Plant-based Diet – Try It Over the Holidays!

November 24, 2020

 

It’s that wonderful time of year again! Time to celebrate Diwali, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year’s and other wonderful holiday occasions, as we say ‘farewell’ to a very challenging year. Time to see, even if virtually, family and friends, laugh and share tender moments.

 

The well-earned celebration often revolves around food. People with diabetes know that food choices play a critical role in regulating blood sugar and what we eat plays a major role in inflammation, insulin resistance, and other diabetes risk factors.  Indeed, healthy eating can be the number one tool in managing and even preventing type 2 diabetes.

 

One way to eat healthier is to follow a plant-based diet, which focuses on whole grains, legumes, fruit, and vegetables and limits meat and dairy. Decades of research has proven that a plant-based diet can be beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes. Now, groundbreaking case studies indicate that the same may be true for those with type 1 diabetes.

 

Popular wisdom says that diabetes and plant-based eating don’t mix, as plant foods have carbs, after all. But plant-based eating can deliver diabetes-protective benefits via:

 

  • Weight management — Vegetarians tend to have a lower BMI (body mass index.) Plant foods are high in fiber and volume, making it easier to feel full on fewer calories. Weight loss reduces insulin resistance, meaning your body can use its own insulin more effectively.

 

  • Heart health — People with diabetes generally have a higher risk of developing heart disease. Whole food, plant-based diets can help reduce inflammation and lower cholesterol and blood pressure.

 

  • Protective nutrients — Nuts, seeds, deep green veggies, and whole grains are especially high in magnesium, a nutrient linked with a lower risk of diabetes. These and other plant foods can help with insulin sensitivity.

 

Moving towards a plant-based eating plan can start with simply adding more veggies to one meal per day or “going vegetarian” for one meal per week. These and other small steps toward a plant-based diet can make a big difference in your health status. Fruits and vegetable are rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients, which serve as an overall health protector.

 

It’s as simple as a shopping list. A plant-based eating plan lends itself to consuming foods that are higher in fiber – whole grains, fruits, vegetables and even plant-based proteins, which include legumes (think lentils and chickpeas), beans (from black beans to lima beans), soy (edamame, tofu, tempeh) and nuts and seeds (peanuts, peanut butter, almonds, almond butter, pistachios, walnuts, chia seeds) all fit the mold.

 

A randomized control study of people with type 2 diabetes compared the effects of two eating plans: a low-fat vegan plan versus an eating plan that controls carbohydrates and restricts calories. Those following the vegan plan revealed greater improvement in glycemic control, lipid levels and weight loss. Almost half of the participants on the vegan plan were able to reduce their type 2 diabetes medications.

 

It isn’t all or nothing. You can start by adding a few more vegetables and fruits to your meals. Then move to swapping one animal protein with a plant protein. A plant-based eating plan can mean less meat, not meatless.

 

One thing to note – if you decide to take all animal-based proteins off your meal plan, you’ll be missing some good sources of vitamin D. Speak with your doctor about adding a vitamin D supplement to your daily routine and check your blood sugar before a meal and two hours after the start of eating to evaluate if the eating plan is working well for you.

 

So, enjoy the upcoming festivities and make sure you fill your plate with lots of vegetables, such as green beans, carrots, broccoli or Brussels sprouts.

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New Guidelines on Safe Exercise for People with Diabetes Type 1

November 19, 2020

 

Regular exercise is an important part of good diabetes management as it lowers blood glucose levels and boosts the body’s sensitivity to insulin, countering insulin resistance. Recent research suggests that exercise can even slow or prevent the development of macular degeneration and may benefit other common causes of vision loss, such as glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.

 

For people with diabetes type 1 it is important to address how to balance blood glucose levels during and after exercise. The blood sugar response can be difficult to predict, with exercise sometimes increasing the risk of falling blood sugar levels — known as hypoglycaemia — or other times causing blood sugar to rise. Glucose levels must be closely monitored, since having a “hypo” which can lead to dizziness, disorientation, anxiety, etc., is a major barrier stopping people with diabetes from incorporating exercise into daily life.

