Tag: diabetes

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

Foods That Help Blood Sugar

Are you prone to getting headaches on a regular basis?

Do you go through life feeling feeling sluggish and fatigued all the time?

If so,  these symptoms can be easily blamed on the day to day stress of work and raising a family, but there may be another cause to your daily misery. It is quite easy to place the blame for how you feel on outside stressors, but maybe you should take a look at yourself and what you feed your body with. If you fuel your body with bad fuel, it is going to be just like your car when it is fueled with bad gas. It is going to be under powered and it will run badly. Even if you are not diabetic, choosing poor foods to fuel your body is going to make you feel rundown over time. Hyperglycemia can, and does affect people who are not yet diabetic. When you begin your day with donuts and sugary coffee drinks, and then continue to snack on high carbohydrate foods during the day, you are setting yourself up to feeling like dirt after the initial feel good sensation that comes from the consumption of simple carbs.

When you give up eating high carb, low nutrition foods there will always be people who insist you should lighten up and enjoy life by having a slice of cake. These family and friends may have good intentions, but there is a  simple fact that escapes them. Maybe it is a concept they either can’t or possibly refuse to understand – for those of us who do not eat sugar filled foods, we actually do enjoy a better quality of life without sugar. If consuming something makes you feel bad, why the hell would you accept it in the first place. It’s like purposely hitting your own thumb with a hammer, it is not going to feel good and you did it to yourself!

There are lots of folks running around with their glucose levels spiking, and they don’t even know it.  These spikes are a problem because high blood sugar levels, especially when prolonged, can contribute to cardiovascular disease risk and a person’s tendencies to develop insulin resistance, which is a common precursor to diabetes. Often people who are prediabetic have no idea they’re prediabetic. In fact, this is the case about 90 percent of the time. It’s a big deal, as about 70 percent of people who are prediabetic will eventually develop the disease. Some doctors won’t tell you how important your blood glucose control is as a non-diabetic. I will.

The reason your doctor may fail to tell you this is mainly because it is generally thought that until a diagnosis of diabetes is made, you are assumed to be metabolically competent. And of course, many, if not most people will not pay heed until they feel they have to anyhow.

But that is not always the case.

In actual fact, this is the reason why a lot of prediabetes cases are missed. Prediabetes is the abnormal metabolic stage before type 2 diabetes actually bites.

Before the prediabetes stage, you also develop insulin resistance which is largely silent as well. Doctors don’t always pay enough attention to metabolic health in a run-of-the-mill consultation even if the consultation is for a wellness overview. The reality is, if you eat poorly and especially if you have a weight problem, you do not need a doctor to tell you this, deep down you know why you feel bad. It is up to you to make the personal choice to make yourself feel better, and here are some foods that will help you to get there:

Fatty fish is one of the healthiest foods on the planet.

Salmon, sardines, herring, anchovies and mackerel are great sources of the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, which have major benefits for heart health. Getting enough of these fats on a regular basis is especially important for those who have an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. DHA and EPA protect the cells that line your blood vessels, reduce markers of inflammation and improve the way your arteries function after eating. A number of observational studies suggest that people who eat fatty fish regularly have a lower risk of heart failure and are less likely to die from heart disease.

Leafy green vegetables are extremely nutritious and low in calories.

They’re also very low in digestible carbs, which raise your blood sugar levels. Spinach, kale and other leafy greens are good sources of several vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C.

In one study, increasing vitamin C intake reduced inflammatory markers and fasting blood sugar levels for people with type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure.

In addition, leafy greens are good sources of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin.

These antioxidants protect your eyes from macular degeneration and cataracts, which are common diabetes complication.

Eggs provide amazing health benefits.

In fact, they’re one of the best foods for keeping you full for hours. Regular egg consumption may also reduce your heart disease risk in several ways. Eggs decrease inflammation, improve insulin sensitivity, increase your “good” HDL cholesterol levels and modify the size and shape of your “bad” LDL cholesterol. In one study, people with type 2 diabetes who consumed 2 eggs daily as part of a high-protein diet had improvements in cholesterol and blood sugar levels. In addition, eggs are one of the best sources of lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that protect the eyes from disease.

Just be sure to eat whole eggs. The benefits of eggs are primarily due to nutrients found in the yolk rather than the white.

Oatmeal is a popular breakfast food made from oat groats, which are oat kernels with the husks removed.

Oatmeal is said to have a low glycemic index, which can help maintain blood sugar levels. Moreover, it can also reduce the amount of insulin a patient needs. Oat’s are a good source of long-term energy, and helps in regulating digestion, which is one of the most important factors in keeping blood sugar in check. They are also helpful in weight management, thanks to the presence of fiber, which is digested slowly, leaving you feeling fuller for longer, further preventing you from overeating.

