Category archive: Stress Relief & Lifestyle

stress and diabetes

Stress Causes Diabetes

stress and diabetes

Did Stress Cause Your Diabetes?

By the very nature of our fast paced society, feelings of overwhelm are quite the norm for the average “Jane” & “Joe”. Whether it’s those emotional family interactions, career obligations, household responsibilities, self-inflicted stress, societal pressures, politics, concerns over catching the Zika Virus, or increased safety risks from terroristic activity, there is always something taking up unwanted space in our minds. Many of these worries lead to chronic stress and anxiety that unknowingly destroy our bodies from the inside out, slowly damaging our nervous system. Although emotional and physical stress is considered normal, prolonged and increased levels can take a toll on the health of anyone, particularly those living with Diabetes. Already fighting to maintain normal blood sugars, research is showing a direct correlation between increased stress levels and hyperglycemia for people with Diabetes. If you ever notice unexplained fluctuations in your blood sugars, stress could, unknowingly, be the root cause. So the big question is, “Does Stress raise blood sugars” and “Did it cause my Diabetes”?

According to a Dr Hans Selye who published ‘The Stress of Life’, the effects of stress varies depending on the intensity and the length of it. In his book, Dr Selye recognizes that the right amount of stress, which he calls ‘optimal stress’, increases focus and maximizes performance. On the other hand he attributes too much stress to feelings of unhappiness and anxiety. Recent research has shown that not only can your mood be effected, stress causes a physiological response within the body that leads to other health complications, even disease.

Dr Selyes stress model suggests that at its ‘optimum level’ stress is beneficial, but, beyond that, the body resists and ultimately wears out. For some of us, when we exceed that “optimal level” threshold, the result is an unpredictable wave of highs and lows sending our bodies and blood sugars down a very dangerous path. Additionally, our immune system becomes compromised making us more succeptible to illness and disease. When I look back at my life, I would say that the times where I ended up becoming sick were almost always the times in my life when I was under the highest levels of stress for an extended period of time.

The reality is that we all respond differently to stress. Some of us can handle what would be considered extremely high and unbearable stress to most. It’s our own individual response to stress that determines the impact this has on our body. While some people can thrive and perform optimally under stress, others crash and burn as their blood sugars skyrocket. Since stress is subjective and individual responses differ greatly, providing a “one size fits all” solution to dealing with stress and its impact on your blood sugars has proven difficult.

However, since more and more research is showing a connection between hyperglycemia and stress, the first step in recognizing any connection between stress and normal blood sugars is to simply start with being aware of the connection in your own experience. If you are seeing a spike in blood sugars or experiencing hyperglycemia, take note of your emotions that day or for a few hours preceding the high reading, and document this either in a notebook or using an online logbook. Start to recognize patterns. While you may not be able to get a definitive answer, research is absolutely showing that stress has a significant impact on blood glucose levels as well as on blood pressure. Capturing your own patterns will definitely provide you with insight into the impact stress has on your blood sugars. This article attempts to thoroughly detail how stress impacts diabetic patients negatively by causing hyperglycemia or potentially even stress induced Diabetes. At the end of this article we hope to answer important questions about whether stress impacts your Diabetes, and if it does, what you can do about it. You will also discover effective stress management techniques that you can employ to help reduce stress and see the impact it has on your blood sugars and overall health.


What is stress and why does stress affect Diabetes?

Stress is the humans’ body physical response to any demand or potential threat. When stressed, the human body goes into a ‘flight or fight’ mode. As a result, your body releases chemicals and hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline and epinephrine which primarily prepares the body for physical action. A rise in blood sugars or hyperglycemia is a direct result of the overproduction of these stress hormones. Hormones like epinephrine and cortisol boost blood sugar levels to help boost energy levels in readiness for ‘fight or flight’. The net impact of these hormones being secreted into the body is an increase in stored energy levels in the form of glucose and fat preparing the body to deal with the threat. Non diabetic people can cope with stress because they have the compensatory mechanisms that keep blood sugar in check. Someone with Diabetes lacks these mechanisms because of their insulin resistance which diminishes its capacity to push this energy into the cells causing glucose to pile up in the blood stream. Stress induced diabetes increases blood glucose levels making it harder for diabetics to maintain normal blood sugars. Under stress, your body naturally becomes more insulin resistant. Someone who is under consistent amounts of stress experiences these cycles repeatedly.

