weight. But, there is something that can be done about this through first making the personal choice to stand with a strong resolve to do so.

What can be done?

  1.  Get more sleep. A good night’s sleep is important for your health. Several studies have also linked poor sleep to reduced insulin sensitivity. For example, one study in nine healthy volunteers found that getting just four hours of sleep in one night reduced insulin sensitivity and the ability to regulate blood sugar, compared to getting eight and a half hours of sleep.
  2. Exercise more. Regular exercise is one of the best ways to increase insulin sensitivity. It helps move sugar into the muscles for storage and promotes an immediate increase in insulin sensitivity, which lasts 2–48 hours, depending on the exercise. A study of overweight men with and without diabetes found that when participants performed resistance training over a three-month period, their insulin sensitivity increased, independent of other factors like weight loss.
  3. Reduce stress. Stress affects your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar. It encourages the body to go into “fight-or-flight” mode, which stimulates the production of stress hormones like cortisol and glucagon. These hormones break down glycogen into glucose, which enters your bloodstream for your body to use as a quick source of energy. Unfortunately, ongoing stress keeps your stress hormone levels high, stimulating nutrient breakdown while increasing blood sugar. Stress hormones make the body more insulin resistant.
  4. Lose weight. Excess weight, especially in the belly area, reduces insulin sensitivity and increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. People with prediabetes who lost 5–7% of their total weight over six months reduced their risk of type 2 diabetes by 54% for the next three years.
  5. Eat more fiber. Fiber can be divided into two broad categories — soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fiber mostly acts as a bulking agent to help stool move through the bowels. Meanwhile, soluble fiber is responsible for many of fiber’s associated benefits, like lowering cholesterol and reducing appetite. Several studies have found a link between high soluble fiber intake and increased insulin sensitivity. For example, a study in 264 women found that those who ate more soluble fiber had significantly lower levels of insulin resistance. Soluble fiber also helps feed the friendly bacteria in your gut, which have been linked to increased insulin sensitivity. Foods that are rich in soluble fiber include legumes, oatmeal, flax seeds, vegetables like Brussels sprouts and fruits like oranges.
  6. Eat your fruits and vegetables. Colorful fruits and vegetables are rich in plant compounds that help increase insulin sensitivity. But be careful not to eat too much fruit in a single sitting, as some types are high in sugar.
  7. Watch your intake of carbohydrates. Carbs are the main stimulus that causes insulin blood levels to rise. Reducing your carb intake will help increase insulin sensitivity. That’s because high-carb diets tend to lead to spikes in blood sugar, which put more pressure on the pancreas to remove sugar from the blood. Spreading your carb intake evenly throughout the day is another way to increase insulin sensitivity. Eating smaller portions of carbs regularly throughout the day provides the body with less sugar at each meal, making insulin’s job easier. This is also supported with research showing that eating regularly benefits insulin sensitivity. The type of carbs you choose is also important. Low-glycemic index (GI) carbs are best, since they slow the release of sugar into the blood, giving insulin more time to work efficiently. Carb sources that are low-GI include sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa and some varieties of oatmeal.
  8. Quit eating sugar and or foods with added sugars! There’s a big difference between added sugars and natural sugars. Natural sugars are found in sources like plants and vegetables, both of which provide lots of other nutrients. Conversely, added sugars are found in more highly processed foods. The two main types of sugar added during the production process are high-fructose corn syrup and table sugar, also known as sucrose. Both contain approximately 50% fructose. Many studies have found that higher intakes of fructose can increase insulin resistance among people with diabetes. The effects of fructose on insulin resistance also appear to affect people who don’t have diabetes, as reported in an analysis of 29 studies including a total of 1,005 normal and overweight or obese participants. The findings showed that consuming a lot of fructose over less than 60 days increased liver insulin resistance, independent of total calorie intake. Foods that contain lots of added sugar are also high in fructose. This includes candy, sugar-sweetened beverages, cakes, cookies and pastries.

