How to prevent diabetes
by Mark Lamendola,
who is genetically at risk for it
When the body cannot produce or
properly use insulin, it cannot adequately metabolize sugar. This
condition is the disease we call diabetes. When the body cannot adequately
metabolize sugar, this sugar then accumulates in excess quantities in the
blood. This causes a host of problems, such as vascular damage and damage
to the heart, kidneys, eyes, and other organs.
Diabetics must pay particular attention
to their feet, as that is where the first signs of advanced vascular damage
appear. And that's why you hear so much about diabetics and amputations of
toes, feet, legs, fingers, and so on.
Obviously, diabetes is not a great
disease to have.
The primary risk factor is excess body
fat. This fat in itself doesn't cause the diabetes. It's a marker. The same
behavior that makes you fat increases the likelihood of diabetes.
Note that being fat and having diabetes
don't always coincide. In fact, diabetes can cause rapid weight loss. Any
time you experience a rapid weight loss, see your physician immediately.
Smoking is a secondary risk factor for
diabetes. As always, it is a very stupid thing to do. The vascular damage
from smoking will also exacerbate damage from diabetes.
Genetics also plays a role. But, you can
get adult onset diabetes regardless of your genetics. Of course, many people
become diabetics through no fault of their own or are born with diabetes.
Everyone else should manage the risk factors to reduce the likelihood of
getting diabetes to begin with.
Make no assumptions, regarding these risk
factors. Nothing is guaranteed.
If you look at the statistics for sugar consumption in the
USA and the percentage of the population with Type II (Adult Onset)
diabetes, you'll see they track pretty much one-for-one. A friend of mine
has "the other kind" of diabetes--the kind you get through no
fault of your own. He is amazed that non-diabetic people live a lifestyle
that puts them at such high risk for a disease that complicates his life
Type II (Adult Onset) diabetes is a sugar disease. You can control it, even prevent
it. The keys are these:
Managing your insulin (controlling sugar sources)
Eating small portions instead of "filling
up" at meals
Keeping your bodyfat percentage down (obesity is a
high risk factor)
Let's take a closer look at what you
can do about diabetes.
There is no one magic diet that works for everyone. Nor is there a single diet that
works best for one individual over a long time. Pay attention to your genetics, and to
your ethnic group's traditional foods. If you are African American, that does not mean
overcooked vegetables or pork rinds. Such garbage came on the nutritional scene only
recently, and is not a true ethnic food. The same is true for Italians who overdose on
pepperoni pizza. Being Italian myself as, well as having enjoyed fantastic African
cuisine, I can tell you there is a lot more to these diets than the recent introductions
often associated with these cultural groups.
Except for Eskimos and a few other highly specialized ethnic groups, all
diets must adhere to the same few macronutrient rules. For example:
Eliminate as many processed carbohydrates as possible.
Don't eat carbohydrates 2 hours before bedtime.
fat/carbos/protein in a roughly 30/40/30 ratio (this is a guideline, not a hard and fast
rule--it doesn't work for everyone).
Eat at least 5 or 6 small meals a day.
Always eat a high-protein breakfast.
Cut saturated fats, but eat unsaturated fats.
Good sources are walnuts, cashews, peanuts, and any oils that are liquid at room
temperature (don't go overboard).
Did you know that the peanuts offered on airlines are
LESS fattening than the fat-free pretzels? It's true. Stay away from fat-free foods--they
make your insulin levels do a yo-yo, and that makes you put on fat. Yuck. Worse, it sets
the stage for adult-onset diabetes.
Do NOT eat white flour, bleached flour, enriched flour, or any other kind of wheat
flour that is not whole wheat. The glycemic effects of such flours will work against you.
Eat whole grain flours, and try to get a variety. Amaranth and soy are two good flours.
Eat oat groats instead of oatmeal. In short, get your grains in the least-processed form
you can. This holds true for everyone, regardless of genetics (unless you have a
malabsorption problem). This one "trick" will help you keep your insulin level
on an even keel, and that is paramount to diabetes prevention and management.
What also holds true for everyone is: drink lots of water! Fill a gallon jug twice a
day, and make sure you drink all of it. Once you get as lean as you want to be, cut back
to a single gallon if you want to. For added fat loss, drink chilled (but not super cold)
water. Sodas do not count. Such beverages are extremely unhealthy, for reasons I won't
cover here. However, I will say that if you want to get osteoporosis, soft drinks are for
you. Soft drinks make for soft bones.
Learn about insulin management. Make a trip to your library and get a book on the
glycemic index. Also, look for Ann Louise Gittleman's book,"Your Body Knows
Best." She has other books that are good, too. If you can't find it at your library,
you can order it via this hyperlink: Your Body Knows
Best, $5.59. Be careful on these diet books: most of them are completely wrong.
to eat at least 5 or 6 small meals a day, rather than one big one. Doing so levels out
your insulin and your blood sugar. Forget about that full feeling. If you
find yourself overeating out of anxiety or boredom, fix the underlying
problem--don't add to it by poor eating!
You need to build muscle and burn fat. How many lean, muscular people do you know with
diabetes? OK, so listen! Live the lean lifestyle, and you will be way ahead in the
Walking is a great exercise. Do it every day, and you'll raise your metabolic rate, as
well as level out your blood sugar. This means you will burn extra calories even while you
are sitting in front of your computer or sleeping in your bed! Look at the ways you save
calories, and then spend them instead. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
from the door, instead of up close. Use a push mower instead of a riding mower. Pay
attention to what you do and think of how you can burn more calories while doing it.