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Diabetes and Metabolism

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Dr. Boyd Eaton, an expert in the diet of early man, believes that the less you eat like your ancestors, the more susceptible you'll be to many of the diseases of modern civilization-heart disease, arthritis, cancer, and diabetes.

Dr. Boyd Eaton, an expert in the diet of early man, believes that the less you eat like your ancestors, the more susceptible you'll be to many of the diseases of modern civilization heart disease, arthritis, cancer, and diabetes.

These days, the average North American diet doesn't even come close to the diet of early man.

The majority of us are carbohydrate addicts, consuming too many of the wrong kinds with very little fibre. Aside from our poor diets, too many of us neither exercise enough nor get sufficient sleep. According to research, all these factors put us at greater risk for metabolic disorders like diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes, which accounts for almost 90 percent of overall diabetes, is usually caused when the insulin receptor sites on our cells become resistant to insulin, rendering it non-effective. The great majority (over 80 percent) of type 2 diabetics are overweight. Losing excess body fat is one of the first things anyone facing this disorder should take seriously.

One of many peer-reviewed studies appearing in the June 2005 issue of the journal Diabetes Care showed that those with the lowest intakes of daily fibre had the highest incidences of insulin resistance.

Researchers from the University of Helsinki in Finland have found that the inclusion of more fibre in the diet is an effective measure for avoiding most cases of type 2 diabetes. After reviewing data from 552 people, the researchers concluded that enough evidence exists to support the fact that high dietary fibre intake equates to enhanced insulin sensitivity and would thereby play a part in the prevention of type 2 diabetes.

When it comes to the prevention and treatment of metabolic disorders, exercise is no longer an option. Studies show that regular bouts of proper exercise enhance insulin sensitivity and decrease insulin resistance. This should come as no surprise once you understand that working muscles have the ability to take in and utilize up to 30 times the normal glucose levels of non-exercising muscles.

Researchers from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario have shown that exercise may even be more important than diet when it comes to insulin resistance and obesity. The study, appearing in the May 2004 issue of Obesity Research, indicated that daily exercise over a 14-week period, without caloric restriction, was effective in reducing substantial amounts of body fat especially abdominal fat and insulin resistance in 54 premenopausal women.

You now know that proper diet and exercise can help you avoid and treat metabolic disorders, but what if you were able to sleep your way to better blood sugar control?

Research presented in the June 2005 issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism indicates that even short-term sleep restriction puts one at risk for developing obesity and diabetes.

The message is quite clear: if you want to avoid metabolic disorders, start consuming more dietary fibre, perform regular exercise, and make sure you get seven to eight hours of deep sleep each night.

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