Diabetes- know it better

“Hey dude don’t be sooo sweet, you will give me DIABETES.” , “I just found out I have DIABETES. I am not surprised. I knew i would get it sooner or later since my dad and his side of the family has it.” , “I don’t understand how I got DIABETES? No one in my maternal or paternal family has it.” – These are common questions and statements I hear daily either through my clients or through friends and family.

If you notice, the 1st statement relates diabetes to “Sweet”= food/taste and the 2nd and 3rd to “genetics” and lack of correct “knowledge”.

Since November is the National Diabetes month, I decided to write about Diabetes but with a “DIFFERENCE”.  I am going to stick to the preventive care measures “Nutrition” and “Exercise” to avoid or delay the onset of Diabetes (if heredity turns out stronger here ;)) but these changes will also help those who are already suffering from Diabetes.

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder. Here, our cells are basically starving for the nutrients they need to perform at optimum level. The lack of insulin (secreted by our pancreas) create abnormalities in the metabolism process of the macro nutrients, carbs, protein and fat.

2 types of Diabetes:

Type 1: Autoimmune. Genetic. Present from Childhood.

Type 2: This is the type that comes as a result of  ageing, lifestyle and of course our eating habits.

I am going to talk about type 2 (adult on-set) diabetes.

The main causes of type 2 diabetes, as described by some “biological doctors”  are overeating  and consequent obesity. Excess intake of not just sugar and carbohydrates, but also protein and fat, which convert into sugar if taken in excess, is harmful to the pancreas as it puts too much load on our pancreas and eventually paralyses its activity (the recommended protein intake for a person with sedentary lifestyle is 1 gram per kilogram of body weight). The other cause is too much worry, anxiety, stress and grief. These have deep influence on the metabolism process thus causing sugar to appear in urine. Heredity also plays a role in the development of diabetes.It has been said that “Heredity is like a cannon and obesity pulls the trigger” (Bakhru, H.K. 2007,pp 346).

Just because your father, mother, aunt or uncle had diabetes does not mean you will get it or you have to get it. In fact, if you know that you have a family history of diabetes, this is a heads up for you to start taking preventive measures by making few positive changes in your lifestyle and eating habits (by the way-same goes for those with hypothyroid and PCOD) .  Stress, another rising cause of young people becoming victims of over eating/abnormal eating which leads to weight gain and obesity, which ultimately leads to diabetes and other such health dis-eases.  In today’s time of competition, everyone wants to be at the top, want to make more money, want to touch different heights (of course after all, Sky is the limit 😉 ) but, all this they do at the cost of health. In achieving these things, people are putting their health in the last bogey (not even in the back seat). I regularly see clients who wake up with a “get your act straight” alarm after being diagnosed with diabetes or any other heredity and lifestyle oriented disease and run to the gym and dietitian/nutritionist for help.

It is very important for all to understand that, to avoid getting diabetes or to say “good-bye” to this “invited” guest (yup, not bin bulaye at all) from our house (our body), we should look at the actual cause of the disease and focus at building the whole health.  1st importance should be given to changing the diet as it plays a vital role in diabetes.

1st things 1st- STOP getting scared of carbs. Just chose  the wholesome ones like whole wheat, whole grain, rice, jowar,bajri, nachni (raagi) , wheat, instead of the processed and the fiber enriched variety.  Yes, include some wholesome carbs for dinner as well.  Include foods rich in micro minerals like Selenium, chromium and zinc in your diet as  it’s shown that they  help your insulin respond better. (Go to the link mentioned at the end of this article). Adequate protein and fat is also required for the insulin to function properly. It is best to have well-balanced meals with all the three macro nutrients carbs, protein and fats. Avoid foods that have “added fiber”, “fiber fortified” as too much fiber comes in the way of absorbing the important mineral Zinc. Also, “added” fiber is shown to reduce the “good” bacteria present in our intestines. lack of good bacteria results in poor digestion of food which then results in high fat percentage. Ideal is to eat 3 wholesome meals and 2-3 small (healthy) snacks.

Get up and going ( Exercise): If you are not doing any type of exercising yet then start today. You don’t have to be diagnosed with any health problem to get up and get going. Exercise helps stabilize blood sugar (in this case and has lots of other health benefits).  Even though walking is a good form of exercise, just walking daily is not sufficient to bring about change in insulin response. Aerobic exercises as well as Weight-training is proven to be really effective for all including those who already suffer from diabetes.When we do weight training, the main fuel that is used is the glucose which is stored in the muscles in the form of glycogen. If less insulin is present or insulin is not functioning properly then extra glucose enters the blood stream thus increasing blood glucose levels. Weight training helps us increase muscle size, this provides larger storage area for glucose and these two factors, 1) regular flushing of glycogen and 2) increased muscle size, helps improve body’s glucose processing which is very important in preventing and managing diabetes (type 2). It is advised though that you keep a personal trainer for weight-training exercises as correct posture and medical condition are the main concerns here or you can end up injuring/harming yourself.

Sleep: Proper rest- a good night’s sleep plays an important role in preventing and managing diabetes. It is very important to give your body that proper, undisturbed rest it needs after the workout and after daily chores, for the body to recover properly. If you don’t rest well than all your diet and exercise efforts are futile.

It is still not too late, especially for those who are not diagnosed with such “self-induced” health conditions. Spend money on pharmaceutical drugs, Doctors and hospitals later or spend money on preventive care today. The choice is your’s to make.

Stay healthy, Stay happy

Check this link to know about the micro minerals- http://www.freefitnesstips.co.uk/the-17-microminerals-explained.html

** The above information is for educational purposes only. There is absolutely no intension to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure any health problems or diseases. Consult your doctor  for specific medical advice, diagnosis and treatment and a diet and exercise expert for advice on diet, herbs and exercise.**

References: 

1.Bakhru, H.K. (2007). Healing through natural foods. Mumbai, India: Jaico publishing house.

2. Diwekar, R (2010). Women and the weight loss tamasha. Delhi, IndiaWestland Ltd.


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