ULTIMATE PREVENTION AND SELF HELP GUIDE FOR LATE ONSET DIABETES

As the numbers of people developing Late Onset Diabetes has prompted the UK Government to offer surgery to Obese people – as LOD and its side affects  are costing billions of pounds annually to treat. SURELY the time has come for far more people to practise PREVENTION which is far better than cure!

Meanwhile, allow me to share a story relating to LOD. During May 2014 on a brief visit to Barbados in May I met a lovely lady called Fillyne whose father and brother died from the complications they experienced due to their late onset diabetes – which is prevalent in Afro Caribbean peoples. Bangladeshi, Pakistani, and Indian cultures irrespective of their body weight, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders and Native Americans are also at higher risk. The reason is poorly understood and is most likely a combination of adopting the Standard American Diet (SAD), reduced exercise and genetic makeup. They show a reduced sensitivity to insulin which may be of genetic origin related to storage of carbohydrate as fat, to compensate when food was scarce. This is similar to the body using excess cholesterol during fasting; thereby lowering blood cholesterol levels. If this theory is correct then it would suggest that regular fasting would be of great benefit to people from these cultures. As it is now—they are over-fed but undernourished.  Barbadians also love their fried foods, plus refined carbohydrates… Yams, Cassava, bread fruit and white rice are eaten copiously.

Therefore, although Fillyne was born with a potentialpre-disposition for developing LOD, if she can change the environment of her cells, then she can change which genes are expressed. Fillyne’s problem, like many people in the West, is that she loves white refined foods, fried foods, pies, fizzy drinks, concentrated fruit juices, and highly refined sugary treats. And IF she continues on this path, even though she does a fair amount of exercise, she may well develop late onset diabetes with all its inherent dangers –  which are  reduced immunity (such as  pneumonia and influenza), damage to blood vessels in heart, kidneys and eyes, gum disease, increased inflammation, muscle wasting, nerve damage, skin ulcers and poor wound healing. In fact diabetes is the leading cause of cardiovascular diseases, blindness, renal failure and lower limb amputations. 

I recommended that she make the effort to exchange her daily white rice for brown, and to eat far more salads, fresh vegetables, beans, pulses and proteins. Eggs, fresh fish, lean meats, plus lentils, seeds and beans all help to balance blood sugar for far longer thus reducing her sugar/ carbohydrate cravings.

 Fillyne also believed that the concentrated  mango juices she was drinking daily were healthy. Yes, eating a whole fresh mango with all its fibre now and again is healthy – but – once it is made into a concentrated juice, its neat fructose, which converts to fat in the body if not utilised during exercise! This is the same for all concentrated fruit juices.

Supplements that help regulate blood sugar include Chromium (200mcg daily), Alpha Lipoic Acid (500mg daily), green tea (5/6 cups daily), cinnamon (1/4 teaspoon twice daily) and the Ayurvedic herbGymnema sylvestre (400mg daily) . Yet it’s important  to stress that the most important factor in reducing the likelihood of developing LOD is cutting right down on refined carbs, avoiding a ‘pot belly’ and taking sufficient exercise.

The average American eats 22 teaspoons of sugar daily (150-175 pounds of sugar per year) PLUS another 50 pounds annually of sugar substitutes such as High fructose corn syrup, aspartame or the new kid on the block- advantame.. It is impossible for the human body to process this much sugar; insulin levels can remain elevated 24 hours daily.

Two sweeteners which could be used are xylitol and stevia. Xylitol is a non-fermentable sugar alcohol and can be naturally extracted as sap from birch tree bark or more commonly manufactured by industry. It contains 30-40% lower calories than sugar and it’s very low glycaemic index means it does not affect insulin levels. Stevia on the other hand has no calories and comes from the leaves of the South American plant Stevia rebaudiana. It is around 200 times sweeter than sugar but has negligible effects on blood glucose. Though both these sweeteners will help in the management of blood sugar control, stevia(likely to be the more natural) would be the better option of the two.

We often tend to think that Late Onset only occurs in overweight people, BUT, it can also develop in thin people like me too ! Read on to discover why. Meanwhile, three million people in the UK alone have Type 2 Diabetes and another 850,000 are estimated to have the condition but don’t know it – yet.

Insulin resistance precedes Type 2 Diabetes by years, whereby more and more insulin is needed by the cells so they eventually become resistant and as sugar damages the Beta cells in the pancreas; this organ produces less insulin. As well as Diabetes Type 2, Insulin resistance is also implicated in fatty liver, metabolic syndrome, polycystic ovary disease (PCOS), cardiovascular disease such as atherosclerosis, stroke and angina. Wild fluctuations in insulin levels are a major stress on the body. Insulin makes your body retain sodium and fluid; this raises blood pressure. So every time there is a spike in blood sugar, your blood pressure will rise accordingly. Yet millions of people are completely unaware of this and will have a false sense of security because they have had their fasting glucose checked by their doctor and they have been reassured that it is within the normal range. Then they will carry on as normal eating the SAD, completely oblivious to the blood sugar spikes occurring after every meal.

