Does diabetes run in your family? Are you concerned that one day you too could develop diabetes?
While diet is definitely a contributing factor, believe it or not, one of the most commonly overlooked risk factors is body composition.
If we take a look back in time, up until about 50 years ago, humans were generally very lean, fit and muscular. Males on average had 10 percent body fat while females had about 15. In today’s sedentary lifestyle those figures have ballooned to 25 percent for males and 35 percent for females.
This dramatic change in body composition can greatly impact your health because there is a direct correlation between your body composition (ratio of lean body mass to fat) and the amount of insulin circulating in your blood.
Why is this you ask?
Fat cells and muscle cells compete for the insulin circulating in your blood. And insulin receptors on the surface of each of these types of cells are responsible for detecting when to take in glucose from the bloodstream.
As it turns out, the insulin receptors on muscle cells are much more efficient at glucose uptake than are those on adipose tissue (fat cells).
This means that someone with a high percentage of fat will absorb far less glucose from their bloodstream than someone with a high percentage of muscle.
If less glucose is absorbed from the blood, glucose can build up which can cause the body to become less sensitive or entirely insensitive to glucose. This is the origin of type 2 diabetes.
So what can YOU do to prevent diabetes?
Two of the easiest and most natural solutions are exercise and diet. Exercise can help you to lose body fat and increase muscle, which will help you to use the glucose you consume.
This means building lean muscle mass by performing exercises with kettlebells, dumbbells or barbells. Even simple bodyweight exercises like squats, lunges and push ups can make you leaner and more muscular and, in turn, reduce your risk for developing diabetes.
Diet is the other main component in diabetes prevention. Glucose levels in your body are a direct result of the amount of carbohydrates you consume. Foods you may eat every day such as breads, cereals, rice, pasta, and sweets all increase glucose levels in your bloodstream. These increased glucose levels have the potential to lead to diabetes in the future.
What’s the solution?
The best solution is to restrict your body’s carbohydrate levels. This is as simple as reducing the amount of carbohydrates you consume. Choosing to focus each meal on protein and dark leafy greens instead of high-carbohydrate grains and starches will lower your carbohydrates to more desirable levels.
What will these changes mean in the long term?
Decreasing your carbohydrate intake and exercising regularly will reduce your chances of developing diabetes. Lowering your blood glucose to healthier levels can also decrease your blood pressure, improve your circulation and help you to have more energy. So why not take these simple steps to assure lasting long-term results?