Diabetes is something you hear more and more about these days. Specifically, I am talking about Type II Diabetes which many refer to as “adult onset” diabetes.
According to the C.D.C., approximately 90 percent of people that have diabetes in the United States have Type II diabetes. For those that have it, 90% have acquired it due to obesity and the lifestyle associated with it. While genetics are always a factor in health, it is a fact that obesity is a preventable disease. It is the No. 2 cause of preventable death in the U.S. right behind tobacco use. Since obesity is considered preventable and 90 percent of those who have Type II diabetes have the disease due to obesity, we must take an active role in figuring out how we can keep this disease from affecting us and the ones that we love.
I have consulted and trained multiple diabetics over the years. Disturbingly, I have found that time and time again they are very ill-informed on how they can have a role in combating this disease. The short of it is that they have too many sugars (carbohydrates) in the blood due to excessive calorie/carbohydrate intake, saturated fat intake and lack of exercise. The body can only hold so many carbohydrates or sugars in the cells. When we over-consume them, the body stores fat and over time the cells become “resistant” to the insulin which is used to lower the blood sugar normally. Various medications are used to improve the cell’s “sensitivity” to the sugars and insulin but you can “out eat” your medication and many do. If you continue to out eat the medications and the pancreas becomes tired, you may have to start injecting artificial insulin to help it.
The body is much like a car. Some of us drive sports cars and some of us drive economy cars. In other words, you have to be realistic about how much you consume becomes not all of us burn calories/carbohydrates/sugars as quickly as others. We talk about high blood “sugar” with diabetes but do you understand that all carbs turn into sugar? In other words, just because you don’t eat a lot of actual table sugar does not mean your blood sugar can’t be too high. White bread, potatoes and bananas are very much a sugar to the body. Many do not understand that. You also have to watch the quantity of those carbohydrates. You can only fill your gas tank (cells) so full.
In January I met with a man who got diagnosed with type II diabetes in 1986. He was frustrated on how to lose weight and combat his disease. Like many in his situation, he had been to many lessons and doctors but really did not understand his role with food and exercise vs. just taking the medications he thought were supposed to fix his sugar issues. In 60 days he dropped approximately 14 pounds of fat, drastically reduced his medications and blood sugar and his doctor told that if he kept it up, he may be completely off his diabetes medications in six months! While this is not always the outcome for many, diabetes issues and medications can be drastically reduced with the proper lifestyle changes.
Diabetes is a serious problem in the United States that affects millions. Genetics, ethnicity and lifestyle all affect it. While we can’t control our genetics, we can control our lifestyle and we should. Don’t let lack of knowledge lead you towards obesity and diabetes. Take the time to get educated on nutrition and make fitness a priority. You won’t regret it.