 

Many experts recommend that people with type 1 diabetes, who want to maintain an active lifestyle, exercise when their blood glucose levels are normal or modestly elevated, but not when circulating insulin concentrations are raised, such as shortly after a bolus or prandial dose of insulin. Finding the right balance can be challenging.

 

An international team of experts have laid out the world’s first standard guidance on how people with diabetes can use modern glucose monitoring devices to help them exercise safely. Due to the complexity of the glucose monitoring systems, both individuals with diabetes and their healthcare professionals may struggle with their interpretation of information. That’s one of the main reasons the guidelines were developed.

 

The guidelines look at the evidence from glucose monitoring technology and use it as the basis for clear guidance for exercise in adults, children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes. The guidance covers areas like carbohydrate consumption and safe glucose thresholds. The idea is that it should serve as an initial guidance tool, which can then be tailored for the individual patient in consultation with health professionals.

 

According to one of the authors, the guidance is a landmark agreement which could end up making a real difference to people with type 1 diabetes as it will help them to obtain the health benefits of exercise, whilst minimizing wide fluctuations in their blood glucose level.

 

The guidelines include extensive advice and recommendations for exercise preparations, issues to consider during exercise and steps to bet taken post exercise. For example, the guidelines note that target sensor glucose ranges should be between 7.0 mmol/l and 10.0 mmol/l and slightly higher for those with an increased risk of hypoglycemia. If sensor glucose levels are elevated, individuals should monitor blood ketone levels, and insulin correction may be performed. It also states that exercise should be suspended if sensor glucose level reaches <3.9 mmol/l and, if below 3.0 mmol/l, exercise should not be restarted.

 

The recommendations will need to be regularly updated to provide the best and most robust evidence-based recommendations for people with type 1 diabetes using continuous glucose monitoring devices during exercise. But this first edition is already a good start.

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Exercise is Crucial for a Healthy Heart

October 28, 2020

 

People with diabetes have a higher-than-average risk of developing heart disease and stroke. Over time, high blood glucose from diabetes can damage the blood vessels and the nerves that control the heart and blood vessels. The longer you have diabetes, the higher the chances that you will develop heart disease. People with diabetes tend to develop heart disease at a younger age than someone who doesn´t have diabetes. In fact, vascular disease is the leading cause of death among people with diabetes.

 

Taking care of your diabetes and the accompanying conditions can help you lower your chances of heart and blood vessel disease. Even if you already have heart disease or have had a heart attack or a stroke, every step you take to keep your ABCs (A1C, blood pressure, and cholesterol) in your target range will help lower your risk of future heart disease or a stroke.

 

What is ABC? A is for A1C. Your A1C check, which also may be reported as estimated average glucose (eAG), tells you your average blood glucose for the past two to three months. B is for blood pressure. High blood pressure makes your heart work harder than it should. C is for cholesterol. Your cholesterol numbers tell you about the amount of fat in your blood. Some kinds, like HDL cholesterol, help protect your heart. Others, like LDL cholesterol, can clog your arteries. High triglycerides raise your risk for heart attack or a stroke.

 

There are several heart-related warning signs you should keep an eye on, including chest discomfort when you walk or exercise, chest pain along with fatigue or shortness of breath, or if your heart rate is usually faster than 100 beats per minute. In case of these signs, you should seek medical attention.

 

Developing or maintaining healthy lifestyle habits can help you prevent heart disease and manage your diabetes. It is important to follow a healthy eating plan and get enough sleep. Making physical activity part of your routine is also essential.

