One way to try to take control of diabetes
If you want to take control of type 2 diabetes, you need to take on the root cause of this chronic disease.
Often, doctors and patients focus on getting your blood sugar in their normal range. You should also consider your body’s insulin resistance, the root cause of diabetes. So what is insulin resistance?
It’s when your body has an impaired response to insulin, resulting in elevated blood sugar.
Type 2 diabetics make too much insulin, as their bodies attempt to compensate for the insulin that’s not working. In other words, your pancreas is working overtime, making more insulin. That results in more insulin resistance, which then results in more insulin production. The cycle can make diabetes worse.
So how can you deal with insulin resistance? Avoid these things that cause insulin spikes:
- Starchy carbohydrates and sugar: All fruit and veggies are carbohydrates, but the ones to avoid are those with higher carb counts.
- High-protein diet: Excessive protein production results in gluconeogenesis, the conversion of protein to glucose in the liver.
- Proteins combined with sugar/starch: For example, chicken fried with flour, hot dogs combined with a bun or ribs covered in barbecue sauce could cause a significant spike.
- Eating too much in general: Almost anything you eat will trigger insulin production because food stimulates gut hormones which trigger insulin production.
- Lack of sleep and stress: Both lead to cortisol production, which causes glucose production in the liver, resulting in insulin spikes.
In addition, you can try intermittent fasting. By resting your pancreas periodically from eating, you avoid excessive insulin spikes. This results in increasing the pancreas’ ability to rest from the hard work of continuing needing to produce insulin. Work with your doctor if you are considering this approach because a reduction in medication or change in the timing of its consumption will be key to avoid hypoglycemia.
Controlling the symptoms of diabetes like blood sugar levels will continue to be a way for you to gauge if you are managing it well, but the primary focus should be reversing insulin resistance. Make sure to keep your health care team aware of any lifestyle changes you are considering.
Want to learn more about your risk for diabetes? Take a free, quick online assessment by clicking here.
About the Author
Dr. Tony Hampton, MBA, CPE is Board Certified in Obesity Medicine and Family Medicine. He currently is the physician lead for Advocate's Healthy Living Program as well as Regional Medical Director for the South Region of Advocate's Medical Group. He is an inspirational public speaker, blogger, coach, and has authored a book entitled Fix Your Diet, Fix Your Diabetes. He has led multiple programs and works with AdvocateAurora to coach patients on their journey to achieve their health care goals by balancing nutrition, exercise, stress reduction, increased sleep, and needed medical interventions. He believes that a shift is needed in healthcare where we all work together focus on prevention and wellness. He is married and a father of two college-aged boys.