One In 3 Americans Has A Blood Sugar Problem: Here's What
You Need To Know
By: Nora Dudley
Cancer, heart disease, and diabetes are ubiquitous, and yet there is something that one in three American adults suffer from—many without even knowing it. Pre-diabetes affects approximately 84 million Americans, and only 10 percent are aware. Chances are you or someone you know is struggling with this condition.
The tricky thing about pre-diabetes is that it can develop silently. Those affected can feel fine or normal according their own personal standard. The bad news is that people with pre-diabetes may already be suffering its effects, including long-term damage to the heart and circulatory system.
So how do you know if you are pre-diabetic? Because of the widespread nature of the condition, the American Diabetes Association, the American Medical Association, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed a quiz to help diagnose pre-diabetes. The quiz only takes a minute, so be sure to take it today and make others aware as well.
The good news is that if you begin to focus on making healthy food choices—like losing weight and becoming more active—you may delay a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes for many years and learn to balance your blood sugar naturally. There are so many educational programs to help best manage pre-diabetes, many of which are part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), which encourages education through interactive group classes, coaching, and community support. If you have a blood sugar issue, take a deep breath because there's a lot you can do. Here are five great places to start.
1. Lose excess weight
If you're overweight, set a goal to lose at least 5 percent of your body weight. Why 5 percent? Studies consistently show that a 5 percent weight loss is all it takes to make significant changes to how you look, how you feel and how your body functions. Dropping 5 to 7 percent of body weight for individuals with pre-diabetes has been clinically proven by the CDC to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by nearly 60 percent.
2. Move that body
If you're looking to turn your health around, it's imperative that you build up to 150 minutes of exercise per week. Find what type of movement is fun for you and get after it. Build up to the recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week, making it part of your day-to-day lifestyle.
3. Resist seasonal sluggishness
Winter is in full swing and with that can come with warm comfort foods and a lot of socializing indoors around the dinner table or in front of the television. Saying “no” can be a challenge, because you may have to manage feelings of discomfort, but it sends the message that you and your health are a priority. With a little willpower and planning ahead, you can create an awesome winter wellness routine.
4. Take a hard look at your stress levels
When we're stressed, cortisol is released in our body. And if our bodies have too much cortisol, our metabolism slows down, which causes weight gain. When we're on edge or overwhelmed we're also more susceptible to cravings or stress eating. The solution? Manage your stress levels by structuring your days ahead of time as best you can, scheduling fun and relaxation into your week, and learning to adapt when things don't go quite as you planned.
5. Lean on your loved ones
Make sure you have the support you need from friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers. Whether it's just someone who will listen or take a workout class with you, having support is key for long-term success. Create a plan for what type of support is most beneficial to you, and reach out to your community. You wont regret it!
7 Easy Ways To Scale Back On Sugar (Without Hating Your Life)
Sponsored By siggi's dairy
Don’t you push yourself enough? Try to nurture yourself with nourishing New Year. Instead of focusing on flaws to fix, try to nurture ourselves back to balance with simple, grounding steps. For the next two weeks, mindbodygreen.com will share with you a story a day inspiring you with simple ways to nourish yourself, your community, and our world through eating, moving, giving, creating, and loving. Follow these common-sense principles along with us for the next two weeks and start the new year with a calm mind, connected spirit, and balanced body.
Eating lower sugar is an easy, obvious health commitment that many of us make in the New Year. The only problem? With sugar lurking behind every corner, it can be tricky to discern when you’re actually eating sugar. Beyond that, even if you have the willpower of an ox, you will, at some point in your low-sugar journey, find yourself unable to think about anything but sugar. Sugar is a real addiction—according to holistic psychiatrist Dr. Ellen Vora, it’s 20 times more addictive than cocaine—so step one is to allow that it’s a real struggle and forgive yourself for not easily letting go of the white stuff. After that, try these seven easy steps to make sure you’re aware of your sugar consumption and help you kick your cravings for sweets when you do have them:
1. Read labels
The easiest way to break your sugar addiction is to know when you’re actually consuming the stuff. Even food that looks healthy and organic can pack a whopping amount of sugar. The shorter the ingredient list, the easier it is to find hidden sugars and know exactly what you’re getting, which is why we love brands like siggi’s, which have simple ingredients and not a lot of sugar (plus a ton of delicious flavors to satiate any cravings you’re having).
2. Limit artificial sweeteners
A huge part of cutting back on sugar is resetting your taste buds, and beyond health concerns about artificial sweeteners (including Stevia!), their powerfully sweet flavor makes it hard to acclimate your palate. While it’s tempting to go high-sweet, no sugar, try to just cut back on the amount of sweetener generally—you’ll be thankful at the end.
3. Add more fat
Hopefully, in recent years, any fear of fat you’ve had has subsided, but beyond being a reborn health food, fat is a powerful ally in your fight to cut back on sugar. Fat fills you up, turns off your hunger hormones, and satiates you so that you’ll be able to say no to a plate of cookies in front of you. Go for full-fat food when given the option, add healthy fats like avocado and hemp seeds to your smoothie, and keep a stash of fat balls in your freezer to nosh on when sugar cravings strike.
4. Eat fermented food
Not only does fermented food help balance your gut bacteria, which will ultimately help you crave less sugar in the long run, the tangy flavor resets your taste buds in a way that instantly eliminates cravings. Reach for low-sugar, simple ingredient yogurts like siggi’s, or keep a stash of your own fermented vegetables in the fridge. When sugar cravings strike, simply eat a tablespoon or two of your fermented food of choice and wait 10 or 15 minutes to see how you feel. You’ll be surprised by the difference!
5. Think in terms of adding rather than taking away
Instead of telling yourself "no dessert," fill yourself to the brim with fiber-packed vegetables and good fat, so you’re too satiated to reach for dessert. Think of new ways to add fats, fibers, and protein to every meal, so you’re too stuffed for a piece of chocolate. Try adding cauliflower or zucchini to your green smoothies, filling your plate with a huge pile of leafy greens drizzled with olive oil at lunch, or blending up a veggie-filled (aka highly fibrous!) soup to sip on throughout the day.
6. Drink more tea
Often, eating sugar can be more of a sign of boredom than anything else. Having something else to do with your mouth can be a great way to prevent mindless snacking. Sparkling water with a dash of bitters is a great way to entertain your mouth (and boost digestion!), and teas come in a ton of different flavors sure to keep you from getting bored. If you always have a cup at hand, you’ll always be too occupied to reach for a snack.
7. Get out of your regular habits
Often, our sugar habit is just that—a habit. If you switch up your regular routine, you’ll often switch up what you eat and when you eat it. Try intermittent fasting for a week, change where you sit at work, and if you normally go out, cook and vice versa. By switching it up, you’ll reframe sugar’s place in your life, making it effortless to eat less of it.