Chia seeds are a wonderful food for people watching their blood sugar.

They’re extremely high in fiber, yet low in digestible carbs.In fact, 11 of the 12 grams of carbs in a 28-gram (1-oz) serving of chia seeds are fiber, which doesn’t raise blood sugar. The viscous fiber in chia seeds can actually lower your blood sugar levels by slowing down the rate at which food moves through your gut and is absorbed. Chia seeds may help you achieve a healthy weight because fiber reduces hunger and makes you feel full. In addition, fiber can decrease the amount of calories you absorb from other foods eaten at the same meal. Additionally, chia seeds have been shown to reduce blood pressure and inflammatory markers.

Greek yogurt is a great dairy choice.

It’s been shown to improve blood sugar control and reduce heart disease risk, perhaps partly due to the probiotics it contains. Studies have found that yogurt and other dairy foods may lead to weight loss and improved body composition in people with type 2 diabetes.It’s believed that dairy’s high calcium and conjugated linolic acid (CLA) content may play a role.

What’s more, Greek yogurt contains only 6–8 grams of carbs per serving, which is lower than conventional yogurt. It’s also higher in protein, which promotes weight loss by reducing appetite and decreasing calorie intake.

Nuts are delicious and nutritious.

All types of nuts contain fiber and are low in digestible carbs, although some have more than others. Here are the amounts of digestible carbs per 1-oz (28-gram) serving of nuts:

  • Almonds: 2.6 grams
  • Brazil nuts: 1.4 grams
  • Cashews: 7.7 grams
  • Hazelnuts: 2 grams
  • Macadamia: 1.5 grams
  • Pecans: 1.2 grams
  • Pistachios: 5 grams
  • Walnuts: 2 grams

Research on a variety of different nuts has shown that regular consumption may reduce inflammation and lower blood sugar, HbA1c and LDL levels.

Flaxseeds are an incredibly healthy food.

A portion of their insoluble fiber is made up of lignans, which can decrease heart disease risk and improve blood sugar control. In one study, people with type 2 diabetes who took flaxseed lignans for 12 weeks had a significant improvement in hemoglobin A1c. Flaxseeds are very high in viscous fiber, which improves gut health, insulin sensitivity and feelings of fullness.

Your body can’t absorb whole flaxseeds, so purchase ground seeds or grind them yourself. It’s also important to keep flaxseeds tightly covered in the refrigerator to prevent them from going rancid.

Strawberries are one of the most nutritious fruits you can eat.

They’re high in antioxidants known as anthocyanins, which give them their red color. Anthocyanins have been shown to reduce cholesterol and insulin levels after a meal. They also improve blood sugar and heart disease risk factors in type 2 diabetes. A one-cup serving of strawberries contains 49 calories and 11 grams of carbs, three of which are fiber. This serving also provides more than 100% of the RDI for vitamin C, which provides additional anti-inflammatory benefits for heart health.

Garlic is a delicious herb with impressive health benefits.

Several studies have shown it can reduce inflammation, blood sugar and LDL cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes. It may also be very effective at reducing blood pressure.In one study, people with uncontrolled high blood pressure who took aged garlic for 12 weeks averaged a 10-point decrease in blood pressure.

One clove of raw garlic contains only 4 calories and 1 gram of carbs.

Squash is one of the healthiest vegetables around.

Winter varieties have a hard shell and include acorn, pumpkin and butternut. Summer squash has a soft peel that can be eaten. The most common types are zucchini and Italian squash. Like most vegetables, squash contains beneficial antioxidants. Many types of winter squash are high in lutein and zeaxanthin, which protect against cataracts and macular degeneration.

Diabetes is currently the seventh leading cause of death in the United States—and studies show that deaths related to diabetes may be under-reported! Today, 1 in 10 U.S. adults has diabetes, and if trends continue, 1 in 5 will have it by 2025.

An additional 88 million U.S. adults – 1 in 3 – have prediabetes, which means their blood sugar is higher than normal, but not high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes. Without intervention, many people with prediabetes could develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years.

 

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…

Know Your Carbs

I sometimes find it simply incredulous that in this modern world, where all the information known to mankind can be found right in the phone in our hand, there is so little knowledge of basic nutrition. Don’t believe me? Then check out any of the big weight loss forums such as Weight Watchers Connect, My Fitness Pal or Spark People to name just a few. Many people have little to no idea what makes them fat, nor can they figure out how to lose it. We see evidence of this here at David’s Way to Health and Fitness too when we receive private emails from our readers wanting specific advice to help them lose weight. We encounter people almost daily who have no understanding of macronutrients and the role they play in our bodies. It is not uncommon for the question to arise regarding just what is the difference between sugar, simple and complex carbohydrates. It gives me a laugh when I have people tell me that my methodology is too restrictive because I advise to not eat sugar and simple carbs, only for them to tell me they are just going to do “My Keto:.