Cortisol levels significantly reduce insulin sensitivity leading to increased blood glucose levels while epinephrine can stimulate glucogeneogenesis (production of glucose by the liver). When this glucose is released into the bloodstream, it causes a further increase in blood glucose levels. Furthermore, these hormones also trigger the release of fat from fat stores leading to increased triglyceride and blood fat levels, increasing vulnerability to high blood pressure. High blood pressure coupled with high blood glucose levels are detrimental to people living with diabetes and can worsen ones health condition significantly.


Can consistent elevated stress levels cause Diabetes?

Stress induced diabetes was just a theory but several studies have been done to determine if stress is indeed a precursor for Diabetes. A study done in Sweden which followed 0ver 5200 adults for a period of over 8 to 10 years conclusively established that elevated emotional stress levels had twice the risk of developing pre-diabetes. Additionally people with consistent high emotional stress levels also had 3 times the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes as compared to those with normal stress levels. Two recent studies also prove that high stress level are a precursor for Diabetes Type 2; based on an extensive epidemiological study by Knot et al.(2006) and another extensive study by Mezuk et al. (2008) consistent elevated stress levels cause Diabetes type 2. Mezut (2008) included a total of 13 studies which investigated over 6,916 cases to ascertain if stress was a risk factor for diabetes. A meta-analytic review of this studies showed that incidences of diabetes were 60% higher in people with high stress levels as compared to those with normal stress levels.


Other Short term and long term health issues related to diabetes and stress induced higher blood sugars-

Chronic elevations of cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine which are released when the body is under stress have effects on multiple body systems. Some of the effects of stress induced diabetes are listed below:

  • When epinephrine and norepinephrine levels rise to extreme levels, blood flow is shifted away from the digestive organs and this significantly reduces digestive processes such as nutrient absorption and enzyme production. In high concentration, stress hormones have the potential of increasing the permeability of the digestive tract meaning that foods meant to be kept in our digestive tract for digestion break through the digestive tract’s lining. This can cause proteins and other foods that are not easy to digest to enter the blood stream. Since stress hormones hinder the normal digestive processes they, ultimately, have an undesired impact on the blood glucose levels, especially in people with diabetes.

  • Stress hormones also have a negative impact on the immune system. When stressed, the human body has reduced response to viral attacks. For instance cortisol triggers the immune system to produce pro inflammatory cytokines, called TNF-alpha, which negatively impacts the body’s immune system. TNF-alpha also affects the body’s metabolism and affects other body hormones. TNF-alpha inhibits testosterone and DHEA formation while increasing production of estrogen like hormones. Since testosterone assists in maintaining glucose-requiring lean muscle, a decrease in testosterone levels can lead to increase in blood glucose which is detrimental in people suffering from diabetes.

  • TNF-alpha significantly reduces insulin production by the pancreas and this is detrimental for people with Diabetes who already suffer from insulin deficiency. Since insulin controls blood sugar levels, when in short supply a person with Diabetes will need more insulin supply that may not be sufficiently provided by their medication. Insulin shots for diabetics are meant to supplement the little insulin that a diabetics body can produce naturally, if this natural production of insulin is further hindered then it becomes more difficult to maintain a normal blood sugars.

  • Cortisol can increase blood glucose levels by reducing sensitivity to insulin making it hard to maintain normal blood sugars. When insulin sensitivity is reduced, the blood glucose remains in bloodstream for a longer period of time and is rarely absorbed into the body muscles and other tissues. Therefore, insulin insensitivity not only reduces glucose supply to body tissues and muscles but also hinders the efficiency of insulin medication that is administered to patients suffering from diabetes. If your insulin medication fails to work as required because of insulin resistance then a person with Diabetes is at high risk of hyperglycemia which can worsen their health and make it hard to maintain normal blood sugars.