Obesity and insulin levels are within your control if you make the choice to do something about both. We know that insulin is an important hormone that has many roles in the body, and that when your insulin sensitivity is low, it puts pressure on your pancreas to increase insulin production to clear sugar from your blood. Low insulin sensitivity will result in chronically high blood sugar levels, which are known to increase your risk of many diseases, including diabetes and heart disease. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to naturally increase your insulin sensitivity.

You just have to decide which is more important, a cupcake or your health and well being.

Choose wisely!

Taking Type 2 Diabetes Too Lightly

Besides researching and writing articles for my website while also maintaining corresponce with many of our readers, I am also a full time trucker who transports and delivers industrial and construction supplies for a large nationwide company – got to keep the bills paid and I need the health insurance. As a part of my job, I sometimes have had to operate with a co-driver when my route was going to exceed a 14 hour work day. Running as a team is usually not a problem since  one driver is normally asleep in the bunk while the other works their shift. But then, sometimes running as a team is the real pits. I am happy to say that I am now on a dedicated solo route where my work days are only about 11 to 12 hours. In case you are wondering – yes, I am a very busy man!

A while back I had a new driver going out on the road with me on a route that would have us on the road about 19 hours before returning to our hub. I met the driver on our loading dock, and suggested we stroll down to the break room to get a cup of coffee and get a little acquainted before venturing out on the open road together. As I was filling my coffee cup I watched as my new co-driver strolled over to the vending machines. He then began plopping money into the machines and loading his pockets with several snacks like cookies, powder sugar donuts, chips and a couple of soda pops. My assumption was that he had not brought a lunch box to eat from while on the road. However, once we settled into the my truck, I noticed he had brought food for the road. “What a chow hound” I could not help to think. Of course this was not really a surprise since he was a considerably obese driver.

Now, you might be thinking it is none of my business how another eats. I would respectfully disagree if so!

Being as this was my assigned route at the time, I had it already mapped out to where my co-driver and I would switch our duty statuses. I would drive and deliver freight through the first 8 hours, about 450 miles, and unload our freight at the biggest of our stops. After all, this was my designated route and responsibility. At the end of my eight hours on duty, we switched.

Once my new co-driver got behind the wheel, he immediately began eating the contents of his lunch box. His snacks were already gone – this should be none of my business how he eats…

I told him where on the map he could get us to in 8 hours in order for us to switch status once again, and I would finish driving us back for the final leg of the route. All he had to do was drive and make two very short stops.  There should be nothing difficult about getting to the destination as I had already run over 100,000 miles on this route. This was a routine run for me. I climbed into the sleeper berth, set my alarm to get up in 7.5 hours, pulled the curtains closed to block out all light, laid down and went fast asleep. To my dismay, when I got up we were not anywhere close to the destination I wanted him to reach and there was fast food trash on the floor of my cab. To my dismay is actually not an accurate word for how I felt. I was actually pretty pissed, This guy had consumed all of his snacks, he had eaten all the food in his lunch box, and then parked our semi with a 53 foot trailer somewhere where he could run into a fast food joint to buy more food, and we were about  one and a half hours behind where we should have been. I directed him to pull into a roadside service area where we could use the restroom and switch up our duty statuses. I was out of the cab for maybe 5 minutes at best, and sat and waited about another 15 minutes before he climbed into the passenger seat with another bag full of fast food. Two quarter pound cheese burgers, large fries, large Coke and a chocolate chip cookie to be exact. As I turned to read him the riot act for putting us so far behind, I watched as he pulled up the sleeve of his shirt and passed his smart phone over a device attached to his arm. I asked him what he was doing and he informed me that was how he tracks his blood sugar levels in order to manage his diabetes! The problem with this is instead of truly managing his diabetes, he has learned to hack his way through in order to continue eating all the high carbohydrate junk food he wants. The effects of diabetes can be mitigated through a diet where the intake of carbohydrates is controlled. You should never try to control it through eating all the carbs you want with the thought that all you have to do is take a pill or two or three to keep you straight. A huge part of managing type 2 diabetes is developing a healthy diet. You need to eat nutritionally sound foods that help you be healthy instead of calorie dense, low nutrition foods. You cannot just take as much Metformin as you want to justify eating like crap. In fact, under certain conditions, too much metformin can cause lactic acidosis. The symptoms of lactic acidosis are severe and quick to appear, and usually occur when other health problems not related to the medicine are present and are very severe, such as a heart attack or kidney failure. Symptoms of lactic acidosis include abdominal or stomach discomfort, decreased appetite, diarrhea, fast or shallow breathing, a general feeling of discomfort, severe muscle pain or cramping, and unusual sleepiness, tiredness, or weakness. Why would any thinking person believe they can take large doses of this medication in a day and then get behind the wheel of a semi truck is beyond me. They are not only risking their own lives, but that of others on the road.