This in itself tells me they have little understanding of nutrition. And, what in the world is the difference between “My Keto” and just doing Keto anyway…

What are carbohydrates?  

Carbohydrates are forms of sugars, fibers, and starches. They can be found in a wide array of both healthy and unhealthy foods—bread, beans, milk, popcorn, potatoes, cookies, spaghetti, soft drinks, corn, and cherry pie.  Foods high in carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy diet as they provide the body with glucose, which is converted to energy used to support bodily functions and physical activity.

The healthiest sources are complex carbohydrates which come from unprocessed or minimally processed whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans. These foods promote good health by delivering vitamins, minerals, fiber, and a host of important phytonutrients. Unhealthy sources of carbohydrates, or simple carbs, include added sugars, white bread, pastries, sodas, and other highly processed or refined foods.  These items contain easily digested carbohydrates that may contribute to weight gain, interfere with weight loss, and promote diabetes and heart disease.

Simple Carbs are simplistic nutrition!

Simple carbs are sugars. While some of these occur naturally in milk, most of the simple carbs in the American diet are added to foods.

Common simple carbs added to foods include:

raw sugar

brown sugar

corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup

glucose, fructose, and sucrose

fruit juice concentrate

When metabolized, carbohydrates get broken down and turn into sugar. The hormone insulin gets produced by the pancreas and takes sugar from the blood to the cells to use for energy. Because simple or refined carbohydrates, such as white breads and sweets, have little to no fiber content, they are broken down more quickly, creating a faster blood sugar surge and placing more demand on the pancreas. When you have diabetes, either your pancreas isn’t making enough insulin or the insulin it is making isn’t being used efficiently. Over time, excess stress on the pancreas can cause it to burn out, making it difficult to keep up with the glucose load, resulting in high blood sugars. Having too much sugar in the blood for long periods of time can cause serious health problems if it’s not treated. Hyperglycemia can damage the vessels that supply blood to vital organs, which can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, kidney disease, vision problems, and nerve problems. For these reasons along with the addictive nature of simple carbohydrates, we recommend not consuming them at all. I can guarantee when you get completely off of sugar and simple carbs, you will find that you feel much better and that weight loss comes easy.

Complex Carbohydrates are smart nutrition.

Complex carbs pack in far more nutrients than simple carbs. They’re higher in fiber and digest more slowly. This also makes them more filling, which means they’re a good option for weight control. In limited quantities, they are also ideal for people with type 2 diabetes because the fiber component helps manage blood sugar spikes after meals. Fiber and starch are the two types of complex carbohydrates. Fiber is especially important because it promotes bowel regularity and helps to control cholesterol.

The main sources of dietary fiber include:

fruits

vegetables

nuts

beans

whole grains

For better blood sugar control its best to choose more complex carbohydrates, rich in fiber such as whole grains, beans, sweet potatoes, etc. These types of carbohydrates produce a slower glucose rise. In addition, these types of foods are also more nutrient and fiber-rich, making them better choices for weight loss and overall health.

Do not assume you can pig out on complex carbs just because they are healthier than simple carbs!

While  complex carbohydrates are certainly healthier than simple carbs, you cannot eat an endless amount without negatively impacting your blood sugars. The quantity of carbohydrates is just as important as which carbohydrates you choose to eat. Healthy carbohydrate foods are not free foods as Weight Watchers would have their followers believe. All carbohydrates count in your overall nutrition and calorie consumption. For example, oatmeal is a complex, high fiber carbohydrate, but it is still a carbohydrate that will raise blood sugar. Therefore, it’s important to portion control how much you eat. The amount of carbohydrates you should eat per meal varies from person to person and is determined by a variety of factors such as gender, calorie needs, weight, blood sugar control, and activity level. For most people following a consistent carbohydrate meal plan, they are able to eat about 45-60 grams of carbohydrates per meal and obtain good blood sugar control. If you consume more carbohydrates than your body requires, you will find that your odds of experiencing future health problems will increase.

Besides type 2 diabetes and weight gain, long-term complications include:

heart attack or stroke

damage to the eye and loss of vision

kidney disease or failure

nerve problems in the skin, especially the feet, leading to sores, infections, and wound healing problems

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.