  • Hyperglycemia can cause the cells in the walls of blood vessels to be overloaded with glucose. When this glucose overload persists for a long time, the blood vessels get damaged because the walls thicken and weaken overtime. As a result of thickening of the blood vessels, blood flow to organs that are supplied with small blood vessels such as the nerves is hindered. Consistent unlimited supply of blood to nerve cells hinders efficient functioning of the nervous system.


Effective Stress Reduction Techniques that can help in the Management of Diabetes

As already established above, stress induced diabetes is proven medical occurrence that can increase the likelihood of getting Diabetes. Proper stress management techniques are indispensable for people with Diabetes who aim at maintaining a low blood sugar level and also for non-diabetic people who want to alleviate the possibility of getting diabetes because of stress. An exhaustive study by Surwit et al. in 2002 ascertained that stress management training does indeed help to reduce blood sugar levels. According to this reliable study, people with Diabetes who received stress management training had approximately 0.5% reduced blood glucose level as compared to counterparts who did not receive any stress management training. This study unequivocally establishes that if you have Diabetes or Pre-Diabetes it is crucial that you take measures to manage stress in order to avoid increased blood sugar levels that can be spiked by high level of stress. Here is a brief but detailed rundown of effective stress management techniques that will come in handy in preventing stress induced Diabetes and in maintaining normal blood sugars.

Having a regular Tai Chi regimen

Tai Chi is actually one of the most studied stress reduction therapies in Type 2 diabetes management. Tai Chi is a movement based therapy that focuses on long fluid movements that are accompanied by intense breathing exercises. For Tai Chi to be effective in the reduction of blood glucose levels, it has to be done intensely over a long period of time. A recent study on the effectiveness of Tai Chi in reduction of blood glucose levels in people with type 2 Diabetics had remarkable results; after an intense Tai Chi regimen featuring 2 Tai Chi sessions in a week for 6 months the participants not only reported reduced HbA1c and fasting blood sugar but also had a general improvement in their quality of life.

Practicing Yoga

Yoga is essentially a movement based practice that features different styles which require different degrees of physical fitness. Just like Tai Chi, Yoga also incorporates breathing exercises. Although very few recent studies of Yoga in type 2 Diabetes have been published in the United States, a recent uncontrolled study in India published by Singh et al established that yoga substantially boosts the reduction of fasting blood sugar levels and HbA1c level (fasting blood sugar reduced by an average of 50mg/dl while HbA1c levels reduced by 1.2%. Although the results of this study are not unequivocal because its uncontrolled nature, the degree of improvement is incredible. Based on these remarkable results, it is safe to say that yoga plays a role in the management of stress that can spike high blood glucose levels. Regularly practicing yoga can help prevent hyperglycemia and help in controlling normal blood sugars.

Regularly practicing Qigong

This is yet another breathing practice that has a movement component. Qiqong unlike Tai Chi features fewer repeats and smaller body movement. It can also include hand-on therapies and massages coupled with visualization exercises, An uncontrolled study done by Bastyr University in Seattle, WA which was published by Tsujiuchi et al. in 2002 showed that Qiqong helped in the management of blood glucose levels for persons with Type 2 Diabetes. After regular sessions of Qiqong for 4 months, the participants dad an average reduction of 0.8% in HbA1c and also had higher insulin secretion levels together with decreased anxiety levels. Therefore, Qiqong can help prevent hyperglycemia and also help maintain normal blood sugars.


Reliable and extensive studies on meditation have also established that meditating can improve insulin resistance, reduce stress and significantly improve quality of life by creating self awareness in an individual. Although in the current fast-paced society, the idea of taking 10 minutes daily to sit silently and focus may sound like a novel concept, research proves that meditation helps to focus and calm the mind. By mediating regularly, a diabetic will be able to think through before acting. Mastering self control decreases the likelihood of grabbing ice cream when stressed and increases the likelihood of willingly adhering to a healthy diet and an effective exercise regimen that can help maintain normal blood sugars. Diabetes self-care requires self-discipline and commitment which can be achieved through the self control and self awareness that meditation instills in an individual. By meditating daily, you are decreasing your vulnerability to stress induced diabetes considerably.


