With Type 2 Diabetes, It's About Diet, Exercise and Sleep

Type 2 diabetes is a huge and growing problem in the West. If it continues at this pace, the costs to society will be enormous. And it is tough for the person who has it. Type 2 diabetes accounts for almost 90 percent of overall diabetes, and is usually caused when the insulin receptor sites on our cells become resistant to insulin, rendering it non-effective.

So what factors put us at greater risk for metabolic disorders such as diabetes, and how can we get this disease under control?

Get a handle on your diet
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. Most of us are carbohydrate addicts, consuming too many of the wrong kinds with very little fiber. The great majority (more than 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!

Very important: Increase your fiber intake. One peer-reviewed study that appeared in the June, 2005 issue of the journal Diabetes Care, showed that those with the lowest intakes of daily fiber had the highest incidences of insulin resistance. Researchers from the University of Helsinki, in Finland have found that the inclusion of more fiber 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-fiber intake equates to enhanced insulin sensitivity, and would thereby play a part in the prevention of type 2 diabetes.1

Don't forget to move
When it comes to the prevention and treatment of metabolic disorders, exercise is mandatory, not an option. Studies show that regular bouts of proper exercise enhance insulin sensitivity and decrease insulin resistance.2,3 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.4

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, which appeared in the journal 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.5

Sleep it off
Aside from our poor diets, too many of us neither exercise enough nor get sufficient sleep. What if you were able to sleep your way to better blood sugar control? Research presented in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, indicates that even short-term sleep restriction puts one at risk for

developing obesity and diabetes.6 So, the message is quite clear, if you want to avoid metabolic disorders, start consuming more dietary fiber, perform regular exercise, and make sure you get 7 to 8 hours of deep sleep each night. References:
  1. Ylonen K, et al. Associations of dietary fiber with glucose metabolism in non-diabetic relatives of subjects with type 2 diabetes: the Botnia Dietary Study. Diabetes Care. 2003 Jul;26(7):1979-85.
  2. D. Mowrey. Fat Management - The Thermogenic Factor. 1994. Victory Publications, Lehi, Utah.
  3. Weinstock RS, Dai H, Wadden TA. Diet and exercise in the treatment of obesity: effects of 3 interventions on insulin resistance. Arch Intern Med. 1998 Dec 7-21;158(22):2477-83.
  4. Guyton: Textbook of Medical Physiology. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders, 1981.
  5. Ross R, et al. Exercise-induced reduction in obesity and insulin resistance in women: a randomized controlled trial. Obes Res. 2004 May;12(5):789-98.
  6. Ayas NT, et al. A prospective study of self-reported sleep duration and incident diabetes in women. Diabetes Care. 2003 Feb;26(2):380-4.