Halo Top Ice Cream Review

Out of 17 flavors of Halo Top, I have only tried two. Therefore in fairness, I concede there may be some better than others. I first heard about Halo Top products and how wonderful they are through a couple weight loss social media sites. Everything I have ever read about Halo Top from those trying to lose weight is that it is a wonderful product that is healthy as well. As with many things in life, if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

I found the Chocolate flavor to be far superior in taste and texture over the Lemon Cake favor, but this is not saying much. The ice cream is quite dense and requires a little thawing before you can eat it, which is no big deal unless you are “hangry” when attacking a tub. I found it difficult to spoon out until it had set on the counter for a little while.

Once the ice cream had softened, I found it to be creamy enough. But if I am going to eat ice cream at all, I prefer the creaminess that can only come from a full fat ice cream. Just my opinion, but I find anything else to be lacking in substance and therefore not as enjoyable as a former ice cream connoisseur.

The taste was just alright, kind of mediocre in my book. But, taste is subjective to each individual. The ice cream tasted to me kind of like a fairly bland commercially available chocolate milk you find in any grocery store or convenience store refrigerator shelf. It was not horrible, but it was also nothing to write home about.

I love lemon flavor. I love lemon cake. When I saw this flavor, I just had to try it. I let it sit on the counter to let it soften a bit, and then dug into it with great expectations it would be a blissful flavor. Did I say I like lemon cake?

Hands down, this is the second worse ice cream I have ever consumed in my entire life. The only ice cream I eve enjoyed less, actually refused to eat more than a couple times at best was aboard my first ship in the Navy. That ice cream was made from a powdered mix that was prepared with the ships metallic and jet fuel tasting distilled water.

While the Lemon Cake Halo Top was not as repulsive as ship board ice cream aboard the USS Enterprise, it was still a huge disappointment for me. While I found the chocolate Halo Top to be a little too sweet for my taste, the Lemon Cake did not over power with a sweetness. In fact, I found this ice cream to be almost flavorless. I really could not taste any lemon, no vanilla, there was not much of anything in flavor at all. While it did not taste bad, there just was not much taste at all. It was just a weird flavorless ice cream that also had a strange texture to it. This ice cream was not very creamy, and it also had a bit of a grainy texture that I found odd. The grainy texture was likely caused by the guar gum that some ice cream manufactures are including in their ingredients in order to keep their product from settling too much in case it thaws a little before getting to the customer. Manufacturers are whipping more air into their products as a cost saving, profit enhancing method. The guar gum hides this effect. Guar gum acts as a stabilizer and is normally not a noticeable ingredient as it adds nothing to the flavor, nor does it pose any health risks. Just know that if your ice cream ever has an odd grainy texture, this is why.

Nutrition (Chocolate)

Total Calories per 1 pint container is 280 to 320 (depending on flavor)

Serves 4 ( lets be honest, who only eats a half cup)

Calories: 80 calories from fat: 25

Total fat: 2.5 grams

Saturated fat: 1.5 gram

Trans fat: 0

Cholesterol: 45 mg

Sodium: 110 mg

Total carbohydrates: 13 grams

Dietary fiber: 2 grams

Sugar: 6 grams

Sugar alcohol: 5 grams

Protein: 5 grams

Ingredients

Skim milk, eggs, erythritol, cream, organic cane sugar, milk protein concentrate, high fat cocoa, vegetable glycerin, prebiotic fiber, sea salt, organic carob gum, organic guar gum, organic stevia leaf extract.

Summary

While I find nothing too much wrong with Halo Top’s ingredients, I will not eat any more of it simply because it contains cane sugar which as I have written extensively about is a huge contributor to our nations obesity epidemic along with all of the health related problems that come from consuming too much of it. The protein content is only 1 gram more than you would get from a serving of Blue Bell ice cream that has 4 grams. Using this low protein amount as a selling point would only appeal to those who might not be nutritionally aware that is an insignificant amount over what you might find in any other ice cream product in your grocery store freezer.

Halo Top is very popular among the Weight Watchers crowd as many think it is a healthier alternative to other ice creams. News flash, it is not any healthier than any other low fat ice cream you can buy. But the others rarely place the calorie content on their labels in such bold lettering. There are better quality products available to you if you take the time to seek them out.

If you are on a weight loss journey, you should really consider skipping this ice cream because the sugar content is going to not allow your cravings for carbohydrates to go away. The sugar in Halo Top is still going to have an impact on your blood sugar and insulin levels as any other ice cream will. The only exception is the fiber component in Halo Top might, (MIGHT) mitigate some of the effects on your blood sugar and insulin. However, this is going to depend largely on your personal discipline to only consume one serving, which is 1/4th of the pint.

Let’s be honest, if you are trying to satisfy a sweet tooth, are you only going to eat 1/4th of the container? Or, are you going to eat from the container and then find yourself just eating a little more, and a little more, as you keep eating the soft stuff around the edges? If we are being truthful to ourselves, odds are that if you are over weight or obese, you likely do not have the personal discipline to just eat the manufacturers recommended serving amount. If you did, you would not have a weight problem in the first place and the need for a healthier ice cream to satisfy your sweet tooth cravings would be a moot point.