Below is an infographic about Stress Reduction ideas containing great tips on how you can maintain your stress level.


Surround yourself with a great support network and connect with others dealing with struggles you can identify with

A good support network is indispensable in the management of diabetes because loved ones essentially reminds you that you are not alone and there are many people who go through struggles similar to yours on a daily basis. Relating and interacting with such people helps to encourage you and keep you on track with your medication, exercise regimen and diet plan. Nothing is more stressful than feeling alone and unsupported. Having a good laugh with friends and a word encouragement from a person who is also diabetic can go a long way in calling anxiety and reducing stress. Fight stress induced diabetes by making meditation part of your daily routine. Contact with other diabetics will enable sharing of tips and techniques that come in handy in maintaining normal blood sugars and preventing hyperglycemia.


Embrace a positive attitude and accept the things that you cannot change

Diabetic management is a daily routine that requires commitment and consistency and it is quite common to develop extreme anxiety about living with a condition that requires a daily conscious effort to remain healthy. To counter this anxiety, a diabetic person has to accept that they are sick and develop a positive attitude that will carry them through everyday struggles with this debilitating illness. Instead of focusing on how difficult it is to live with diabetes, how about focusing on the little achievements you make on a daily basis such as sticking to your diet and exercising. Take time and appreciate the good things in your life such as family and friends instead of focusing on the things you cannot control. With acceptance, maintaining normal blood sugars will cease being a difficult task.



Sleep for an adequate amount of time everyday

Sleep deprivation is has detrimental effects that increase stress levels such as negatively affecting judgment, mood and memory. Not getting enough sleep leaves a person irritated hence easily affected by insignificant stuff. Adequate sleep not only allows your body to rest but also allows the brain the recharge. By sleeping adequately, a diabetic remains in the right state of mind to maintain a healthy diet, a good exercise regimen and a positive attitude that takes them through the day stress-free.


Adopt a reasonable non-strenuous exercise regimen

When exercising, the body naturally produces endorphins which not only act as natural painkillers but also improve sleep leading to reduced stress. Additionally, exercise also helps maintain a desirable body weight that makes a person more confident in their looks. When you feel good about your appearance it fuels your motivation to eat more healthily and adhere to a healthy lifestyle that can keep your blood glucose in check. People suffering from diabetes type 2 have a hard time maintaining normal blood sugars. A good exercise regimen comes in handy because it can reduce blood sugar levels since muscles use up blood glucose during exercise. Exercise reduces blood glucose levels despite insulin levels. Additionally, regular exercise also helps maintain a normal body weight which is important for diabetic patients.


Reliable statistics estimate that by 2012 approximately 9.3% of the American population had diabetes and the numbers are increasing on daily basis. The prevalence of diabetes is astounding and this potentially dangerous health condition is further worsened by stress. A thorough understanding of stress induced diabetes coupled with knowledge on how to properly manage stress helps diabetics to manage their illness more effectively and alleviate the possibility of developing irreversible health complications. Maintaining normal blood sugars and preventing hyperglycemia is a daily struggle for diabetic patients and this can be made easier by simply reducing stress levels. Start your practice today! If you are doing anything now that helps you better manage your stress, please share what works for you in the comments section.


Stress Making America Fatter…


Stress is Making America Fatter

It is not uncommon to find Type 2 diabetes and being overweight co-existing together. We know it’s possible to have Type 2 diabetes without being overweight, but it’s not unheard of either. This is because there is a biological relationship between these two health conditions. Among the underlying factors that lead to both of these conditions, stress is one of the main causes. That’s right………..”STRESS”. Research now shows that stress (on it’s own) increased inflammation. The reality is that when your inflammation is worse…your diabetes gets worse.


But guess what? New research is showing another correlation between stress and the other variables above.