The only way to properly test your blood sugar is by self-monitoring using a blood sugar meter (pin prick on finger). This should be done one hour after a meal and again 2 hours after a meal. This is called postprandial testing and is really the only accurate measure to tests for spikes. Remember that every time you spike, you damage beta cells. Interestingly a commonality of people living well into their 90’s and 100’s is that they have both low insulin and glucose levels.

When you test your glucose you should be trying to meet the following targets—fasting  blood sugar (on rising) less than 5.8mmol/L (99mg/dL), one (1) hour after eating should be under 7.8 mmol/L (140mg/dL) and two (2) hours after eating should be 6.6 mmol/L (119mg/dL)

You are trying to see how long it takes to get back to normal glucose values after you eat a meal. This is valuable information because you can tweak your diet accordingly. Write down the values and do this every day for a week. You will see that your blood sugar “spikes” after eating cereals, bread, rice, corn, potatoes and fruit but you want to know “how high” and “how long” it takes to return to normal. By altering your diet (for example get your carbohydrates from vegetables) you will be able to adjust your blood sugar levels so that you find  a diet which works for you as the same foods may spike differently for other people. When you know which foods trigger your blood sugar to spike, you can eliminate them. Once you achieve normal blood sugar levels you can slowly reintroduce some of the starches back into your diet; play with your food – but check for spikes.

You can do better than the above values by incorporating the advice below. So the message is “keep it tight”. You don’t want wildly swinging blood sugar levels because millions of people have this and they are pre diabetic and don’t know it.

  Yet, LOD is almost totally preventable with the right dietary and lifestyle changes.  Naturopath Stephen Langley says ‘For most thin people who go on to develop late onset diabetes,  long term stress can often be at the root cause of their diabetes. This is because of blood sugar fluctuations that occur through increased Cortisol release.  Cortisol is one of the stress hormones released by the adrenal glands and if a person tends to be a Type A, always rushing and generally hyper  –  their livers will release stored sugars into their bloodstreams as a response to the stress.’

If, like me, you tend to be a hyper Type A person, it is very important that you get plenty of exercise to disperse the excess cortisol which over time can become toxic to every organ in the body, especially the brain. You will also need to get plenty of sleep which helps to re-balance stress hormone levels.  Generally if your adrenals are balanced, cortisol levels are at their highest at 8am, which is what wakes us up in the mornings!  If your adrenals are out of balance then you may have difficulty in waking up and feel sluggish. You may also get a ‘second wind late at night’.

And for those of you who may be overweight, this year gentlemen unless you are very tall make it your goal to not allow your waistline to exceed 99cm (39”) and ladies 90cm (35”).

There is no doubt that obesity can kill you in the long-term. Make the effort to eat less refined sugary ‘white’ foods, high fat dairy, sugary drinks including concentrated fruit juices. Eat more complex carbohydrate foods that have a low glycaemic index which help balance blood sugar levels – such as porridge, beans, pulses like lentils and mung beans . Eat protein such as eggs, lean chicken, turkey, lamb, fish, cottage cheese, with small amounts of carbohydrates such as sweet potato, brown rice or pastas, to further slow the release of sugars from your diet. Basically the more white foods and refined sugars you eat (carbohydrates) the more health problems you are likely to encounter

In a nutshell-ideally you should address three aspects to controlling blood sugar-reduce glucose spikes, slow down glucose release and burn glucose.

1)     Reduce glucose spikes by doing the following:-

Eat smaller meals; eat more often; have a good breakfast and take regular snacks such as almonds. Eliminate caffeine, cow’s milk, alcohol and fruit juices; remember that this is a serious condition so if you are at risk you have to make drastic changes to your lifestyle and food intake.

Also remove all refined sugars,  and substitute withstevia or xylitol if you have to use some sweetener. A little bit of raw unfiltered honey occasionally may be taken also. It has been estimated that if you go “cold turkey” on sugar (such as people fasting for example), you will reset your body’s metabolism and insulin levels in 14 days. The postprandial test will help monitor these spikes.

2)     Slow down glucose release by doing the following:-

Eat foods with a low glycaemic index (GI), these tend to be complex carbohydrates such as lentils as mentioned above. Increase fibre such as found in a  wide variety of leafy green vegetables; include protein with every meal and good organic first pressed oils such as olive, hemp, walnut and flax. In fact eating a dairy food such a goat or sheep’s cheese with your meal has shown to dramatically slow down glucose release. Chia seeds are particularly good and a good start to the day would be Chia porridge (pour ½ cup boiling water over 2 tablespoons chia seeds and 2 tablespoons hemp seeds and let sit for 3-4 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon coconut oil, almonds, cashews, goat’s yogurt and blueberries).Take ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon powder twice daily or boil two or three cinnamon sticks in 4 cups of water for 20 minutes and take this tea over the day. Coriander (cilantro) tea has the same effect. Take 200mcg chromium GTF daily with food or 400mg Gymnema syvestre daily.

3)     Burn glucose by doing the following:-

Exercise daily (this does not have to be overly strenuous but should increase heart rate.  Drink 2 or 3 cups of green tea daily (decaf if possible) or take 1 large teaspoon of organic raw coconut oil twice daily; both of these help to increase metabolism. Coffee without the caffeine may benefit by increasing insulin sensitivity. Organic green bean decaf is best.

If you do all three of the above regularly you will undoubtedly reduce your blood sugar and insulin levels.