Beware of Halo Tops marketing gimmick of advertising that their is 20 grams of protein and only 280 to 320 calories per container. This implies that one container is one serving, while the nutrition label clearly states the container is supposed to be 4 servings. If you are on a weight loss journey, you are treading on thin ice by still eating the crap that got you into trouble in the first place, even if the label promotes the product as being healthier.

If you want to still eat sweet treats that are delicious while being sugar free, and diabetic friendly, then go to our recipes menu, then select the subcategory of sweet dessert recipes and then choose any of the sub-categories under that for cakes, cookies, pies and more. We at David’s Way believe that a sweet treat on occasion is perfectly fine as long as it does not derail you from your weight loss efforts. Our recipes, when followed to the letter will fill that bill for you.

Heart Health and Insulin

Often, when we think of heart issues we never consider insulin and it’s role in heart health. Usually, when we think of insulin the first thing that comes to mind is diabetes. And here in lies a huge problem, most people who are over weight or obese will not think of themselves as having a true health issue with their weight when they have not developed diabetes. This thinking is foolhardy and comes from a lack of knowledge. Besides the effect on your body with insulin and whether you have diabetes or not, the powerful role insulin plays in your body has great effects that can lead to high blood pressure, risk-related blood fat levels, weight gain, atherosclerosis, peripheral vascular disease, and heart disease in a great number of overweight or obese individuals who have never been diagnosed as being diabetic.

Insulin and Glucagon must be in balance!

In a healthy body, insulin does not like to be used up. It has been referred to as the “Saver Hormone”  This miserly nature of insulin is no easy task when you consider how some of us eat and live sedentary lifestyles. Insulin must meet multiple demands by the body such as appeals for energy to enable muscles to maintain their health and viability, to fuel our nervous system, and to keep our organs under constant repair to keep our body’s ability to function normally. Insulin will try to make your body store it’s energy stores, by converting carbohydrates into fat which is then stored inside of your cells, it must give up some of it’s food energy in order to get us through our basic daily living functions.

The second part of this equation which must be kept in balance with insulin is glucagon, or what is referred to as your body’s “Spending Hormone”. Most of us have heard of insulin, but I would guess that many, if not most of you, have never heard of glucagon. The balance between these two are just as insulin directs food energy into our cells, glucagon is what brings it back out of the cells in order to repair and fuel your body in between meals. This balance must be maintained and crappy dietary habits makes this task difficult.

A bad diet that does not meet all of our nutritional needs will quite obviously throw our hormonal balance out of whack. Although, as evident by the rampant obesity in our society, many will destroy their own health when there is a better choice to be made in living healthy with a good clean diet. It does not have to be this way, but many will still choose the lame way out with a diet of junk and fast foods and place their hormonal balance into a tail spin and then complain they cannot lose their weight.

If you choose to make good dietary habits a lifestyle that keeps your hormonal balance on an even keel, insulin and glucagon fully compliment each other and maintain a perfect harmony. Making this harmony occur is fully within your control, it will make you feel so much better. As insulin rises, it makes you want to eat, it helps with fueling your body. What energy is not used gets put away into your fat cells. Later, as your insulin levels fall off, glucagon begins to rise. The glucagon opens the fat cells up and the energy that is released is burned to keep your body running efficiently, as it was designed to do. After a period,  insulin once again begins to rise and the whole cycle repeats itself.

This natural balance is 100% within our control when we make the personal choice to make it so. Do not sell yourself short, ever!

When you make the lame choice for yourself to eat bad every day of your life, no matter your excuses, you are going to put this hormonal balance between insulin and glucagon out of kilter. The reasons why you eat a poor diet are not relevant to this reality. When you manage to get your hormonal balance off, there becomes a battle between the hormones that will put your heart health, or even your life at risk.

Although insulin and glucagon are to be in balance for good health, insulin is a more powerful hormone than it’s counterpart. Insulin will completely take over if you let it. When insulin is released into your blood, glucagon takes a submissive role and diminishes significantly. Glucagon will only rise back up once the insulin levels begin to fall again.

When you subsist on sweet treats and foods with added sugars, you insulin levels will always remain high! You do have control over what you eat! No excuse is going to fix your health. period.

Insulin’s dominance over glucagon is not all bad. In pre-historic times, when our ancestors had a surplus of food, insulin was needed in order to channel as much of the food in the fat cells as possible. Unlike us in the modern world, our ancestors did not always know where their next meal was coming from. And to make matters worse, their foods were not anywhere near as energy rich as our foods of today. Our ancestors had to fatten themselves up because they did not always know where or when their next meal would be coming to them. Insulin would get our ancestors to eat as much as they could so they could get the most out of the foods they were able to consume.