The new equation looks like this:


The problem is that stress is commonly ignored and not categorized as an important factor by the majority of doctors. Part of the reason is that it’s difficult to quantify “stress”. Yet, we all experience …but at varying degrees. Some people process stress better than others. In addition, we all experience different life experiences, and some of those experiences can be “traumatic”. These traumatic memories don’t’ generally go away. We just learn to deal with them. The problem is that when these “traumatic” life experiences happen, we often carry around the stress of that experience forever.

Stress comes in many shapes and forms. We don’t have to experience a “trauma” to experience stress. We can be stressed with household chores, our marriage, our kids, our work, our health, and so much more. Generally speaking, people living with diabetes are under more physical and psychological stress than the average person. And there are other stressors that we can experience besides these….(see below)

But can stress cause your diabetes? Is stress making you gain weight?

A recent study shows that stress can cause both diabetes and obesity in different ways.

Studies have also indicated that stress is one of the factors that make it difficult for people to lose weight. In most cases, it will not matter what food you eat or how much you exercise, if you are stressed, losing the extra pounds will be a difficult affair.


diabetes stress

Stress is a Bigger Issue than Most People Think

The famous psychologist who coined the word “stress” defined it as ‘the nonspecific response of the body to any demand made upon it’. When most people hear the word stress, they quickly start thinking about psychological stress. It is a fact that psychological issues can be major stressors, but there are other causes of stress that are not psychological, yet, negatively impact someone’s health. These include:

  • Dieting
  • Environmental Toxins
  • Inflammation
  • Too much Exercise
  • Insomnia
  • Autoimmune Disease
  • Chronic Infections

Even in cases where psychological challenges are low or nonexistent, the conditions above can cause stress reactions within your body. Chronic stress can play a major part in making you gain weight and more prone to diabetes.

So, How Does Stress Make You Gain Weight?

When stress is chronic and prolonged, a part of the brain called hypothalamus will be activated and this will trigger the adrenal glands to release cortisol. This hormone is released in a particular rhythm throughout the day. Cortisol is high in the morning and tapers off as the day passes. This explains why you feel tired at the end of the day.

Recent research has indicated that stress can increase the levels of cortisol and disrupt the existing rhythm. This is how stress starts to wreak havoc in your body. Among other effects, you might experience the following:

  • High blood sugar
  • Difficulty of glucose to get into the body cells
  • Increased hunger and sugar cravings
  • Reduces the body’s ability to burn fat
  • Results in cell resistance to insulin
  • Increased belly fat, which may lead to a fatty liver
  • Increased rates at which the body stores fat
  • Increased fatty acids and triglycerides in the blood

All of these conditions can make you gain weight and more prone to diabetes. When they occur together, they are a perfect recipe for ‘diabesity’, a term used to refer to diabetes and obesity together.

According to Jan Kiecolt-Glaser, professor of psychiatry and psychology at the Ohio State University, stress can change the way our bodies process foods.

A study conducted by Professor Jan showed that women eating healthy fats after stressful events burned fewer calories and had the same indicators in their blood that existed when people eat bad fats.

The study involved the women eating breakfast containing foods cooked with healthy and unhealthy fats. If the women were under stress due to stressful events prior to eating the breakfast, it did not matter which fats they were eating. Bad fats are known to cause inflammation and an increased probability of a build-up of plaque in the arteries. Good fats, on the other hand, are supposed to lower inflammation. However, after stressful events, eating bad or good fats will have almost the same effects as indicated by the blood test of the study subjects. You can discover the myths about the difference between the “good fats”, “bad fats”, and the “ugly fats” in one of our previous blog post here.

Is “Stress” Given the Attention It Deserves in Diabetes Management?

It is clear that most people do not think about stress in the management of diabetes. Eating healthy fats is an important part of managing diabetes type 2. However as the study indicated, if you are stressed, chances are that the goods fats will not render effective if you don’t get your stress under control first.

