The blood glucose of an adult should be around 70-120mg/dl or 3.85-6.6 mml/l. If your blood sugar is too high, you will excrete sugar through urination - if it is too low you will experience weakness and tiredness. In today’s world, type 2 diabetes cases are on the rise due to our unhealthy diets and lifestyles. The good news is, type 2 diabetes is often preventable and in some cases, even reversible.
The body is a very sensitive machine that regulates the blood sugar level through various methods, of which the regulation through the liver and insulin play the most important roles. When there is too much sugar (simple carbohydrates) in the diet, this system is simply overwhelmed. What actually happens is that the cells in our bodies become less sensitive to insulin and therefore simply can’t take up sugar anymore OR we have too many cells (overweight) that the pancreas simply can’t produce enough insulin for the cells to take from the blood stream. On top of that, stress and the deficit of vitamin b6 and the mineral chrome, can also be possible factors for lower glucose tolerance. Lower glucose tolerance is actually the warning sign of a manifested type 2 diabetes and that your body can’t handle sugar very well. This means that your mental state as well as the quality of your diet (nutrient rich or low) all influence how you react to carbohydrates.
But the big question is: Can you reverse it once you have it? Some people can. Here’s the story of one of my friends who wasn’t willing to be on medication for the rest of his life and decided to see what lifestyle changes could do for him instead.
One day, my friend called me and asked if I could help him. I have in-depth knowledge on the body, nutrition and fitness but I am not a doctor – so I couldn’t promise anything, but I said that I was willing to try. The first step was a detailed wellness diary that I asked him to fill in for one week: what he ate, drank, how long he slept, stress level and more. Once I had it in front of me, I could see where the diabetes was coming from. Daily 7-9 portions (one portion being one fist) of simple carbohydrates like rice and white noodles, 4 portions of protein, a few cups of coffee and maximum of just 1-2 portions of fruits and veggies per day. Our body can cope with “bad” nutrition for quite some time, but at one point, it will give in.
We went through his wellness diary and agreed to make step by step changes. We first started with replacing all simple carbohydrates with complex carbohydrates; so instead of white rice - brown and wild rice, instead of white bread – wholegrain bread, and so on. As a second step we introduced new items into his diet like chia seeds (they worked really well for him) and quinoa which can be an amazing rice replacement.
One of the best ways to combat and prevent diabetes is exercise – by building up muscle mass, the blood sugar level can be regulated better. So he started to move for 30 minutes every day and engage in weight training.
More and more portions of fruits and veggies got introduced to the diet. Late night snacking was replaced with a caffeine-free tea. There was an eating routine established and most of all, more awareness of what the body really wants and needs - the feeling of being genuinely hungry instead of eating when stressed or bored.
Three months down the road and the result was amazing - he went from 11-12mmol/l on average to 6-8mmol/l. And this ONLY by changing his diet, introducing exercise and more awareness. Hippocrates said “Let food be thy medicine” – and this was amazing proof to me.
So if you’re not feeling your best, or like my friend, have a condition which you’d like to improve or reverse, perhaps a closer look at your diet and lifestyle could shed some light and allow you to take charge and change things for the better.
If he could do it – so can you!