We no longer live in those times folks. Food is now abundant!

Now, on the other hand for our ancestors, food was not always available. In fact, famine can still be rampant in different parts of the world today. When our body requires energy, glucagon opens the fat cells and brings out the energy that has been stored. This energy fuels our muscles, brain and other organs to go out and get more nourishment. For our ancestors, when food was not readily available, insulin’s fat storing ability was not required. Our ancestors were not fat for the most part.

In days past, insulin kept us alive. In our modern world today where we might gorge and junk foods that keep our insulin levels high, this can actually kill us over time or even rapidly. 

Currently, we still have to keep our hormones in balance and we can do this through good dietary habits and exercise. However, many choose to eat bad food choices and to live sedentary lifestyles which causes a tug of war between insulin and glucagon. Insulin is usually winning this battle as we can see by all of the overweight or obese people that surround us. We can make a choice to control the outcome of our health we can choose to live a healthy life. Or we can sell ourselves short and not eat healthy, nor exercise. This can make the difference between a long and healthy life or one plagued by heart problems or cut short by heart disease.

Why Do I Even Care About Your Obesity? Our Children and Our Future as a Nation

Why in the hell do I care about you?

Why do I give a damn about helping you to manage your weight through good lifestyle habits of proper nutrition and physical fitness?

Because obesity is a human tragedy unfolding before our very eyes.

Every year, the percentage of people who are overweight, obese, or morbidly obese continues to unnecessarily rise. Every year our expenses for medical care continue to rise as well. We can sit around and bitch about Big Pharma, Big Medicine, Big Insurance and the government all day long. Yet, none of this bitching ever addresses our own personal responsibilities towards our health care expenses. If you are broke from health care expenses, you had better take a deep look inward towards how you live your life. If you have a gluttonous appetite and do no exercise, you are solely responsible for your health problems short of a few maladies.

Our lack of control over our own damn appetites is killing us.

Our lack of self control and discipline causes our obesity which is directly responsible for causing inflammation in our bodies, type 2 diabetes, heart problems, fatty liver, metabolic syndrome, cancers and more. Every bit of this is preventable if we gain control over our appetites and move our asses with exercise. Movement that gets the blood flow going with an increased heart rate. Movement that burns off your glycogen stores and then fat. Movement that does not accomplish glycogen and fat burning is better than nothing at all, yet is damn near useless in helping you to live a healthier life. Counting actions such as running your vacuum cleaner as exercise is not going to win you any prizes, it will not even get you into second or third place. Nope, this kind of movement only means that you are just one step ahead of the total couch potatoe. Maybe not even that much.

Your life will always become the business of someone else when you are careless with it.

You might think your life style is no business to anyone else, but what happens when you need extended care from family, friends or health care professionals. Can you say it is still not their business how you live? If you believe you can, you are some kind of selfish. Your actions will always impact others in your life. Even when we step up to care for our loved ones with no complaints, and provide care for you out of pure selfless love, your lifestyle descisions can and will affect others. This is a truth in life you can not avoid. Even if you decide to live as a hermit and die unattended and alone in your home, someone will have to live with the mental impact of delivering your corpse to the morgue. Hopefully, you have not decomposed too far when they arrive to retrieve your body.

Obesity is dooming our children to a life of illness.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), in the United States, the percentage of children and adolescents affected by obesity has more than tripled since the 1970’s. Nearly one in five school age children and young people (6 to 19 years old) in the United States are obese. This is unsatisfactory and unnecessary as obesity is preventable. Parents, if you are allowing your child to become obese, you are doing them no favors in life.

About 25% of children in the United States aged 2 to 8 years have a chronic health condition according to CDC. They have chronic health conditions such as obesity, asthma, behavior/learning problems, and other health conditions that can all be traced back to unhealthy and improper nutrition and lack of physical activity.

Parents, you owe your children guidance in living healthy. While they can recieve nutritious meals in school, you have a responsibility to feed them healthy foods at home. Get rid of the Pop Tarts and sugary cereals that you are feeding them for breakfast. And for heavens sake, quit feeding them from fast food drive throughs simply because you are too lazy to prepare a porper meal for them at home.

If you have the time and money to feed your kids from a fast food drive through, then you have the time and money to feed them a healthy home cooked meal. Using the reasoning that you are too tired to feed them healthy is a lame ass excuse that comes from laziness on your part. Your children deserve better out of you.

From US Library of Health and Medicine, Nation Insitute for Health:

Psychological disorders such as depression occur with increased frequency in obese children. Over weight children, followed up for 40 and 55 years were more likely to have cardiovascular and digestive diseases as compared to those who were lean.

