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2 Essentials For Diabetes Management

2 Essentials For Diabetes Management

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1. Reduce your sugar intake 

Indeed, times have changed since 1900, when Americans ate an average of 5 pounds of sugar per year. In 2000, the amount of sugar consumed rose to 163 pounds! Although our bodies have not evolved or changed, our diet sure has. It is truly amazing, maybe even miraculous, that our bodies have been able to cope with and manage this thirty-fold increase. However, it has not come without a price. While our pancreas produced 5 to 10 units of insulin to process an average meal in 1900, today it is not unusual for me to see blood insulin levels of up to 100 units in a person trying to handle an average meal. The organ that bears
the brunt of this drastic change in our diet is our pancreas, which manufactures insulin (and other hormones). Type 2 diabetes occurs when the demand for insulin exceeds our body’s ability to produce it. Surprisingly, people with diabetes are often making ten times more insulin than people who do not have diabetes. Yet, the demand in their body is over ten times greater, so they have a relative shortage of insulin. This is occurring at record rates today—both in adults and children. To make matters worse, we now recognize that people with elevated blood insulin levels not only are battling diabetes but are also at a greater risk of heart attacks and strokes.

The Seven Healers p. 52

2. Increase your activity

For many Americans, life is very sedentary, or inactive. In fact on average, patients in my practice only take about 3,000 to 3,500 steps per day. This is low when compared to the national goal of 10,000 steps per day. The importance of this can be appreciated when patients wear pedometers and go from 3,000 to 10,000 steps a day. Their weight drops, cholesterol and blood pressure get better, and they feel more alert and alive. The effects of a change in the number of steps can also be seen when this trend goes the other way.

I worked with a couple from India who had relocated to the United States. In India, they were both very active, walking all day long. However, they quickly gained 30 pounds after they came to America. What was even worse was that the man’s cholesterol level rose significantly, and his wife became a full-blown diabetic. Interestingly, their diet hadn’t changed very much. The cause for their weight gain was simply the drastic decrease in their level of activity. Clearly, when we have little to no activity in our life, there are significant consequences. While some people experience high cholesterol or high blood pressure, others develop diabetes. And most of the time, people gain weight.

The good news is, any motion or activity counts! Walking, stretching, and playing with your children or grandchildren all add value to your life. Repetitive motions burn calories and keep muscles burning fat and sugar. Just moving your fingers up and down will burn 11 calories a day. Likewise, research has shown that people who cross their legs while seated and shake one of them up and down, weigh about 3 pounds less than someone who does not continually move their leg.

What can you do to take some steps in the right direction? I encourage you to begin walking more and using a pedometer to count your steps. As you increase your steps from 3,000 to 6,000 per day, you will arrive at a “break even” point, meaning you won’t gain additional weight. By raising your daily step count to 10,000, you will be in a position of actually losing weight. The more regular activity you are involved in, the better your health will be.

The Seven Healers p. 74

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