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Ask JJ: Type 2 Diabetes

Published by Huffington Post on Thu, 16 Jun 2016

Dear JJ: My doctor just diagnosed me with pre-diabetes. Type 2 diabetes runs in my family, but I will not accept it as my fate. You've written about sugar's detrimental impact, so how can I get this under control so it doesn't blow up into full-blown diabetes'Diabetes doesn't happen overnight or linearly, but when your metabolic machinery breaks, serious havoc ensues. The massive repercussions can become deadly.Every time you eat, you raise blood sugar, which triggers your pancreas to release a hormone called insulin. Every food raises blood sugar, but high-sugar impact foods do it big time. Your pancreas "secretes some insulin in response to protein, but when it sees carbohydrates in the passageway, its eyes light up, and it brings out the big guns and goes to town," writes Dr. Jonny Bowden in Living Low Carb. "(Fat doesn't even rate a 'hello' from the pancreas and has no effect on insulin.)"One of insulin's jobs involves shuttling that sugar (as glucose) out of your blood into your cells, which can use glucose as a quick energy hit or store it as glycogen to use later.Trouble starts when too many high-sugar impact foods keep your blood sugar elevated when it should stabilize. Your overworked pancreas continues to crank out insulin to stabilize that blood sugar, but your cells stop "hearing" its call. "No vacancy," your liver and muscle declare, unable to store any more glucose as glycogen.That excess glucose can't just hang out in your bloodstream or really bad things can happen. It has to go somewhere. Unfortunately, it usually becomes repackaged as fat, which finds a home around your midsection. That's actually the least of your problems. When your cells get burned out from the insulin barrage trying to "sell" them glucose, they eventually stop responding and a condition called insulin resistance occurs.Insulin resistance doesn't happen all at once. Your muscle and liver cells eventually stop "hearing" insulin's call. Your fat cells are unfortunately among the last to resist insulin's demands. "Plenty of room here, shuttle it in!" they tell insulin, which happily complies.Like a domino effect, insulin resistance triggers a multitude of diseases with the appropriate acronym CHAOS: cardiovascular disease, hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, obesity, and stroke. Eventually your blood sugar crashes, triggering hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and its accompanying lightheadedness, fatigue, hunger, and craving for more sugar. Inflammation also closely connects with insulin resistance. A vicious cycle ensues as insulin resistance triggers chronic inflammation, creating weight loss resistance. Overweight and obesity further increase inflammation, damaging your organs and contributing to every disease from heart disease and cancer.Together, these conditions become classified as metabolic syndrome, medically classified as at least three of these five conditions:' Abdominal (central) obesity' Elevated blood pressure' Elevated fasting plasma glucose' High serum triglycerides' Low high-density cholesterol (HDL) levelsEventually insulin resistance morphs into pre-diabetes and eventually full-blown Type 2 diabetes. Sadly, symptoms aren't always so immediate or obvious, and many people who have Type 2 diabetes don't even know it.If you have blood sugar imbalances, you probably struggle with your weight, brain fog, and irritating mood swings that make you miserable. You're tired, you're stressed, you have no sex drive, and you can't find the energy or motivation to tackle your ballooning to-do list. Those are all big warning signs.There's light at the end of the tunnel: You have the power to control insulin resistance. Type 2 diabetes becomes preventable or reversible with these 12 strategies that don't involve drugs or crazy diets.1.Target fructose. Glucose can create insulin resistance, but fructose proves a nastier player. The only cells that metabolize fructose are liver cells, which convert that fructose into triglycerides (fat). Even if you're ditching high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), you might still be getting a giant fructose overload if you overeat fruit, salad dressings, and other higher-fructose foods. All fruit contains some fructose, but some fruits have perks that outweigh that fructose load. Berries are best, and avocado (actually a berry) is an all-around rock star that's very low in sugar and high in fiber and nutrients. 2.Go low-sugar impact. If sugar raises blood sugar and eventually creates insulin resistance, it makes sense to lower your sugar impact as much as possible. All carbohydrates convert to sugar, including wheat pasta or whole grain bread. You want to nix the obvious suspects, but even so-called "healthy" foods like fruit, yogurt, or 100-calorie snack packs can create metabolic havoc. Become a sneaky sugar detective. Once you start paying attention to its many names and disguises, you'll see formerly "healthy" foods like vinaigrette dressing and fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt in a whole different light.3.Time correctly. Stabilizing blood sugar levels eliminates hypoglycemia and other spike-and-crash blood sugar problems. To stabilize, eat a protein-rich breakfast within an hour of waking up, eat every four to six hours, and stop eating about 3 hours before bed.4.Get more fiber. Among its many benefits, dietary fiber helps stabilize blood sugar, increases satiety, and prevents the spike-and-crash roller coaster that often occurs after meals. Aim for 50 grams of fiber a day from foods like avocado, legumes, and leafy greens. One medium artichoke has 10 grams of fiber. Ditto for one cup of avocado. Lentils pack a whopping 16 grams per cup. See how easy this can be' 5.Up your omega 3s. Omega-3 fatty acids can lower high blood pressure, triglycerides, and inflammation: Three serious complications related to insulin resistance and diabetes. Omega 3s also offset our predominant inflammatory omega 6 diet. Eat wild-caught salmon and other fish three or four times each week and add freshly ground flaxseed or chia seeds into your shakes. Even if you're getting omega 3s from food, I highly recommend supplementing with professional-quality fish oil.6.Increase your vitamin D. Studies show vitamin D deficiencies contribute to or exacerbate insulin resistance. Supplementing probably becomes the way to go to get therapeutic levels. Ask your doctor a 25-hydroxy vitamin D test. According to Dr. Mark Hyman, achieving blood levels of 45 ng/dl would result in reducing Type 2 diabetes 33 percent. 7.Increase your protein and healthy fat. Studies show increasing protein helps people with diabetes have better control over their blood sugar levels. Others show healthy fats can help balance blood sugar levels. Smart choices that combine protein and healthy fats include non-soy, wild-caught fish, grass-fed beef, free-range poultry, and barnyard eggs (if you can tolerate them).8.HIIT it to balance blood sugar. Studies show burst training can reduce diabetes-related complications. Sorry, the time excuse doesn't work here. You can get a complete, intense workout in just minutes a day no matter what your current fitness level is. And you can do burst training nearly anywhere, from a park hill to your hotel stairwell. 9.Lift heavy. More muscle and less fat make you more insulin sensitive and give you a lean, toned body. I've combined weight resistance with burst training in my Fast Blasts, which you can do in just eight minutes. Grab a FREE one here.10.Sleep deeply. Studies show crappy sleep could pave the road for insulin resistance and obesity. (It also knocks other fat-regulating hormones out of balance.) Optimize insulin and other hormonal levels with seven to nine hours of quality, uninterrupted sleep every night. 11.Reduce stress. Chronic stress elevates cortisol, a hormone that should be highest in the morning and gradually taper throughout the day. Keeping cortisol cranked up past its sell-by date elevates blood sugar, breaks down muscle, and stores fat. One study determined "the degree of cortisol secretion is directly associated with the presence and the number of diabetes complications." Any degree of insulin resistance demands stress management. That might be a yoga class, meditation, deep breathing, or a cup of chamomile tea and hot bath.12.Supplement smartly. Beyond a quality multivitamin/ mineral, fish oil, and fiber-blend supplement to optimize blood sugar levels, consider working with a diabetes-focused practitioner to develop an individually tailored supplement plan. If you've struggled with insulin resistance or Type 2 diabetes, what strategy would you add here to optimize blood sugar levels' Share yours below, and keep those great questions coming at AskJJ@jjvirgin.com. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
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