Did you know… that 1 in 10 Americans have type 2 diabetes, and 1 in 3 have pre-diabetes?
Do you know if you are at risk?
Diabetes is a health condition, heavily influenced by lifestyle, that affects how your body uses foods, specifically carbohydrates, as energy. After eating, the carbohydrates in food are broken down into glucose. The stomach and small intestines absorb the glucose and then release it into the bloodstream. It is then delivered to your cells to use as fuel to create energy. Insulin is necessary for delivering the glucose to the cell or storing it for a later time. Insulin production is increased whenever blood sugars are high, in order to regulate the body’s amount of blood sugar throughout the day. Insulin has the key to unlock the door to the cells and drop them off as fuel. However, with diabetes, the body is not sufficiently making insulin, or the cell is resistant to accepting glucose from insulin anymore. When this happens, your body is not able to regulate blood sugar, therefore energy levels, inflammation, and metabolism greatly suffer, spilling over into multi-organ dysfunction.
Awareness and education are the first steps to prevention and blood sugar management.
How do you know if you are diabetic or pre-diabetic?
- Schedule your routine physicals. Your practitioner should check your fasting blood sugar. If your blood sugar is out of range (<100) your Hemoglobin A1c should be checked. HA1c will provide an average of your blood sugar over the past 3 months. This will indicate pre-diabetes or diabetes.
- Pre-diabetes is still a condition to manage. A common misconception is that pre-diabetes is not dangerous or damaging. If pre-diabetes is not managed and continues long-term, not only will it develop into diabetes, but it can also result in inflammation, increased cardiovascular risk, decreased energy levels, and weight gain.
Manage Blood Sugar and Prevent Risk of Diabetes:
- Choose high fiber carbohydrates. A food with 5 grams or more per serving is considered a high fiber food. Carbs that are high in fiber are more complex carbohydrates. Complex carbs don’t raise blood sugar as fast or as high as simple carbs. Examples of complex carbohydrates are whole, unprocessed grains (oatmeal, millet, quinoa, amaranth, brown or wild rice, etc.), fruits (not juices or dried fruits), lentils, beans, legumes, and non-starchy vegetables.
- Practice portion control. The amount of carbohydrates you consume is just as important as the quality. Manage carbohydrates by limiting serving sizes to 1/4 to 1/2 cup or 30-45 grams per meal (half per snack).
- Stay Active. Glucose is fuel for your cell, burn the fuel with activity in order to manage to decrease blood levels. You can do this with a brisk walk after a meal.
- Check Labels. Understand the composition of your food choices. Review the label to understand how many grams of sugars, carbs, and fiber and included in what you are eating.
- Manage stress. Stress, especially chronic stress, can cause an increase in blood sugar. Practice stress management techniques that are effective for you personally.