Metformin can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Low blood sugar must be treated before it causes you to pass out.  It can also cause Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) if you do not take enough or skip a dose of your medicine, overeat or do not follow your meal plan, have a fever or infection, or do not exercise much. High and low blood sugar can be very serious conditions. Low blood sugar must be treated right away.

Type 2 diabetes is a serious condition that can have quite detrimental effects on your health and well being. You cannot be cavalier in managing it as a hack to continue eating too many carbohydrates.  In the worst cases, diabetes can kill you. Each week diabetes causes thousands of complications like stroke, amputation, kidney failure, heart attack and heart failure. Diabetes is a serious, chronic disease. In fact, two out of three people with diabetes will die from cardiovascular-related episodes, such as a heart attack or stroke.

It is not enough to think you can just control your diabetes through medication, you must get your nutritional habits under control too. People with type 2 diabetes typically have enough insulin when they’re first diagnosed. The insulin just isn’t working properly. This means the insulin doesn’t cause their cells to absorb glucose from food. Eventually the pancreas may stop producing enough insulin, so they will need injections.

In America, about 25 % of our population are now prediabetic.

Those with prediabetes often produce enough insulin, but the cells of the body are resistant to it. This means the sugar can’t move from the blood into the cells. Over time, the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels in the normal range. This can cause you to progress from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes, yet many will not take this condition serious until they have to. Type 2 diabetes can be easy to ignore, especially in the early stages when you’re feeling fine. The long-term complications of diabetes develop gradually, and they can eventually be disabling or even life-threatening. Some of the potential complications of diabetes include:

  • Heart and blood vessel disease. Diabetes dramatically increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and narrowing of blood vessels (atherosclerosis).
  • Nerve damage (neuropathy). Excess sugar can cause tingling, numbness, burning or pain that usually begins at the tips of the toes or fingers and gradually spreads upward. Eventually, you may lose all sense of feeling in the affected limbs.Damage to the nerves that control digestion can cause problems with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation. For men, erectile dysfunction may be an issue.
  • Kidney damage. Diabetes can sometimes lead to kidney failure or irreversible end-stage kidney disease, which may require dialysis or a kidney transplant.
  • Eye damage. Diabetes increases the risk of serious eye diseases, such as cataracts and glaucoma, and may damage the blood vessels of the retina, potentially leading to blindness.
  • Slow healing. Left untreated, cuts and blisters can become serious infections, which may heal poorly. Severe damage might require toe, foot or leg amputation.
  • Hearing impairment. Hearing problems are more common in people with diabetes.
  • Skin conditions. Diabetes may leave you more susceptible to skin problems, including bacterial and fungal infections.
  • Sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is common in people with type 2 diabetes. Obesity may be the main contributing factor to both conditions. Treating sleep apnea may lower your blood pressure and make you feel more rested, but it’s not clear whether it helps improve blood sugar control.
  • Alzheimer’s disease. Type 2 diabetes seems to increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, though it’s not clear why. The worse your blood sugar control, the greater the risk appears to be.

