Have you ever wondered what the heck Diabetes actually is?
This is something you better figure out as Diabetes rates have doubled in Canada in the past decade! It is estimated that things will get worse before they get better especially with our childhood obesity epidemic.
So what the heck is actually happening with Diabetes?
Simply put Type 2 Diabetes (the most common form) happens from eating too much sugar too often – especially simple sugars that raise your blood glucose quickly. Every time you eat sugar your pancreas releases insulin.
Insulin is a hormone that acts like a key to ‘unlock’ the cells so the sugar can get inside where it is needed for creation of energy (ATP). But spiking your blood sugar consistently (ex. drinking a lot of pop) can lessen the effectiveness of the insulin (called insulin resistance). When that happens the cells are not being ‘unlocked’ as efficiently and sugar doesn’t get inside as well.
So where does the sugar go if it can’t get into the cell?
Sugar will build up in the bloodstream but it isn’t of any use floating in the blood. The body doesn’t like having too much solute (sugar particles) in the blood so water from the cells flows into the blood to try and dilute the sugar particles. Now blood volume goes up as the cells become dehydrated. This explains clearly why you get these symptoms:
- excessive thirst (because the cells lost water and are dehydrated)
- excessive urination (because the kidney realizes it needs to rid the excess water in your blood)
- excessive hunger (because sugar isn’t getting into the cells as well)
- rapid weight loss (not good weight loss – the body breaks down protein because it thinks it’s starving since the sugar isn’t going into the cells)
Why should I care?
Diabetes is the number one cause of adult blindness and amputations. Peripheral neuropathy is a common very painful condition that causes tingling, burning, and numbness in your extremities.
My grandfather had such pain from peripheral neuropathy that he feels better after having his leg amputated.
These are only a few of the nasty things Diabetes can do but it is estimated that it can take up to 10 years off your lifespan!
So how can I reduce my Diabetes symptoms or avoid it altogether?
- Exercise often (shoot for a couple vigorous 20 min sessions/day)
- Don’t buy products with glucose-fructose, high fructose corn syrup, or other added sugars
- Don’t eat fake sugars because you are more likely to overindulge on natural sugars
- Don’t eat foods that spike your blood sugar (check the glycemic index link below)
- Further to the previous point – avoid white bread, white rice, white potatoes
- Eat more healthy fats as they will satiate you longer and crush your carb cravings
- Eat more vegetables as these are good carbohydrates (sugars)
- If you are on blood pressure meds like statins try and reduce your high blood pressure naturally as statins increase your chance of developing Diabetes
- Drink more water and eliminate sugary drinks especially pop
- Stop smoking (smoking over 20 cigarettes a day doubles your chance of getting diabetes)
- Don’t overconsume alcohol (one or two drinks a day is fine)
- Stress less and sleep more
Here is a a great resource to know how certain foods spike your blood glucose (glycemic index):
WOW – that is a lot of info and I’m only scratching the surface. If you are in need of a nutritional overhaul let me know and we can start getting your food to work… for you.
YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT!
Defeat Diabetes is also featured on The GoodLife Blog – What is Diabetes?