Diabetes Part 1
Type 2 diabetes is a terrible scourge on our society. It causes amputation, blindness, heart disease, neurological damage, liver failure and kidney failure. The social and economic cost of this disease is measured in the tens of billions. People don’t realize what slightly elevated blood sugar can do to their body.
Healthy fasting blood sugar is typically 3-6ng/dl, 6-7 is a dangerous zone, 7-11 is the beginnings of diabetes and >11 is a full blown diabetic. In 98% of cases, type 2 diabetes can be reversed! REVERSED! The damage done to the nerves, organs and other parts of the body can’t be repaired but the diabetes can be stopped and all future damage prevented.
The treatment is simple but very difficult. It's called “diet and exercise”. Now, when I say diet and exercise, I’m not saying become an olympic athlete. I’m saying clean yourself up.
In most cases, if diabetics cut their carbohydrate intake to sub 100g/day and begin with 3 hours of exercise per week at moderate intensity, they can make significant changes to their body in 2-3 months. Holding that lifestyle for 6 months, I’ve seen many patients reverse diabetes, get off medications and even get to the point where they can biweekly indulge in cake or ice cream as long as the bulk of the time they are low carb and keep training.
Given the risk of blindness (1/7) and amputation (1/50) not tackling this major risk to society is mind blowing. No one is going to ask a diabetic to run a marathon tomorrow but being a sensible low carbohydrate diet and a graded exercise program to begin getting the endocrine system in order is well within reason. Get out there and move.Page Break
Exercise in Diabetes
Type 2 diabetics get a lot of conflicting information when it comes to diet and exercise. There are many reasons for this, part of it is that many different approaches will work and part of it is that researchers (like all people) can be employed by those with nefarious intentions.
A mixed program seems to be best for countering type 2 diabetes.
What this involves is moderate intensity cardiovascular exercise and weight training.
What does that mean in real life?
Get on a treadmill, bike, elliptical, rower or ANY MACHINE YOU WANT. Move at a pace where you can answer yes or no questions but NOT hold a conversation. Do that for 20 minutes. Please, the first few times, have someone around and monitor your sugar to make sure you aren’t pushing too hard. 20 min 3xwk of moving the body at a moderate pace. As you get fitter, that pace will increase.
Now, weight training. I typically push for free weights and heavy compound work. If you are in a position to do that, DO THAT! If you have never lifted weights and are a diabetic, nautilus, hammer and other machines are your friends.
Here’s the basic rule (FOR A DIABETIC) Do 2 sets of 8 reps for every single exercise covering the whole body. During the second set, number 7 and 8 should be damn near impossible. Training local muscular metabolism will change how your body processes sugar and fat since the muscles will need them for exercise. As you eat properly and train properly, your liver and kidney function will begin to normalize and you will begin to shift yourself towards a healthy body.
Once you put on 5lb of muscle and remove 10lb of fat- you will find your blood sugar is in a much better place. You will take much less (if any) medication and many of your associated symptoms will be gone.
I have seen people with diabetes for years reverse it in 6 months simply with walking for 20-30 min 3xweek and 15 min of basic weight training 3xwk. If you feel that 3 hours/wk is too much of a commitment to straighten out your health, please reevaluate your priorities.Page Break
Why not low fat ?
A lot of people have contacted me about I push low carb over low fat.
- The research at this time trends towards low carb
- The cholesterol hypothesis of heart disease has been abandoned
- Without a certain amount of fat, you can not make hormones, enzymes and neurotransmitters.
- You do not need carbohydrates to live
- You need fat based vitamins (B12, D, A, K) to be healthy
Hence I suggest one eat adequate fat (adequate is under debate) but minimize carbs as they are essentially a vehicle to get fiber into the body.
Stay tuned for part 2 on Diabetes.