 

A recent international study led by the University of Otago in New Zealand has revealed how exercise can reduce the chance of diabetes leading on to heart disease. It found that exercise triggers the release of small sequences of genetic code called microRNA, which increase protein production to improve heart structure and function. The researchers found that specific microRNA is adversely altered in the early stages of diabetes and can reliably predict the inevitable onset of heart disease. This is a pivotal new development as microRNA can serve as a reliable early biomarker for heart disease in diabetes. The study also showed that microRNA is a potential novel target for the therapeutic treatment of heart disease in people with diabetes.

 

This research has clear long-term benefits for the quality of life of people living with diabetes who have heart disease, as well as alleviating the economic burden associated with current treatment of diabetes. “By understanding the physiological role of microRNA, it is possible to see without doubt the positive role of exercise in preventing diabetic heart disease,” one of the lead New Zealand researchers added.

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Getting the Portions Right – The Diabetes Plate Method

June 18, 2020

 

In some earlier blogs, we´ve explored a buffet of issues regarding diabetes and nutrition. We´ve focused on the different types of sugar and how carrots (although not able to give you incredible night vision!) play an important role in eye health. We explored how fiber is essential to our gut health and even looked into food labelling and the importance of carb counting.

 

When you have diabetes, planning your meal is vital to guide you through when, what and how much to eat to get the nutrition you need while keeping your blood sugar levels in your target range. Having a good meal plan that packages your food tastes, goals, lifestyle and medication can be critical to avoid high or low blood sugar levels.

 

Most of us know that it’s easy to eat more food than you need, often without realizing it. The Diabetes Plate Method  is a simple and visually-appealing way to make sure that you get enough non-starchy vegetables and lean protein into your system, while limiting the amount of higher-carb food that is more likely to spike your blood sugar.

 

Carbs, protein, fat, and fiber in food all affect your blood sugar in different ways. Carbs can raise the blood sugar faster and higher than protein or fat. Fiber can help to manage blood sugar, so carbs that have fiber in them, like sweet potatoes, won’t raise blood sugar as fast as carbs with little or no fiber, such as soda.

 

The Diabetes Plate Method helps people with diabetes to control portion sizes of starchy, carbohydrate-containing foods that have the most impact on blood glucose levels. The focus is on eating more non-starchy vegetables, which are low in carbohydrates and calories and high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

 

So how does it work? To start, you need a plate that´s not too big. It is recommended to use a dinner plate that´s about 9 inches or 23 centimeters across. Then fill half of the plate with non-starchy vegetables, such as salad, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and carrots. Non-starchy vegetables are lower in carbohydrates, so they don´t raise blood sugar very much and are also high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

 

Next, you fill one quarter with a lean protein, such as chicken, turkey, beans, tofu, or eggs. Last, you fill the rest of the plate with a grain or starchy food, such as potatoes, rice, or pasta (or skip the starch altogether and double up on non-starchy veggies). Limiting your portion of carbohydrate foods to one-quarter of your plate can help keep blood sugars from rising too high after meals.

 

By using this method, people living with diabetes can create well-portioned and appealing meals with a healthy balance of vegetables, protein, and carbohydrates – without any fastidious counting, calculating, weighing, or measuring. All that´s really needed is a right-sized plate!

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Diabetes and Eyesight Loss – Can Antioxidants Help?

May 20, 2020

 

People with diabetes have an increased risk of developing serious health problems, including diabetic retinopathy – one of the leading causes of blindness in the global working age population. Early detection through regular eye checks is critical to prevent diabetic retinopathy, which is linked to high levels of blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol, and to seek timely treatment.

 

Many non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like diabetes are linked to oxidative stress within the body. That’s when the reactive oxygen species – also identified as free radicals – accumulate in the body over time, resulting in chronic inflammation. Factors that may lead to a person’s risk of long-term oxidative stress are obesity, diets high in fat, sugar and processed foods, exposure to pollution, UV light and radiation, smoking, alcohol consumption, exposure to pesticides and industrial chemicals and emotional stress.