Below you can see an Infographics about stress and its impact in diabetes

diabetes stress

Glucose Levels and Stress

When you are stressed, your blood glucose levels will go up. Stress hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine work to elevate blood sugar levels to provide the “perceived” required energy, similar to what happens in “fight or flight”. People who do not have diabetes will have a mechanism to deal with this increase in glucose. People with diabetes will not have this same effective mechanism and this can make their diabetes worse.

Managing Stress is Very Important

Managing stress is crucial for people with diabetes. This can be through breathing exercises, yoga, and meditation. If it is psychological stress talking to someone can greatly help. The Diabetes Naturally app has a ‘Stress Management Feature’ which you can benefit from. There are also supplements such as the Rhodiola Rosea, and other evidence based solutions which can help in your stress management process.

In Conclusion

Stress should not be overlooked in the management of diabetes and obesity. This is because it leads to increased blood sugar levels and craving for sweets foods which can cause these two conditions. Luckily, stress can be managed through a few easy steps with just a little focused attention.

Diabetes Diets Insulin and Weight Gain Conundrum

Insulin and Weight Gain Conundrum

Diabetes Diets Insulin and Weight Gain Conundrum

Is Insulin Making You Gain Weight?

Could taking insulin be making you gain weight?

Let’s explore……….Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas in the body. This hormone helps your body absorb and use glucose from the foods you eat. When you don’t have enough of this hormone in your body or this hormone is not working properly, it leads to a condition where the sugar level in the blood is too high – hyperglycemia, or too low –hypoglycemia.

A lot of people with hyperglycemia need insulin to maintain normal blood sugars. Unfortunately, studies show that more insulin in the body can result in weight gain. To make matters worse, more weight makes diabetes worse, and this leads to a need for more insulin, and the deadly cycle continues.

The Science behind Insulin, Weight Gain, and Diabetics

Though studies show that most people with diabetes also suffer from obesity, and obesity is a predisposing factor in people who already have diabetes, there are different ways through which diabetes can cause weight gain. The problem with this gain in weight is the fact that it increases the risk of complications related to diabetes.

Before you start looking for ways to lose this extra weight, it is important to understand why people with Type 2 diabetes tend to gain weight, especially when using insulin. There are two ways in which insulin can contribute to the addition of extra pounds in the body:

  • Insulin Resistance : The first thing you need to know about insulin is that it a fat storing hormone (1). High insulin levels in the blood mean that a lot of sugar is being turned into fat. If you eat as you were eating before the use of insulin, chances are that the excess sugar will be stored as fat in the cells. This will lead to weight gain. Normally, your body is extremely efficient in using the sugar from your food without converting into fat. When you start using the insulin for your diabetes, your body is unable to use all the sugar and starts to convert the excess of it into fat. This is how excess fat comes around.

  • A Side Effect of Insulin Therapy : When you use insulin, it stabilizes your blood sugar levels. But, at times, it causes a sudden decrease in your blood sugar levels, something called hypoglycemia. To prevent hypoglycemia, people with diabetes eat more food because when your blood sugars are low it gives your body the feeling that you are hungry. Insulin has been found to increase the feeling of hunger and this also contributes to more weight gain (2). Additionally, insulin is known to reduce your metabolism rate, which further increases the stored fats.

The science is simple, if there is increased intake of food, then there is an increase in absorption of sugars. When you use insulin, you might eat more than usual and the foods you eat will be stored in the body as fat because of the high insulin levels that you are injecting yourself with.

People living with diabetes are at a significantly higher risk of dying from a heart attack than just from their diabetes alone. This increase in weight gain and stored fat further increases this risk of heart problems.

Other Causes Of Weight Gain For People With Diabetes

Apart from the insulin use and the resulting weight, there are two main reasons that make people with diabetes more prone to weight gain.

  • Food Choices : With or without diabetes, the choices of food you make can greatly affect your weight and sugar hemostasis. This is why there are diets designed for people prone to have these issues. If you have diabetes, then you can follow a diet which includes foods that lower blood sugar levels and are more conducive to better health. Just because someone is taking insulin, and the insulin helps “control” blood sugars, this does not give people a free hall pass to eat whatever foods they would like. While blood sugar may be more controlled with insulin, the bigger risk is heart disease.

