When trying to get to the heart of diabetes management there are some very important things that one must consider. First, when trying to learn how to control diabetes you must not only focus on what lowers but what raises your blood sugar. And I’d like to share with you a couple of little known ways for affecting both that you may not be aware of.
Did You Know That Stress Can Raise Your Blood Sugar?
Yes it can. Chronic stress can raise your blood sugar levels because stress catecholamines and cortisol stimulales glucose to be created in the liver and increases the amount of blood sugar available in the muscle. These hormones negate the effects of insulin, resulting in insulin resistance and increased blood sugar levels.
Cortisol and epinephrine also increase lipolysis in fat tissue, releasing free fatty acids and causing protein breakdown in the muscle. This all leads to your blood sugar levels going up and your free fatty acid levels going up. If free fatty acid levels get too high this generally means that the pH of the body decreases and the body becomes more acidic, which is not good.
While this is a topic for another conversation, one thing to note is it is important to reduce the ongoing stress that you have in your life.
Along the same lines as chronic stress would be stressful events. These can also cause probems. This could include infections, surgery, and emotional distress. Emotional distress is a big one. This could include stress from life changes such as a new job, or going through a divorce, death in the family, and all have an impact on your blood sugar levels. It is important to understand that these can impact your blood sugar levels and find ways to keep stress in check.
Some simple ways to do this would be exercise, yoga, meditation. Anything that helps you to “chill out” and relax.
Type 2 Diabetes Management With Healthier Eating & Exercise
Here are some simple ways how to control diabetes by staying on course with healthier eating:
- pay attention to portion sizes
- steam rather than fry food
- eat well-balanced meals
- opt for water instead of soft drinks
- stay active
Here are some tips for exercise which will help you to manage diabetes and reduce stress levels:
- exercise is anything that gets you moving
- walk or ride a bike instead of drivling
- find an active hobby you enjoy
- understand your blood sugar levels and how the exercises you do affect your levels
Understand your numbers and know your A1C level. Lower your A1C, for every 1% drop in A1C reduces risk of the following complications:
- 35% reduction in small blood vessels in eyes and kidneys
- 18% reduced risk of heart attack
- 7% reduction in all causes of mortality
- improving glycemic control reduces the risk of damage to large blood vessels also
One last thing on eating is portion size. The proper portions should be as follows:
- 1/2 non-starchy vegetables
- 1/4 protein
- 1/4 carbohydrates
Lastly, keep your weight under control and know your BMI. Obesity is a cousin to diabetes.
Bonus Diabetes Management Tip
I’d say the majority of physicians that I work with recommend that their patients add more fiber to their diet. And for good reason. Let me explain why.
For starters, carbohydrates consist of sugars, starches, and fibers. Sugars and starches are broken down and converted into glucose, which is the energy source for most of the body’s cells. But there is a difference when it comes to Fiber.
Fiber cannot be broken down and converted to glucose. Fibers are made up of glucose combined with other structures. They are not digestible by humans. Some fibers are (soluble) in water, while others are not and form a bulk of the stool.
So what does all this mean?
It means that fiber is an excellent choice for diabetics because it maintains glucose control. It does this by delaying the speed at which food passes through your stomach. This allows for a slower rate of absorption of glucose into the bloodstream which reduces the spikes of blood sugar levels. It also reduces insulin resistance/improves the body’s sensitiviy to insulin. This means that it helps to get sugar into your bloodstream through the effects of insulin instead of resisting insulin. Essentially this means it helps insulin to do its job better.
Prior to using any of this material, please consult with your physician as no dietary or exercise plan is right for everyone.