 

While it is impossible to completely avoid free radical exposure and oxidative stress, there are several things you can do to minimize the effects of oxidative stress on your body. One is to increase the levels of antioxidants and which can reduce the risk of eye diseases and NCDs. Consuming a variety of whole, unprocessed and fresh foods gives us the right amount of essential nutrients. Antioxidant nutrients may not cure diabetic retinopathy, but they may help to promote the overall retinal health and reduce the chance of developing retinal damage.

 

Eating five servings per day of a variety of fruits and vegetables, like dark leafy greens, citrus fruits and berries, is said to go a long way to provide your body what it needs to produce antioxidants. Some vitamins are also proven to help, i.e., vitamin C, vitamin E, and particularly vitamin A, that has a crucial role in helping to maintain clear vision. Zinc and magnesium are two other essential nutrients that can possibly help to protect your eyes. Some also maintain that  Omega-3  may reduce the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. You can receive this nutrient from flaxseed and fish oil, which is rich with these beneficial types of fatty acids. Be sure to consult your healthcare provider about your specific dietary needs.

 

Another source of antioxidants that has caught the attention of some researchers and scientists is astaxanthin. Astaxanthin (3,3’-dihydroxy-β,β’-carotene-4,4’- dione, AST) is a naturally-occurring carotenoid reported to have a wide variety of biological functions, including anti-inflammatory, antiapoptosis, antioxidant (10 times higher than that of other carotenoids), anti-cancer, and neuroprotective effects. Astaxanthin is normally present in certain marine species such as salmon, crabs and shrimps but has also recently been found to occur naturally in abundance within the haematococcus pluvialis freshwater microalgae. It’s part of the carotenoid family, which means it may be beneficial for the eyes as well as other organ cells in the body. Astaxanthin seems to be particularly effective in improving blood capillary circulation in the eyes.

 

Those who plan to consume astaxanthin should choose the natural, plant-based form, as it is scientifically proven through clinical studies done in human trials, which contains higher antioxidant strength. Be sure to follow this good general advice from Dr. Yen Siew Siang, an ophthalmologist at the Eye Specialist Centre in Klang, Malaysia: “The key to a healthy life still lies mainly in a balanced dietary intake, regular physical activity, adequate good sleep, and ability to cope with emotional stress.”

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Is Our Gut the Key to Better Health?

February 11, 2020

 

Hippocrates said that “All disease begins in the gut”. Although the ancient Greek physician’s adage may not be entirely true, evidence shows that many chronic metabolic diseases do begin down there. It’s all too common to overlook the health of the gastrointestinal system, even though it contains ten times more health-determining bacteria than the rest of our body combined.

 

Each one of us hosts trillions of bacteria, viruses and fungi in our bodies – collectively known as microbiome. They play a crucial role in keeping us healthy. We all have an entirely unique network of microbiota that is originally determined by our DNA. While some bacteria are associated with disease, others are in fact extremely important for our immune system and many other aspects of health. If microbiome is so vital to our health, how can we ensure that we have enough or the right types?.

 

It’s clear that what we eat and drink has a profound impact on the makeup of the gut microbiome, and therefore a huge influence on nutrition and health. But it seems that we have lots to learn before we really understand the effects of the food we eat on our microbiomes and how our gut bacteria affect our health.

 

Recent studies show significant and consistent differences between how people’s bodies respond to the same foods. Even identical twins, who share 100% of their genes and much of their upbringing and environment, can have very different responses to identical meals; they are believed to share only slightly more microbe species than unrelated people, which may help explain the difference in nutritional responses. Shedding light on the complicated relationship between what we eat, our microbiome and our personal responses could be the key towards long-lasting good health.

 

Although everybody is different, there seem to be some broad principles that apply to all who want to improve their digestion or look after their gut health. Eating a wide range of plant-based foods is important. Avoiding highly processed foods is also a good idea, as they often contain ingredients that either suppress ‘good’ bacteria or increase ‘bad’ bacteria. Extra-virgin olive oil is believed to contain a high number of microbe-friendly polyphenols.

