As I discussed in part 1 of this series the process of type II diabetes is significantly influenced by the amount of body fat a person has, particularly fat around the abdominal area. Lifestyle modification in the way of diet and exercise are crucial factors for addressing type II diabetes. They must be present to achieve success if one is attempting to use a natural approach. The rest of Part 2 will outline Diet, Exercise and supplement strategies to help the body naturally control and reverse this condition.
*As a side note, it is very important to mention that all people with type II diabetes should be monitored by a physician. Regular blood tests and physical exams are needed to ensure that a person’s condition is under control and that irreversible damage is not being done to the system. The following are important tests to have done regularly (every 3-6 months) until the condition is under control:
- Glycosylated Hemoglobin
- Fasting Blood Sugar
- Kidney Function Tests
- Eye Exams
- Cardiovascular Health (blood pressure & cholesterol)
- Evaluation of Peripheral Circulation and Nerve Function
The most important thing for a type 2 diabetic to focus on in the diet is eliminating all high glycemic foods. If you remember from part 1 of the series, high glycemic foods break down into glucose in the blood very quickly. This in turn causes an excess release of insulin which signals fat storage. The stimulation of this cycle over and over again from the repeated consumption of high glycemic foods leads to the process of cells becoming resistant to insulin. The primary focus of the diet should be on low glycemic foods such as lean meats (chicken, turkey, fish, wild game) and vegetables (broccoli, zucchini, spinach, chard, mushrooms, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, butternut squash, yellow squash, green beans etc.). Some vegetables, such as carrots and beets, tend to have a higher glycemic index and should be consumed in moderation. Generally speaking, if the vegetable grows below ground it is more likely to have a higher glycemic index.
There is another factor called the Glycemic Load that is important to consider when determining the best type of food for a type II diabetic. The glycemic load takes into account the glycemic index and overall provides us with a much more accurate assessment of how food affects our blood sugar levels. The glycemic load is calculated by multiplying the amount of carbohydrate in a serving of food by that particular food’s glycemic index. This number is then divided by 100. The higher the glycemic load, the greater the stress on insulin. The Appendix has a table of foods ranked according to their glycemic index and glycemic load.
Eliminating these foods entirely is not an easy thing to do, but if someone is serious about making a significant impact on this condition it is well worth the effort. For those people not ready to make an extreme commitment, start implementing some of the ideas slowly and one at a time. For example, commit to eating bread products only 2x per week. Or cut out the cake and cookies you may normally eat at the office. These small changes may not be enough to have huge impacts on your condition, but can help you get in the right frame of mind to make larger, more significant changes in the future.
Exercise is an essential piece of treating type II diabetes naturally because not only does it foster weight loss but it also can directly affect the cells sensitivity to insulin. Losing weight, particularly around the abdominal area, starts reversing the signals that trigger cells to become resistant to insulin in the first place. For weight loss to occur, it is important to focus on both weight training (anaerobic) and cardiovascular (aerobic) activity.