Prevention

Healthy lifestyle choices can help prevent type 2 diabetes, and that’s true even if you have diabetes in your family. If you’ve already received a diagnosis of diabetes, you can use healthy lifestyle choices to help prevent complications. If you have prediabetes, lifestyle changes can slow or stop the progression to diabetes. A healthy lifestyle includes:

  • Eating healthy foods. Choose foods lower in fat and calories and higher in fiber. Focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
  • Getting active. Aim for a minimum of 30 to 60 minutes of moderate physical activity — or 15 to 30 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity — on most days. Take a brisk daily walk. Ride a bike. Swim laps. If you can’t fit in a long workout, spread your activity throughout the day.
  • Losing weight. If you’re overweight, losing 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can reduce the risk of diabetes. To keep your weight in a healthy range, focus on permanent changes to your eating and exercise habits. Motivate yourself by remembering the benefits of losing weight, such as a healthier heart, more energy and improved self-esteem.
  • Avoiding being sedentary for long periods. Sitting still for long periods can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes. Try to get up every 30 minutes and move around for at least a few minutes.

Take your type 2 diabetes serious, your kids are watching you!

There’s a growing type 2 diabetes problem in our young people. But parents can help turn the tide with healthy changes that are good for the whole family. Until recently, young children and teens almost never got type 2 diabetes, which is why it used to be called adult-onset diabetes. Now, about one-third of American youth are overweight, a problem closely related to the increase in kids with type 2 diabetes, some as young as 10 years old.

Let’s do our part in turning this around…

State of Mind

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Do you have a running reel of negative thoughts  and possible catastrophic outcomes playing constantly  in  your  head? So many  people  do. When we allow negative thoughts to loop continually we are causing a constant release of cortisol, our major stress hormone to be released. The health implications of this are huge. High cortisol levels cause inflammation which lies at the base of almost all major health problems, including heart disease and even some cancers. Skin problems, gastrointestinal issues and depression are often exacerbated by this one habit that is within our control.

People who display optimism tend to have better immune function which affects all disease processes. Learn to control those inner voices of doom to improve your overall health and enjoy your life so much more.

It’s  necessary  to assess your thoughts. If a large majority  of  your  thoughts tend to be negative then you are probably catastrophizing. Do you focus only on the negative? Do you ignore the possible positive outcomes in a given situation? If so, then it’s necessary  to take action to think in more positive  ways.

Humor is a powerful tool in learning  to  lighten up. I refuse to listen to or watch anything that makes me feel bad. Life can be difficult on the best days so why add negative input from negative people who are bent on creating drama? Avoid those people and control your environment to remove negative input from real life people and media. Seek out funny and enlightening media when you are surfing the net or watching T.V. Leave the sad, violent and scary stuff alone. It won’t do anything good.

Get some exercise, with your doctor’s permission. Vigorous exercise can produce endorphins which not only make you feel  better  in the moment but have a positive impact on the brain that makes you feel more able to cope in the long run. You will develop a better body in the process and that always helps our state of mind.

Negative thoughts can lead to binge eating. Binge eating will almost always  keep you from your weight management goals.

Eat a well balanced, healthy diet with adequate amounts of healthy fats such as those found in salmon or walnuts. Avoid sugar because it is a source of empty, excess calories. Sugar will cause you to crave more sugar and eventually forego healthy foods for junk. Your brain has to have proper nutrition to perform optimally. As you eat more and more sugar, the pounds will pile on which will most likely add to your anxiety and depression. Just say “No!”

If your negative thinking is chronic and debilitating you might consider professional counseling. A licensed  therapist can guide you into a better way of thinking that can benefit both body and mind.

Surround  yourself  with positive people and create a life that you love. With time and deliberation and sometimes professional help, you can pull out of the habit of negativity. Your happiness is worth the work.

Hyperinsulinemia and Your Heart

In the same light as our children can drive us crazy with less than intelligent life decisions and defiance, I bet our doctors must go stark raving mad with many of their patients. Think about this; every doctors office across this vast country gets inundated every day with waiting rooms packed full of patients who are ill with self induced maladies that can be prevented through proper nutrition and a little bit of regular exercise.