 

Eating enough fiber is essential as fruit, vegetables, nuts and wholegrains feed healthy bacteria and play an important role in keeping our microbiome healthy. Fiber reaches the large intestine relatively unchanged, as human cells don’t have the enzymes to digest it. Intestinal bacteria, on the other hand, have the enzymes to digest many of these fibers. Those dietary fibers that feed the “good” bacteria in the intestine, function as prebiotics and are essential for promoting the growth of “good” gut bacteria.

 

Some studies indicate that a fiber-enriched diet may improve insulin resistance. A team from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel has shown how gut microbiota may have an impact on blood sugar control. The researchers found that a person’s gut microbiota could predict how quickly their blood sugar increases in response to eating a particular food. This suggests that modifying a person’s gut microbiota may mean they can better control their blood sugar.

 

Gut microbes are also believed to be an avenue to maximizing the benefits of exercise as well as helping doctors to personalize preventative treatment for those at risk of type 2 diabetes. A team of researchers from Hong Kong claim that they have found evidence to suggest that people who have certain microbiomes in their gut may have better health outcomes when they are engaged in physical activity. Just a half hour five days a week could do it for many of us.

 

So don’t forget your gut health!

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Carb Counting – Why is it so important?

January 23, 2020

 

Carbohydrate counting, or “carb counting,” is a form of meal planning that helps many people living with Type 1 diabetes to manage their food intake and blood sugar. It involves counting the number of carb grams in a meal and matching that to the insulin dose to regulate the blood sugar. Consuming an excess of certain foods might result in persistent high blood sugar that can lead to severe complications, such as nerve damage, vision and hearing loss and cardiovascular disease.

 

Healthy carbohydrates, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, are an important part of a healthy eating plan because they provide energy, nutrients and fiber. Unhealthy carbohydrates are food and drinks with added sugars. They provide energy but have little to no nutrients.

 

Carb counting can help to control the blood glucose (or blood sugar) levels as carbohydrates affect the blood glucose more than other nutrients. To count carbs, you’ll need to estimate the number of grams of carbohydrate in the foods you eat, add them up at each meal (and snack), to get your total for the day. The key step in carb counting is identifying which foods contain carbohydrates and how rapidly these carbohydrates will boost blood sugar levels. You can use a system called the Glycemic Index (GI) to calculate this. Every food has a GI, with higher scores demonstrating a food’s rapid effect on blood sugar. Consuming low-GI foods can lead to a slower, more controllable increase in blood glucose levels.

 

Doctors and dietitians can help people with diabetes work out how many carbohydrates they should consume each day and suggest meal plans to help them maintain a healthful, nutritional balance. Previously, these and other professionals suggested a typical range of carbohydrates that was a fit-all solution for everyone with diabetes. Now, they work with individuals on a one-to-one basis to calculate the ideal daily caloric intake and carbohydrate percentages and servings each person needs. These amounts will vary according to a range of factors, including the person’s weight, height, activity levels, and whether they are taking medications.

 

Some children and teens dealing with diabetes can use options in meal planning, which the University of Iowa has developed. Using an insulin-to-carb ratio is a way to get the right amount of insulin for the carbohydrate you eat, if you are not sticking to a carbohydrate pattern. Then you can eat different amounts of carbohydrate at each meal.

Using the insulin-to-carb ratio means you will take 1 unit of insulin for a certain amount of carbohydrate. This requires accuracy, practice, planning, and a bit of math.  It’s best used when you:

 

  • Don’t like some foods served with a meal
  • Are eating a meal with a lot of carbohydrate
  • Are eating a low carbohydrate meal
  • Need or want a larger snack

 

The Iowa University children’s hospital notes that taking insulin after eating will always result in a high blood sugar a few hours later and that taking insulin before eating and then not eating all of the planned carbohydrate will result in a low blood sugar when the rapid-acting insulin peaks.

