What is Type II diabetes?
Type II diabetes is a serious condition where the insulin your pancreas makes can no longer work properly, or your pancreas can’t make enough insulin. This means your blood glucose (sugar) levels keep rising.
It is reversible and very much preventable.
Here are some facts about Type II diabetes:
⁃ Diabetes is the leading cause of death in the world
⁃ You are more likely to get Type II diabetes after 45
⁃ It is the main cause of blindness, amputation, kidney failure and more.
⁃ Around 37 million Americans have diabetes
⁃ 1 in 10 Americans have diabetes
⁃ 90-95% of people with diabetes have type II
⁃ 1 in 3 people are prediabetic in USA
⁃ Obesity and Type II diabetes are linked
⁃ Many people do not know they are insulin resistant and/or pre-diabetic.
What can we do to prevent it and how can we reverse it?
Managing your insulin levels can of course be done through Nutrition. If you suffer from insulin resistance, are pre-diabetic, or have Type II, following a low carbohydrate diet is essential. Carbohydrates will produce the biggest spike in insulin. If you’re constantly consuming highly palatable and processed sugary foods, your pancreas will become less efficient over time. A diet prioritizing high protein, moderate-high fats and low carbohydrates will be the best way to manage your insulin. Eating in this manner may help with cravings, energy and cognition. Opt for nutrient dense foods such as eggs, red meat, poultry, butter, fish, leafy greens, etc.
Regular exercise and even just making a conscious effort to move more will help to improve your insulin sensitivity. Improving insulin sensitivity is crucial for reversing insulin resistance. Exercise involving resistance training and sprints have been proven to dramatically improve metabolic health. Strength training specifically will improve your hormonal health, especially heavy barbell training (squats, deadlift, pressing and pulling movements). Sprint training aka sprint interval training will have a huge impact in improving metabolic health.
Another interesting factor that can help is finding a way to manage stress. The only thing that is common in almost every disease is oxidative stress. When we are stressed we produce a stress hormone, also known as cortisol. To reduce cortisol we opt for foods higher in sugar. Which after consuming releases insulin into the bloodstream. Insulin then reduces the amount of cortisol within the body. Initially, this seems good, over time, it causes us more harm than good. Options that help you de-stress will be things like meditation, exercise, walking, getting into nature, swimming, sun exposure, reading, sports, bonding with friends and simply being in less stressful environments.
Sleep quality plays a major role in managing insulin. Less quality sleep increases insulin resistance. It also leads people to overeat highly processed and hyper palatable foods the following day. Getting into a good bed time and wake up routine will reduce the chances of becoming resistant to insulin. Go to bed each night at the same time and wake up at the same time. Get 7+ hours of sleep per night, ideally 8 hours of quality sleep. Sleep in a dark, quiet, cold room, and turn off blue lights.
Last but not least is a less obvious one. Surround yourself with people who support your habits. We are simply a product of our environment. If we spend time with people with bad habits, we are more likely to adopt the same habits. Find a community that are like-minded and health conscious. Gyms, park run communities, health food restaurants, etc. This goes for the things we see in our news feed on social media. Block the negativity and opt to follow things that are going to benefit your health.
Exercise, nutrition, stress management, sleep and building a community that supports your desires are optimal to improve your chances of being a high performing individual.