… (and turn your body into a fat burning machine)
Not just for Type 2 Diabetics, Kitchen Therapy lays out a few nifty tools and a couple of easy-to-implement lifestyle practices anyone looking to lose weight will want to read.
Reversing diabetes and weight loss share one common ‘must’ – regulating insulin. How do I know? When I was diagnosed with diabetes years ago, I followed the very advice I lay out in this article. Lo and behold within a month of implementing the first 5 tools I had managed to bring down my blood glucose levels to those of a non- diabetic adult. Within three months I had inadvertently lost my first ten kilos without really trying. For the first time in my life I was becoming fit. And it was completely through diet.
Up until then, weight loss had been an endless struggle for me. Suddenly, the results of my efforts to beat diabetes were turning out to be the solution to my lifelong battle with weight.
Insulin, Insulin, Insulin
You’ve heard the saying in real estate, the key to success is location, location, location. In diabetes and weight loss, it’s all about insulin.
When you’re producing insulin you’re not burning fat. And when you’re producing too much insulin, you start to become insulin resistant. That’s called metabolic syndrome – the precursor to type 2 diabetes and the beginning of the end for so many of us who don’t realise the consequences of our poor lifestyle choices until it’s too late.
Apart from the battery of common-sense eating practices led by the daily intake of cruciferous vegetables and leafy greens, a significant reduction of simple, fast metabolising carbs that amount to nothing more than shoveling sugar into your body, and a genuine shift away from processed products towards real, whole foods that possess real healing properties, there are a few tools and tricks you can implement into your day that will quickly result in an insulin reset, a speedier metabolism and the utilisation of fat instead of glucose for fuel, e.g. fat burning.
Every type 2 diabetic, especially those of you newly diagnosed, but also anyone trying to lose weight and keep it off, can and should make use of these basic tools and practices. They’re going to empower you by giving you greater insight into your condition and speeding up the process of restoring blood glucose levels back to normal, regulating insulin production and improving insulin sensitivity.
6 tools to reverse insulin overproduction
Tool #1 – Glucometer
Perhaps the most important tool in a recovering diabetic’s arsenal is your home glucometer. The glucometer is essential in helping identify foods that trigger the highest spikes and dips in glucose for you (they’re different for everyone). It plays a central role in determining your tolerance for different types of carbohydrates. It can help single out which carbs should be eliminated from your diet in the crucial early stages of treatment, and then helps identify which ones can be reintroduced over time. A glucometer is also useful in getting a feel for the times of day when glucose levels tend to naturally rise and can help in devising the most effective meal plan for you. It also provides an excellent control against practices like intermittent fasting, giving you immediate feedback on the most effective practices for lowering and maintaining blood glucose to normal levels. Home glucometers are inexpensive, widely available, accurate and super easy to use. And like so many other lifestyle interventions for people with type 2 diabetes, all of the above is also useful for anyone who wants to understand what kind of effect the carbs you eat are having on your metabolism.
If you want to know exactly how fast your body metabolises carbs (and to a lesser extent even protein), get yourself a glucometer and check your fasting blood glucose levels before you eat, then again two hours after you eat and once more five hours after you eat.
Here is a helpful article on blood sugar ranges and glucometer practices as set out by diabetes.co.uk
Here is a great article on how to use your glucometer.
Tool #2 – Glycemic Index
The glycemic index (GI) is a classification system that measures how quickly the body converts food into glucose. It’s another powerful reference tool in the early stages of treatment when you are trying to narrow down your carbohydrate tolerance. Keeping a glycemic index handy when grocery shopping or eating out will help you avoid making food choice mistakes. Over time, you will develop a feel for which foods are high glycemic. The GI helps speed up that process. For more experienced users, it becomes a useful reference for comparing foods, checking newly discovered ingredients you want to add to your kitchen arsenal or just deepening your big-picture understanding of insulin-friendly cooking and eating.
Tool #3 – Nutrition Tracker
Nutrition trackers like Cronometer give you valuable insight into the nutritional value of your new diet. In our efforts to reduce blood glucose levels, we often overlook the nutritional content of foods and end up depriving ourselves of essential vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that reduce the inflammation built up after years consuming the wrong foods and keep us in optimal health. Trackers also tell us the caloric values of the foods we eat. They help us gauge portion size and provide us with an overview of our macronutrient breakdown. Most trackers work in sync with fitness trackers and factor in daily exercise to provide a thorough overall picture of how our holistic lifestyle intervention is working for us.
Here is a link to cronometer.com
*Note: Cronometer doesn’t pay me to promote their product. I use it regularly and find it to be a valuable tool. There are other nutrition trackers available as well. It’s up to you to find the one that works best for your lifestyle approach.