 

Being aware of the amount of carbs in food and drinks is important for everyone with diabetes, but carb counting is really helpful if you use basal and bolus insulin.

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Is PACE Labelling the Key to a Healthier Lifestyle?

December 26, 2019 - Silla Jónsdóttir

 

Nutritional labels are important as they describe the nutrient content of a food item and how many calories there are in a serving. This allows us to see what each food product is made of and helps us, at least in theory, make better dietary choices. But does it really work? Are calories a good indicator to keep us on the healthy lifestyle path?

 

Calories (kcal) are the amount of energy your body releases when digesting and absorbing the food you eat. Most guidelines for daily calorie intake indicate that men need around 2,500 kcal a day and women about 2,000 kcal to provide enough energy for your body to function. Eating more calories than you burn off can cause obesity as the excess calories are stored as body fat. But how many of us actually read the nutritional facts before we buy or consume food items? There’s evidence that current nutrition information on food/drinks is having a limited effect on changing purchasing or eating behaviors.

 

A recent study published by Loughborough University, examined the impact of replacing calories with “Physical Activity Calorie Equivalent” (PACE) food labelling. PACE labelling aims to provide information about the amount of physical activity required to expend the calories in food/drinks. For example, knowing that it would take four hours to walk off the calories in a pizza or 22 minutes to run off a chocolate bar, might lead to increased awareness of the energy cost of food rather than listing calories alone.

 

The study showed that when PACE labelling was displayed on food/drinks and menus, significantly fewer calories were selected and consumed, compared with other types of food labelling. This could lead to a decrease of about 200 calories from a person’s daily average intake, according to the researchers from Loughborough University, who looked at 14 studies on PACE labelling.

 

According to lead researcher Prof Amanda Daley, the main goal is to get people to make good decisions about what they eat and try to get everyone more physically active. Labelling food and drinks with “exercise calories” is likely to make it easier for people to understand what they are eating and encourage them to make better choices. PACE labelling will remind people of the fact that when any food is consumed, there is an energy cost that needs to be considered. It can be a useful tool to help us better understand what a calorie means and thereby enabling us to decide whether the calories are “worth it”. So before consuming a delicious chocolate cake, you may want to ask yourself if you want to spend two hours burning it off!

 

So next time we are in the store or a restaurant, let’s take a minute to study the nutrition label to make sure that we are making good choices when it comes to selecting with what we treat our body.

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Pre-Diabetes – What Should You Do?

November 25, 2019 - Ray Snider

 

Our earlier blog on “pre-disease looked at some of the causes of pre-diabetes, when your blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not as high as in full-blown Type 2 diabetes. We wanted to share a bit of the advice we found on treating pre-diabetes.

 

Although the American Diabetes Association (ADA) says medications can be an option for people with pre-diabetes, they advise people not to jump to them. The medications are not harmless as has been shown in a major clinical trial, where scientists found that aggressive treatment for diabetes resulted in a higher death rate than standard care. The ADA suggests that instead, a person with pre-diabetes should opt for lifestyle changes, including regular physical exercise, try to lose weight if needed and check the blood sugar levels regularly.

 

Healthy lifestyle choices can help persons with pre-diabetes bring blood sugar level back to normal, or at least keep it from rising toward the Type 2 diabetes levels. To prevent pre-diabetes from progressing to Type 2 diabetes, the Mayo Clinic suggests:

 

  • Eat healthy foods. Choose a variety of foods low in fat and calories and high in fiber. Focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. We have included some diet options below.

 

  • Be more active. Aim for 30 to 60 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week. Oxygen-consuming movement for 20–30 minutes improves cardiovascular well being. 

 

  • Lose excess weight. If you’re overweight, losing just 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. To keep your weight in a healthy range, focus on permanent changes to your eating and exercise habits.

 

  • Stop smoking.  Enough said.