Joey Bagofdonuts visits his physician’s office on a regular basis with obesity related health issues, and no matter how much his doctor tries to explain how a healthier lifestyle will help Mr. Bagofdonuts, poor Joey continues on with his poor lifestyle choices, hoping his doctor will always be able to fix his health mistakes for him with medicines. Mr. Bagofdonuts, despite being an adult, is little different than a petulant child who always demands that his mother pick up his broken pieces when the game goes bad for him. Mommy then rewards Little Joey with a sweet treat instead of holding him accountable and he has learned nothing, he will go on making poor choices regarding his health. As long as there is a pill to make him feel better, Joey will never be accountable to himself. Folks, if your doctor informs you with information to straighten out your health, it is incumbent that you take the advice to heart instead of being like that petulant child. Medicines and medical procedures are not sweet treats to make you feel good in the moment only to go on about your normal business. No, they are about getting you better so you can go on with a healthier life.once you get better. As what happens to millions of adults every day, Mr. Bagofdonuts eventually ends up with life threatening heart issues or any of many other ailments tied to poor nutrition. It is a damn shame that with all the information in the world available to us in the palm of our hands, as a nation we are the fattest and least healthy of any of our preceding generations. And this, all despite our advances in medical technology.

What is Hyperinsulinemia?

Hyperinsulinemia, is a condition tied to obesity in which there are excess levels of insulin  circulating in the blood relative to the level of glucose. While it is often mistaken for diabetes, hyperinsulinemia can result from a variety of metabolic diseases and conditions. Hyperinsulinemia is also associated with hypertension, glucose intolerance and dyslipidemia. Collectively, these conditions are   known as Metabolic Syndrome. Treatment is typically achieved via diet and exercise, if only the patient will actually do it. Metformin, a diabetes drug, may be used to reduce insulin  levels in some obese patients (typically where obesity is present). However, a healthy diet that is low in simple sugars and processed carbohydrates, high in fiber, and protein is often recommended. Again, as with exercise, this treatment is only good if the patient is compliant.

Hyperinsulinemia and Heart Disease

There are two different diseases which get called “heart disease”. One is Coronary Artery Disease which involves damage to your arteries which lead out of the chambers of your heart, and that feed the muscle of the walls of your heart. The other condition is Coronary Heart Disease which involves damage to the heart itself. It is also known as Ischemic Heart Disease.

Most of the time, Coronary Artery Disease will occur before Coronary Heart disease. The good news is that Coronary Artery Disease can be halted and reversed before your heart itself becomes diseased.

Coronary Artery Disease 

From Mayoclinic.org

Coronary artery disease develops when the major blood vessels that supply your heart with blood, oxygen and nutrients (coronary arteries) become damaged or diseased. Cholesterol-containing deposits (plaque) in your arteries and inflammation are usually to blame for coronary artery disease.

When plaque builds up, it narrows your coronary arteries, decreasing blood flow to your heart. Eventually, the decreased blood flow may cause chest pain (angina), shortness of breath, or other coronary artery disease signs and symptoms. A complete blockage can cause a heart attack.

Because coronary artery disease often develops over decades, you might not notice a problem until you have a significant blockage or a heart attack. 

There are methods you can do for yourself to prevent yourself from getting Coronary Artery Disease in the first place. Each of these methods are in your hands at zero cost if only you choose to make the commitment to yourself:

Quit smoking.

Eat healthy foods.

Exercise regularly.

Lose excess weight.

Reduce stress.

If you need to, but choose not to make healthy lifestyle decisions, Coronary Artery Disease will involve three critical changes.

“Change 1” will be the thickening and narrowing of your arteries. Arteriosclerosis will begin when fatty streaks begin to appear on the walls of your arteries. As the artery walls thicken, the inside diameter of your arteries will become reduced which will have a direct impact on the flow of your blood. This thickening of your arteries is a result of an accumulation of cholesterol and other fats that form plaque.

If you believe that because you are not diabetic, therefore you have no worries about insulin, guess again.

Insulin signals the arterial walls to absorb cholesterol from your blood. When you eat a bunch of sugar laden crap that spikes your insulin and keeps it high all day, every day, you suffer great risk of heart disease and or heart attack. When your blood sugar and insulin levels are out of whack, your body has a more difficult time in healing itself. Sometimes, arteries narrow as a result of your body’s attempt to repair tiny blood vessel injuries. Sometimes, small spontaneous hemorrhages can occur as a result of high insulin. As a result, small fibrous plaques may begin to form. If these become calcified, you then have Hardening of the Arteries, or Arteriosclerosis. To compound this problem, insulin will stimulate cell growth. When your insulin levels are high, the walls of your blood vessels are continually bathed with this excess, the resultant cell growth reduces the inside diameter of your blood vessels where your blood flows through your body. Think of the difference in how well a skinny straw works as opposed to a big straw when trying to drink a thick milkshake. Do you want this happening inside of your blood vessels?