Tool #4—Fitness Band
Research shows that exercise as a central part of any lifestyle intervention improves glucose control and insulin sensitivity.(1) Much more than mere step counters, fitness bands and watches can be an invaluable and empowering tool to achieve our goal of beating type 2 diabetes and losing weight through continued and systematic fat burning. Today, even good inexpensive models reveal essential health data like heart rate, quality of sleep and calories burned. They allow us to set health goals, remind us to get up and move when we’ve been idle for too long and provide us with insights into which types of activities give us the best health results. And because all the data is stored right in the smartphone app, daily, weekly and monthly analyses can be easily retrieved, shared and evaluated during sessions with your health advisor.
Tool #5—Intermittent Fasting IF
Intermittent fasting (IF) is not just a pop-culture diet trend. It’s a way of eating that reduces the number of hours in the day when we consume food with the goal of maximising the number of hours we give our bodies to metabolise that food. The one sure way to avoid the overproduction of insulin is to not eat. IF allows us to consume all the calories and nutrients our bodies need for optimal health, while giving us ample time to process those nutrients before the next meal. Numerous studies suggest that IF shows great promise as a lifestyle intervention approach for type 2 diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome. IF has shown to reduced body weight, diabetes parameters such as fasting glucose, fasting insulin, insulin resistance and HbA1c.(2, 3, 4)
Tool #6—High Intensity Interval Training HIIT
If you’ve been trying to lose weight for any length of time, you are no doubt familiar with fitness advice coming at you from all directions, often amounting to unsustainable, unrealistic demands on your energy and time. Thankfully, we now have science on the topic telling us that a little can mean a lot for our health. Whether you prefer using weights, a kettlebell, going to the gym or just using your own body weight, short interval training sessions, in which you repeatedly shred at high intensity for a very short amount of time and then rest for a short amount of time right after, is one of the most effective metabolism boosters known to modern science. Even a few quick rounds a day for a duration of just ten minutes can be a powerful tool that speeds up your metabolism, improves insulin sensitivity and burns fat long after your workout is done.(5)
When you do interval training, you generate an enormous amount of energy in a short period of time. But it’s in the recovery or resting phase that comes immediately after where the magic happens. Because it’s here where human growth hormone (HGH) is released. HGH is necessary for many functions. It goes after excess weight like a heat seeking missile burning fat stores both during and long after your workout. It also helps build lean body mass and break down body fat. It regulates energy production, helps the body make protein and maintain bone strength.
Those are the 6 tools to reverse insulin overproduction. Try them out and see if they work for you. And remember, despite what some doctors may say, type 2 diabetes is 100% reversible in most cases and doesn’t have to be the chronic, progressive, jail-for-life card the medical world would often have you believe. I, and so many others, are proof. You can be too!
(1) Gillen JB, Estafanos S, Govette A. Exercise-nutrient interactions for improved
postprandial glycemic control and insulin sensitivity. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2021 Aug;46(8):856-865. doi: 10.1139/ apnm-2021-0168. Epub 2021 Jun 3. PMID: 34081875.
(2) Nowosad K, Sujka M. Effect of Various Types of Intermittent Fasting (IF) on Weight Loss and Improvement of Diabetic Parameters in Human. Curr Nutr Rep. 2021 Jun;10(2):146-154. doi: 10.1007/ s13668-021-00353-5. Epub 2021 Apr 7. PMID: 33826120; PMCID: PMC8102292.
(3) Barnosky AR, Hoddy KK, Unterman TG, Varady KA. Intermittent fasting vs daily calorie restriction for type 2 diabetes prevention: a review of human findings. Transl Res. 2014 Oct;164(4):302-11. doi: 10.1016/ j.trsl.2014.05.013. Epub 2014 Jun 12. PMID: 24993615.
(4) Rohner M, Heiz R, Feldhaus S, Bornstein SR. Hepatic-Metabolite-Based Intermittent Fasting Enables a Sustained Reduction in Insulin Resistance in Type 2 Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome. Horm Metab Res. 2021 Aug;53(8):529-540. doi: 10.1055/a-1510-8896. Epub 2021 Jun 30. PMID: 34192792; PMCID
(5) Jelleyman C, Yates T, O’Donovan G, Gray LJ, King JA, Khunti K, Davies MJ. The effects of high-intensity interval training on glucose regulation and insulin resistance: a meta-analysis. Obes Rev. 2015 Nov;16(11):942-61. doi: 10.1111/obr.12317. PMID: 26481101.