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Obesity, Diabetes + The GI Scale

Type 2 diabetes is directly linked to obesity. Period. End of story.

40% of American adults are obese and nearly 10% of Americans suffer with some form of Diabetes. That’s literally 1 out of every 10 people. And it’s getting worse by the day.

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder where blood sugar levels remain too high. There are multiple kinds of diabetes that effect all age groups and walks of life including:

  • Pre Diabetes
  • Type 1
  • Type 2
  • Gestational

All types of diabetes treatments include supplementing insulin, adjusting diet, incorporating exercise and possible additional hormones.

Pre diabetes

Pre diabetes is when your blood sugar is elevated, but not quite high enough to cross the line into being full blown diabetic. At this stage, a cure is very possible by exercising, losing weight and eating the correct foods. Without making the lifestyle changes needed, those diagnosed with pre diabetes will eventually develop type 2 diabetes.

Gestational diabetes

Gestational develops during pregnancy only. It’s caused by the same underlying reason, but the good news is that it usually goes away soon after delivery.

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1, previously known as juvenile or insulin dependent diabetes, is the rarest of the 4 forms. This particular type means the pancreas doesn’t produce enough or any insulin at all.

Insulin is the hormone that allows glucose (sugar) from the food we eat to enter our cells to be used as energy.

Without insulin, the sugar stays in our blood stream, unused. Over time, if left untreated any form of diabetes will lead to eye, liver, nerve and kidney damage. It also can lead to limb amputation, stroke and heart disease.

There is no cure for type 1, and those who are diagnosed must live with it for their entire lives. Family history, age, genetics and geography are all risk factors in type 1, and it is not caused by obesity or insulin resistance.

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2, previously known as adult onset or noninsulin dependent diabetes, this is the bad boy. As a type 2 diabetic, either the insulin that the pancreas produces is no longer used correctly or the pancreas can’t keep up with the amount of insulin the body needs to regular blood sugar.

Again, type 2 diabetes is directly linked to obesity and a sedentary lifestyle.

We can prevent or reverse type 2 diabetes by choosing healthy foods, exercising and staying a healthy weight. Doctors aren’t sure why obesity leads to insulin resistance but they’re researching to learn why. I personally don’t need to know why, knowing that it does is enough to get my butt in gear.

The Glycemic Index

The glycemic index is a ranking of foods that contain carbohydrates and how they effect blood sugar – in everyone not in diabetics alone. The lower the scale, the less it effects blood sugar. The higher the scale, the more it effects blood sugar.

I am not legally allowed, or qualified in the least bit, to advise anyone on how to eat to cure or prevent diabetes, but I will say the best way to eat in general is to follow a plan low on the glycemic index.

Low GI foods include, but aren’t limited to:

  • 100% stone-ground whole wheat or pumpernickel bread
  • Oatmeal (rolled or steel-cut), oat bran, muesli
  • Sweet potato, corn, yam, lima/butter beans, peas, legumes and lentils
  • Most fruits, non-starchy vegetables and carrots

High GI, aka foods to avoid, include but aren’t limited to:

  • White bread or bagels
  • Corn flakes, puffed rice, bran flakes, instant oatmeal
  • Short grain white rice, rice pasta, macaroni and cheese from mix
  • Russet potato, pumpkin
  • Pretzels, rice cakes, popcorn, saltine crackers
  • Melons and pineapple

Carbohydrates are turned into sugar, causing our pancreas to release insulin. Eating foods high on the glycemic index causes our blood sugar to spike and in turn causes an insulin spike. You know that dreaded energy “crash” an hour after we eat a meal heavy in carbs? We can thank blood sugar for that.

What happens with over use of anything? It breaks. Same with our poor little pancreas. #savethepancreas

Avoid spikes in blood sugar and insulin by eating foods low on the glycemic index. By doing that, our blood sugar level remains stable, preventing the “crash” in our energy and overworking our pancreas.

As a child, I watched my grandmother inject herself with insulin every day. Diabetes runs close in both sides of my family – it is the #1 main motivation behind my very own lifestyle choices. My dad had my grandmothers make up, and I have my dad’s. There’s really only one way out of this for me and that’s to pull myself together now.

Diabetes is one of the main metabolic disorders we can avoid by living a healthy lifestyle, and I feel like we owe it to ourselves and our families to avoid it as best as we can.

To read more in depth, a quick google search will find you endless resources.

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