 

  • Take medications as needed. If you’re at high risk of diabetes, your doctor might recommend metformin (Glucophage, others). Medications to control cholesterol and high blood pressure might also be prescribed. 

 

Good nutrition is one of the most important aspects of a healthy lifestyle. In a previous blog we provided an overview of several trending diets that not only aim to improve your overall health but can also help to lower and manage blood sugar levels. Here are some additional self-care diet options:

 

  • Low Fat diet  Reducing high-fat foods, e.g., dairy, oil and red meat, to improve cardiovascular wellbeing.

 

  • Low Carb diet  Limiting grains, focusing on bland vegetables and products that are high in protein and fat.

 

  • Mediterranean diet  One that accentuates natural products, vegetables, full grains, vegetables, nuts, fish and olive oil.

 

  • Diabetic diet  Enables diabetics to control their glucose by decreasing sugar and starches, drinking fewer soft drinks and eating less bread.

 

Along with good nutrition, regular physical activity is an important part of dealing with pre-diabetes. With physical exercise the cells in the body become more sensitive to insulin so it works more effectively. Taking regular walks around the block is great, going for a run, or signing up for a marathon – getting started is the most important part.

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Is HIIT training the answer to improved glycemic control?

November 21, 2019 - Dr Jyothi Shenoy and Silla Jónsdóttir

 

Most persons living with Type 2 diabetes are able to contribute greatly to stable blood sugar levels by performing regular exercises. Exercises can offer numerous benefits, but it is important to be aware of which exercises can be more effective and how to perform them to be able to derive optimum benefits for controlling blood sugar levels.

 

Introducing HITT or High Intensity Interval Training! HIIT is considered useful and effective form of exercise for persons living with Type 2 diabetes. Here is a brief discussion about how HIIT can help to improve their glycemic control.

 

High-intensity interval training involves short but strenuous bursts of activities that are interspersed with variable periods of rest and relaxation. During the period of rest, you may keep moving, though not intensely. The period of activity needs to be increased in duration and intensity as the person gains better strength and stamina. Research studies have shown that a relatively shorter duration of intense physical activities such as HIIT may provide immense health benefits that can be comparable to the longer periods of simple and less strenuous activities.

 

HIIT can help control Type 2 diabetes in several ways, including increasing the body´s energy demands with the bursts of strenuous physical activities. As a result, the body’s defense mechanisms work towards increasing the supply of glucose to these muscles in an attempt to replenish their energy stores. This is how glucose circulating in the blood is utilized faster by the muscles causing a decline in the blood sugar levels.

 

HIIT can also support liver function as research has indicated that the rapid contractions of muscles during HIIT exercises also result in the stimulation of processes called gluconeogenesis and glycogenolysis in the liver cells. Gluconeogenesis refers to the production of glucose from non-carbohydrate sources such as fats and can support the breakdown of fats to be utilized as a source of energy to restore the fuel reserves of the body after an intense HIIT session. Glycogenolysis, on the other hand, stimulates the breakdown of glycogen to release a form of glucose, which is rapidly utilized by the body. These activities would regulate blood sugar levels by improving the ability of the body to use glucose thereby controlling blood sugar levels.

 

Some of the other benefits associated with HIIT is improved cardiorespiratory fitness, which indicates how aerobically fit you are and how effectively your circulatory system sends oxygen throughout your body .

 

One of the great aspects of HIIT is that you can choose from a wide range of exercises, including cycling, squats, lunges, and push-ups. Depending on the individual’s ́ physical abilities and stamina, HIIT can be combined with aerobic exercises or resistance training to derive faster and better results for controlling Type 2 diabetes. A regular exercise program that includes HIIT and other forms of physical activities can promote the utilization of glucose in the blood so that it can be used as a source of energy by the body. This can help in controlling blood sugar levels and prevent common complications of diabetes such as retinopathy, neuropathy, and cataracts. See you out there!

 

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