“Change 2” happens when your liver produces more cholesterol as a result of high levels of insulin. Many people do not realize his, but 75% of the cholesterol in your blood is produced by your liver (endogenous cholesterol) and only 25% comes from the foods in your diet (exogenous cholesterol). The type produced by your own liver is much more dangerous to your health than the cholesterol you pick up from eating eggs and such. As insulin prompts your liver to produce an excess of cholesterol extra material for plaque formation within your blood vessels is provided. As this cholesterol produced plaque grows, your arteries continue to become more and more choked off.

“Change 3” The third change which occurs from hyperinsulinemia, or high levels of insulin production, is your body reduces its ability to destroy a cement like substance called fibrin which holds the arterial plaque together in much the same way Portland Cement bonds sand and gravel together to create concrete. When you exercise and consume a healthy diet, your body naturally destroys fibrin. With little to no fibrin, your blood will flow freely throughout your body.

When you eat a nutritionally poor diet and are sedentary, the high levels of insulin present in your body will help create greater levels of fibrin. The result is you will have an increased risk now of your blood forming a clot that will not be able to pass through your narrowed and plaque choked blood vessels. As blood flow becomes reduced to your heart, it will not receive the nourishment and oxygen it requires in order to thrive. At this point, you have now entered into Coronary Heart Disease. Sadly you could have prevented this from ever occurring in the first place if you had only made smarter decisions regarding your dietary habits and made it a point to exercise at least a little bit on a regular basis. Once you have reached this “point of no return” the damage is done and no one is going to be able to pick up the broken pieces for you.

Face it, when we eat a poor diet of calorie dense, low nutrition foods every day, we are doing ourselves harm. Indirectly, we are also causing harm to all of our loved ones too. When we choose to be lazy and to eat foods that are laden with added sugar, simple carbohydrates, preservatives, high levels of sodium and unhealthy fats, we are living in the moment like a child who cannot see past the end of their nose, much less twenty to thirty years into their future, if even that long. When see and hear commercials for this gluttonous lifestyle where portions are constantly growing with our mid sections, we never see the end results often until it is far too late. You can prevent the occurrence of Coronary Artery Disease and even reverse the effects through making a personal choice to be healthy. Once this disease has progressed to Coronary Heart Disease, you are living on borrowed time, where a heart attack can  be likely to occur at an given time. We all know that when a heart attack happens, their will be no need for seeing into tomorrow. There will no longer be a need for medicines or medical procedures. While your family is feeling the pain of grieving and making your funeral plans, you will never have a bad day again to worry about.

Make wise decisions with your health and turn your ship around before it is too late.

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Keep Yourself In Balance

As so many are now days, there is a strong possibility that you are addicted to carbohydrates. You may or may not even know this, but either way, there are a few things you really need to understand about your blood sugar levels and how it can be directly affected by the kinds of food you consume each and every day, and how often during each day you might eat them. You might even think this does not apply to you since you eat a wide variety of foods during the course of your day, but have you ever spent any time reading food labels to know that your variety is indeed a variety? There is a strong possibility that all you consume has the same base ingredients of sugar, sodium, unhealthy fats and preservatives.

Every day we do different acts which really require little to no thought. We brush our teeth, shower, dress ourselves and eat our meals while never considering all the combinations of simple thoughts and motor skills which go into these daily tasks. We often just go through our days on auto-pilot and hope that we can make it through to sundown without any calamities. We go through our day without ever thinking about our vital life functions including our control and regulation of our blood sugar. We have numerous basic functions of life that are all on automatic. That is, until we make poor life choices and thereby throw a wrench into the cogs of the precious life we have been blessed with. Then we are seeking medical attention for medicines and treatments which could have been avoided simply through better life choices. You are responsible for your health, your doctor is not.

