A health condition tearing up the headlines is “prediabetes.” This is a precursor, or forerunner, to type 2 di-abetes, which has reached epidemic proportions worldwide. Prediabetes is characterized by blood sugar levels that may be either normal or higher than normal, but not high enough to be considered diabetes. The major problem with prediabetes is that the body does not use insulin normally.
Insulin is a hormone that, when not produced in sufficient amounts by the pancreas or used properly by the body, triggers diabetes. Nearly half of prediabetics develop the full-blown disease within five to ten years. And that’s the bad news. The good news is that prediabetes can be reversed with diet, weight loss and exercise.But what kind of diet – and what kind of exercise?Major studies show that if you re-duce your fat intake to 30 percent of total calories; cut your saturated fat intake to less than 10 percent of total calories; and eat more fiber (more veggies, and whole grains), you will reduce your risk of diabetes and re-verse prediabetes. So if you want to do either, it’s preferable to emphasize complex carbohydrates and down-play simple sugars. Simple sugars are a major source of calories, but offer no nutrients to go along with the calories. Because of this, it’s best to limit simple sugars in your diet.Complex carbs also contain fiber, which helps transform your eat-healthier efforts into something so simple and automatic. You’ll be able keep your blood sugar under better control, without constantly working at it or making yourself crazy.
The reason is that high-fi-ber foods break down into glucose more gradually and are absorbed more slowly into the bloodstream. They stabilize your blood sugar, and do not cause post-meal surges. Shoot for a goal of 25 to 35 grams of fiber daily. Another important move is meal combining. By combining protein, complex carbohydrates, and fat in the same meal, for example, you automatically slow-release glucose because your digestive system takes longer to break down this combina-tion of foods. This manner of food combining helps prevent spikes in blood sugar after you eat a meal.Additionally, one of the best ways to keep your blood sugar level as close to normal as possible is to eat multiple meals throughout the day, preferably at the same time each day.
Generally, this involves eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus a mid-morning meal and a mid-after-noon meal. At every meal, have a protein and a carbohydrate (preferably a natu-ral, high-fiber carbohydrate). This combination of foods produces a slow release of glucose to keep your blood sugar stabilized and your en-ergy level high throughout the day. What’s more, your body works best when nutrients are replen-ished every couple hours. Here’s an added benefit, particu-larly if you need to lose weight: Eating multiple meals can help you with weight control. Every time you eat a meal your meta-bolic rate goes up. The reason is that your body starts working very hard to turn that meal into fuel.
As part of digestion and absorption, heat is given off in a process called thermogenesis, and this elevates your metabolic rate. So by eating frequent meals throughout the day, your metabo-lism is constantly charged up, and your body burns calories more efficiently.Dietwise, what I’ve described for preventing diabetes are the prin-ciples of the Parrillo Nutrition Plan! Our program not only helps you build lean muscle, it also con-tains the ingredients of a health- building diet.As for exercise, all forms can lower your risk of getting dia-betes. For prevention, however, strength training is extremely im-portant. Strength training helps normalize the flow of glucose from the blood into the muscle tissue where it can be proper-ly used for energy. This effect may help regulate the body’s use of glucose, thereby controlling or preventing diabetes and its complications. Strength training also encourages insulin use by acti-vating a key protein in muscle cells that helps insulin push glucose into these cells. Muscle cells need lots of glucose for energy.If you’re concerned about diabetes, rethink your diet and exercise pro-gram. And consider showing the Parrillo programs to your physician. They may just help you overcome, and deal with, this epidemic in your own life.