Let this sink in to your thoughts for a few minutes. If you do not do anything to contribute to your childs good health, if you let them eat crap foods and not exercise, you are directly responsible as a parent for their current and future health problems. If reading this causes you to be angry, I really do not care because the anger can only come from you not accepting your parental responsibilites to your children. Being as your children did not ask you to bring them into the world, you must place their well being first and foremost over everything else in life.

Ponder this young lady’s sad story I found on a weight loss forum:

I am currently 348 lbs. I am 23 years old.

I have major health problems associated with my weight. I have major heart issues, my heart rate gets up into the 200’s with me just standing up. I have type 2 diabetes, I have chronic pain in my bones and muscles. I have been obese since I was a kid.

I suffered from depression and anxiety growing up. I was bullied a lot. I had suicidal thoughts when I was just 8 years old. Food was, and still is a gateway to ease the pain.

I have two beautiful children. But, I am unable to care for them on my own. I can’t enjoy my life. My days are mostly sitting around watching everyone else live. I am unable to exercise due to my heart rate. But, I was told that if I lose 45 lbs, they will do a pacemaker. I’ve seen multiple heart doctors. And all have suggested weight loss surgery.

This is a truly sad story, and it is not unusual in it’s very nature when you follow any type of weight loss/management social media forums. Read this young lady’s story again and consider how many lives are being affected here. Seriously consider what lifestyle actions could have been taken to prevent this unfolding tragedy. If you are a loving parent of a child who suffers from obesity, please love them enough so this does not become their sad life story too.

You’re Pre-Diabetic, Now What?

All across America people are eating more and more sugar laden meals while also getting significantly more lazy. The end result is we have a majority of our citizens who are either over weight at a minimum, or straight up obese. Many of these people will visit their physician who might order a blood glucose screening, and then find themselves receiving a diagnosis of being prediabetic. If this scenario applies to you, you are being given a stern warning that you had better get your act together in regards to your dietary habits and sedentary lifestyle. Having a diagnosis of prediabetes is akin to full blown type 2 diabetes giving you a shot across the bow to warn that you need to cease and desist in your current lifestyle. You had better get it together like right now as prediabetes can be reversed through proper diet and exercise. This is your chance to defend yourself against type 2 diabetes, do not be a fool and just give in to getting it. If you think life might be tough by turning prediabetes around, you are only setting yourself up to learn some hard life lessons if you let the shit go.

You can control it, you are not helpless.

What is prediabetes?

Being prediabetic means that your dietary habits have resulted in your blood sugar levels becoming higher than normal, yet not high enough to be type 2 diabetes. If you do not change your ways, without serious dietary changes, at this point you are quite likely to progress to type 2 diabetes. Listen up, if your ass has been diagnosed as being prediabetic, the long term damage from diabetes to your heart, blood vessels, and kidneys may already be starting.

Damage to your heart, blood vessels and kidneys is nothing to take lightly. Of course, there are many who will not take this seriously until the problems have begun to make their lives difficult. And then, when the proverbial crap hits the fan, they will expect their doctor to just fix them with a medication or something. If you are this individual who would rather have a doctor prescribe you a medication over just unfucking yourself, you are a fool.

If, however, you are half way intelligent you will understand that type 2 diabetes does not have to be inevitable and you will make the personal choice to do something about your diagnosis of being prediabetic by beginning to eat a healthy diet and incorporating physical fitness activities into your daily routine. By doing these simple lifestyle changes and maintaining a healthy body fat percentage, you can bring your blood sugar levels back to a normal level. You have a choice between eating healthy and exercising, or you can continue on your merry way with an obese body while cramming cookies and cake down your gullet and washing it all down with sugary soft drinks. This may appear to be an extreme way of putting it, but I am intentionally not sparing your feelings simply because I want you to fix yourself before it gets worse, If my words make you a bit uncomfortable or irritated, you will remember them far longer than if I was sugar coating them for you.

Sadly, children are being affected by prediabetes and full blown type 2 diabetes the same as adults. If you give a damn about the children in your life, then be the role model they require in order to live a healthy life. Make the choice that your unhealthy dietary habits are not more important to you than helping your children. If you have brought children into this world, you damn sure owe it to them to ensure they grow up healthy and fit. Anything less is a serious shortcoming on your part as a parent and is no better than anything else which can be considered child neglect. Children can have their blood sugar levels brought back down in the same way as adults, with a little exercise and a healthy diet.

Prediabetes generally has no signs or symptoms.

You may not have any symtoms at all that you are prediabetic other than the fact you are over weight and out of shape. One possible sign that you might be at risk of type 2 diabetes is darkened skin at the neck, armpits, elbows, knees and knuckles.

