Reverse Type 2 diabetes by simply making some lifestyle changes… you hear this often. So what does this really mean?
This type of diabetes is very often described as being a lifestyle disease… meaning it is largely a result of a lifestyle made up of:
- lack of exercise and
- poor food choices
Yes, Type 2 diabetes may be in your family’s history but that does not mean you need to activate the gene. Realistically, if you were not overweight the odds are you would not have developed Type 2 diabetes.
These are the lifestyle factors that can be changed, the main risk factors for developing Type 2 diabetes:
Obesity: this is defined as being 20% or more over what is considered your ideal or healthy body weight. 10% over your ideal weight makes you overweight.
One simple way to know if you are in danger of developing Type 2 diabetes is simply to measure your waist:
- keep you waist measurement under 35 inches (88cm)… this is for females
- males need to keep their waist measurement to under 40 inches (102 cm)
The fat that forms in your abdominal area, also known as belly fat or visceral fat, accumulates around your abdominal organs and stops the insulin your body creates from working the way it’s supposed to. As your body gathers excess fat, your cells become increasingly resistant to the effects of insulin… this is insulin resistance. This means your pancreas needs to work harder to remove sugar from your blood. Over time your pancreas can no longer keep up with this increased insulin demand, so blood sugar levels rise and Type 2 diabetes results.
Exercise: Everyone knows the importance of eating healthy foods and getting the proper amount of exercise. The problem is we do not always do what we know we should do… even for our own good. Lack of exercise is one of the important factors also implicated in lifestyle disease. Exercise helps to keep your body in a healthy weight range. Regular exercise also helps to lower your blood sugar levels and improves your body’s insulin sensitivity.
Poor Food Choices: Studies show that a healthful diet is based on these basic principles:
- the foods to eat on a daily basis are vegetables, fruits, wholegrains and legumes (beans, peas and lentils)
- foods to avoid are those that cause a rise in blood sugar levels: white bread, potatoes and sugar itself. These can be replaced with rye bread, yams and sweet potatoes, and fruits
Eating too much sugar is easy to do. It is in so many foods that people eat each day without even knowing it… including many breakfast cereals, pasta sauces, bread, salad dressings and other sauces. Fruit juices, cordial, sports and energy drinks all add even more sugar to the average person’s daily diet.
Not eating enough fiber is another issue. Fiber slows down the absorption of nutrients including glucose; so fiber in your diet is helpful in lowering the glycemic index of other foods included in your meal.
The types of fat you eat also plays a role in your Type 2 diabetes risk. Trans fatty acids in your cell membranes reduces the ability of your body’s insulin to bind to your cells receptors leading to insulin resistance. Trans fatty acids are found in margarine, cooking oils and foods containing these products.
The trend in food choices is associated with weight gain, of course, but keep in mind it’s the poor food choices that cause the direct damage to health. You cannot change your genetic makeup but you are in control of your lifestyle… change your lifestyle and you can reverse Type 2 diabetes.