When life is grand, and we do not have a care in the world, our body still needs to be properly taken care of through good nutrition and exercise in order to keep all of our working parts in fine order. The most basic elements of day to day living depend on this. There are actions happening in our body’s that require no conscious thought, such as what happens when we eat. As we chew our food, saliva is released to help break it down into simple absorbable elements. When we eat sugar laden foods or any type of high carbohydrate foods that tastes sweet our body releases insulin into the blood stream in anticipation of the coming food energy. This energy is broken down into simple sugar (glucose) which is then absorbed into our blood. The more sugary the foods, the more rapidly the sugar is absorbed into our blood. Our blood sugar, insulin and glucagon must be kept in balance, but unfortunately, too many of us never even attempt to maintain any semblance of balance. For this, we have the current obesity epidemic. When you do not maintain a balance with these basic elements, as your blood sugar continues to rise, you will feel weaker, hungrier, moodier, and less motivated unless the motivation involves eating more crap food. This is why we say to only eat complex carbs and zero sugar. Complex carbohydrates (starches and soluble fiber) take longer to be broken down into sugar in your body. The fiber element acts as a braking mechanism to keep your blood sugar and insulin under control.

When you consume a high carbohydrate diet, especially one of simple carbs, your insulin helps to move the blood sugar to different parts of your body, where it is used or stored away. As our blood sugar rises, our insulin opens our individual cells up in order for the blood sugar to bring them energy for growth, repair, and to allow them to accomplish the work they are designed for such as the contraction of our muscles. Our insulin then signals our liver and muscles to store away a small portion of the remaining blood sugar for future use. This remaining blood sugar is converted to first, blood fat, and then it is stored into our body as the fat in our fat cells. Because of the lack of balance which comes from undisciplined eating, we are a now a nation predominately populated by over weight or obese individuals. We must keep our body in balance in order to function as healthy beings. You might believe your gut is posing no problems for you, but aesthetics aside, you and I both know this is a bullshit way of thinking.

You should know there are functions within your body that take place without your control, except for you being able to control what it is you put into your mouth. You have control over the balancing act that must be maintained.

When your blood sugar levels begin to drop over time or from activity, your liver makes a small reserve available for your body’s use. As the liver’s stores begin to be depleted, rising levels of the hormone glucagon begin to signal fat cells to open and contribute to your energy needs. This action is what burns off your body fat. If your blood sugar level seems to never drop because of the sweet treats you eat continuously during the day, your glucagon never gets the opportunity to open your fat cells for energy, therefore you will continue to remain obese. It matters not who or what you are, this is very basic human biology that you cannot ignore without health consequences at some point in your life. Sadly, these consequences that used to only be seen in adults, such as metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure are now being seen in children.

When you eat an excess of simple carbs and sugar laden foods you will continuously have high insulin levels which lead to intense cravings for more sweet foods. The more you give in to this, the more imbalanced your body will be. If you continue to give in to the cravings, you will likely find yourself with type 2 diabetes.

While we recommend you to still consume complex carbohydrates, we are adamant that you should quit eating sugar and simple carbs all together. The only caveat to this is fruit. Fruit is a simple carb, but as there is a fiber component to it, fruit does not pose the same problems as simple carbs without fiber. Know that as with any type addiction, an addiction to carbohydrates will take about ten days, give or take a few, to get past. Once you get past the cravings which come from simple carbohydrates, it becomes much easier to control your appetite. If you maintain a diet during weight loss that is higher in protein while still consuming complex carbohydrate foods, you will find yourself staying satiated much longer through out the day than you would when eating sugary foods. While you will still get hungry, the hunger will be more of a mild annoyance than a bothersome craving.

Suffering obesity and all the ailments which accompany it are a matter of your personal life choices. You, and you alone are responsible to maintain the balance that your body requires for optimal health. It is not anyone else’s fault when you contract type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or metabolic syndrome. It is all on you and the responsibility to get well if you have fallen to these conditions are not your doctors responsibility to repair. It will only be your own blood on your own hands when your health goes south on you.

Live well, keep yourself in balance.