If you have moved from being prediabetic to full blown type 2 diabetes, here are signs and symptoms that you have done so:

  • You will experience increased thirst.
  • You will need to urinate more frequently than normal.
  • You will feel fatigued.
  • Blurred vision will also become a problem.

If you begin experiencing these symptoms, get your tail end to your doctor and ask for a blood glucose screening, especially if you already have any of the risk factors.

Causes

While family history and genetics do play an important role in people developing prediabetes, factors that are also important are being lazy and or inactive and excess body fat, with an emphasis on belly fat. People with prediabetes no longer process blood sugar (glucose) as they should when healthy. As a result, sugar accumulates in the blood stream instead of doing it’s normal job of fueling the cells that make up muscle and other tissues, The majority of the glucose in your body comes from the foods that you consume. When food is digested, sugar enters your bloodstream. Getting this sugar from your bloodstream into your cells requires insulin which comes from your pancreas.

Every time that you eat, your pancreas secretes insulin into your bloodstream. As insulin enters your bloodstream, it causes sugar to enter your cells, thereby lowering your blood sugar. As your blood sugar levels drop, the pancreas backs off on secreting insulin. This is how it is supposed to be, however, when you are prediabetic this process begins to malfunction. Instead of fueling your cells, sugar builds up in your bloodstream. High blood sugar occurs when your pancreas does not produce enough insulin or your cells become resistant to insulin, or both conditions.

The same factors that increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases your risk of prediabetes.

  • Weight. If you are carrying too much body fat, know that this is your primary risk factor for developing prediabetes. The more fatty tissue you have, especially inside and between the muscle and skin around your gut, the more resistant your cells become to insulin.
  • Waist size. If you are big around the waist, it is an indication that you are insulin resistant. The risk of insulin resistance goes up fo men with waists larger than 40 inches and for women with waists larger than 35 inches.
  • Dietary patterns. Eating processed foods and meats, eating foods with added sugars and drinking sugar sweetened beverages places you at higher risk for prediabetes.
  • Inactivity. The less you move your body the greater your risk of prediabetes. Get your ass and move it with a purpose. Make that purpose be one of improving your life. Physical activity not only helps you to drop body fat, it uses up glucose as energy and makes your cells more sensitive to insulin.
  • Age. Although diabetes can develop at any age, you are at a higher risk after the age of 45. Of course this could largely be because folks over 45 tend to exercise less lose muscle mass and gain weight as they age. Do not let age be a lame excuse for not being physically active. Get up and move your body damn it. Even if you have to begin a little at a time, just do it as a part of your daily routine, You can build up to longer durations of activity over time.
  • Family history. If you have a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes, your risk of prediabetes is increased. Type 2 diabetes runs on both my paternal and maternal sides of my family, which means I am at a higher risk, yet I refuse to live my life in a manner in which I make myself susceptible.
  • Race. It is unclear why, but Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asians and Pacific Islanders are more likely to develop prediabetes.
  • Gestational diabetes. If you develop gestational diabetes while pregnat, you and your child are at a higher risk of developing prediabetes. Knowing this, you owe it to your child to ensure they grow up eating healthy and getting plenty of physical exercise in their lives. Also, if you gave birth to a baby that weighed more than 9 pounds, you are also at risk for prediabetes.
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome. This common condition increases womens risks of prediabetes.
  • Sleep. People with sleep apnea have an increased risk of insulin resistance. People who work changing shifts or night shifts which can cause sleep pattern interuptions, also may have an increased risk of prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.

Other conditions associated with prediabetes include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Low levels of high densiy lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, or, the good kind.
  • High levels of triglycerides which is atype of fat in your blood.

When these conditions occur with obesity, the are associated with insulin resistance. The combination of three or more of these conditions is often referred to as metabolic syndrome.

The most serious consequences of prediabetes is progression to type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes can lead to:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Kidney disease
  • Blindness
  • Amputations

Research has indicated that prediabetes is often associated with unrecognized heart attacks and can damage your kidneys, even if you have not progressed to type 2 diabetes.

By making a personal choice to get physically active, and to get healthier by losing bady fat, you can keep yourself from ever becoming prediabetic even if diabetes runs in your family. Eat a good healthy diet, move your body, lose weight and control your blood pressure and cholesterol. All of this can be done by making a personal choice to do so and then making it happen through dietary changes and exercise. You do not need medications to rid yourself of prediabetes or the risk of acquiring it. Nope, all that is required is a commitment on your part. Just do it. Get it done today. Follow us at David’s Way, we have almost 500 nutrition and fitness articles with tons of healthy recipes to help you along your way. Any topic you are interested in, can be entered into our blog search bar and everywhere we have written on it wil come up for your reading pleasure.