'We need to make sure we eat whole foods, eat right for our metabolic type and eat every three to four hours.' *Photo supplied
'We need to make sure we eat whole foods, eat right for our metabolic type and eat every three to four hours.' *Photo supplied

Balancing our blood sugar is essential in preventing the onset of Type 2 diabetes, a debilitating condition that is all too prevalent in Bermuda. Diabetes is a serious and sometimes fatal disease. But it can be prevented.

When blood sugar levels in the body are imbalanced we become more and more insulin resistant. This eventually leads to ‘Syndrome X’ diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes. These conditions are created over a long period of time. The pancreas secretes so much insulin into the bloodstream that the body becomes less and less sensitive to the insulin entering our muscles.

The extreme case of this is Type 2 diabetes. 

The Journal of American Medical Association claims that out of all the children born in 2010 in the US, one-third will become diabetic at some stage in their life. Unfortunately, we’re probably close to that statistic here in Bermuda. 

Type 2 diabetes and other ‘Syndrome X’ diseases are lifestyle conditions that take a long time to manifest in the body from unintentionally being unhealthy.

It’s not just nutrition that affects our blood sugar levels. Our autonomous nervous system, made up of the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches, are also equally as important.

When blood sugar is out of balance, whether it’s too high or too low, it creates a catabolic environment.  Most of us are in a catabolic state anyway and this causes the body to break down rather than build up. 

Excess blood sugar stores as fat and also develops advanced glycation end products, known as AGEs. 

This is very fitting as it accelerates how fast we age by destroying the structural protein of our tissue. This is why diabetes sufferers can lose their eyesight as the AGEs destroy the retina in the eye.

We need to make sure we eat whole foods, eat right for our metabolic type and eat every three to four hours. 

It does however go beyond a nutritional approach. We need to be more parasympathetic by learning how to breathe diaphragmatically, performing energizing exercises like yoga or Qi Gong and even seeking out an emotional coach to help reduce the stressors in our life.

Exercise is also a significant contributor. The more we exercise, the hungrier our muscles become for sugar. By regularly working our muscles they become more sensitive to insulin, so we don’t need as much insulin for the blood sugar to drop.

Lastly, we want to make sure we sleep well. Research at the University of Chicago studied people sleeping for only 5.2 hours per night for 8 nights. After 8 nights, they ate a high carb meal and in response these sleep deprived volunteers pumped out 40% more insulin and it took 50% longer for blood sugar levels to drop. This shows that after only 8 days of lack of sleep we become insulin resistant! So remember, it not all about nutrition. 

We must of course, eat right but exercising properly and sleeping well are just as significant in keeping our blood sugar in balance. 

Colin now blogs at CoconutFitness.com