This morning, on NPR, I heard a Nutritionist speaking about Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when there is too much glucose (sugar) in the blood because the body is not producing insulin or not using insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas and is needed for glucose to enter the cells and be converted to energy. Type 1 Diabetes happens when the pancreas is unable to produce insulin, and Type 2 occurs when a compromised pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin. Type 1 diabetes must be controlled with daily insulin shots, where, Type 2 diabetes can actually be reversed through a healthy lifestyle of proper nutrition and exercise. Sadly, 90 – 95% of the American population that has diabetes, has Type 2.
Today, Americans do struggle with portion sizes, which I refer to as Portion-Distortion. Restaurant serving sizes in the 1970’s were 1/3 the size of what is found today in a typical American restaurant. In general, people feel that they are getting a better “deal” because they are paying “less for more”. In my humble opinion, the extra “cost” is actually being paid within their own bodies, which in turn, becomes a medical problem and expense. American’s are now much busier, eat out more, and do not make time for adequate daily exercise. Your body needs 60 minutes of exercise A DAY. All of this has definitely attributed to the increased rate of Type 2 diabetes, which was once known as an “old man/woman’s” disease, but is now being found in young children.
In regards to Type 2 diabetes, when the blood becomes saturated with glucose (sugar), the blood becomes both sticky and thick. The stickiness and thickness of the blood then begins to slow down overall circulation. When circulation slows, the following may occur:
- Outer extremities stop getting enough blood, effecting surrounding tissues, often leading to medical removal of the damaged area/tissues. (ie: toes)
- Sticky, thick blood begins to clot up inside the arteries, leading to either stroke or heart attack. Over 50% first-time heart-attacks are NOT survived.
It has been my personal observation, because diabetes has become so prevalent and it may be “controlled” by popping a pill, people don’t take this disease as serious as they should. If you or a loved one have either Type 2 diabetes or Pre-diabetes, take heart in knowing that it is controllable! Set a couple of goals to help begin the journey to a healthier you. Daily exercise, proper portion sizes, minimal sugar intake, and proper caloric intake (women 1800 a day, men 2,200 a day) are all examples of small steps that you can take. Look for foods that are high in nutrients, but low in calories. A great example of this is an Apple, which has many phytonutrients (Plant based nutrients), but only a caloric count of 90. Educate yourself and enjoy the journey of becoming a healthier you!