  • Lack Of Exercise : When sugars are stored in the body as fats, they are only used when energy is required. If your daily activities are not enough to encourage your body to start burning off these fats, chances are that you will only continue to add extra pounds. Even if you are sticking to a healthy diabetic diet, if there is not enough physical movement, your calorie expenditure will be low. This translates to more fats being stored in the body and a general increase in weight over time. Whether you do proper exercise or increase your daily steps; using more calories will keep your weight in check. One caveat to this is that if you find yourself exercising and becoming overly fatigued because of this exercise, you could be struggling with inflammation inside the body. This inflammation should be addressed and controlled first before continuing with exercises where you feel “overexerted”, as this will only make the inflammation worse and cause more fatigue.

Damages Caused By Increasing Then Reducing Insulin For Weight Loss

There are people who skip insulin pumping or injections as a way of losing weight. As discussed, the use of insulin can cause weight gain. Naturally, the lack of insulin will have the opposite results. There have been many cases of people with diabetes not using insulin or reducing the use of it to lose a few pounds. Though it does generally deliver, there are other effects that are not all that desirable and this is not a particularly safe method for weight loss.

Your body uses insulin to aid the delivery of blood sugar into your cells where it is used or stored. If there is a need for energy, the sugar is used. If there is no need for energy, the sugar is converted into fats and stored. When people with diabetes reduce the use of insulin, the blood sugar is not absorbed and is eliminated through urine. This can cause great weight loss and explains why people with diabetes use this as a weight loss option but because of the side effects, this is not a suggested method because it can be quite dangerous.

Even though you might get the results you want, chances are that you will develop other health issues in the process. Excess sugar in the blood can damage your organs. The following are some of the risks of decreasing or skipping the use of insulin for weight loss or for whatever reason.

  • Reduction or lack of insulin can lead to increased diabetic ketoacidosis. This is a condition where acids build up in the blood and can lead to a comma or be fatal.
  • You risk having more emergency visits to the hospital.
  • You will be at a higher risk of infections.
  • The risk of developing early diabetes complications is high. This includes kidney disease, heart disease and nerve damage among others.

When you shift back to the use of insulin, now your body needs a lot more insulin to keep your blood sugar levels under check. As a result, you again start gaining weight and the cycle continues. This is called the ‘yo-yo effect’ (3).

Natural Ways To Lose Weight For Diabetics

It is important to understand that decreasing or skipping the use of insulin will not help you lose weight in a healthy way. You will lose weight but will also increase the risks of developing other conditions as well as damaging your body.

Healthy weight loss has a number of benefits. If you lose between 10 to 15 pounds, you might benefit from lower blood sugar, better cholesterol level, lower blood pressure, increased energy, brighter moods and reduced stress on your feet, ankles, knees, and hips.

The following are some of the natural weight loss methods that can be used by people with diabetes

  1. Start eating a more healthful diet:
  2. The first place to start is eating right. Food plays a major part in the levels of blood sugar in your body. This is why you should choose foods that are in line with what is required by the body. Instead of eating sugary or starchy carbohydrates, you should concentrate on those with fiber such as vegetables and whole grain bread.

    Here are some of the suggested food choices for people with diabetes (4):

    • Fresh vegetables, raw, grilled or boiled
    • Dairy, especially greek yogurt, organic or grass-fed
    • Fresh fruits, raw or as a salad
    • Natural sweeteners, instead of white sugar or artificial sweeteners
    • Whole grains, like quinoa and brown rice
    • Seafood and fish oil (particularly salmon)
    • Vegetable and fish oil for cooking
    • Unsalted and unroasted nuts and seeds
    • Eggs
    • Chicken, grilled or boiled (nitrate free, grass fed)

    Below is a food pyramid that we created specifcally for people with diabetes that gives you a better idea as to what foods and food groups you should be eating to better manage a diabetic diet and to reduce inflammation.

  3. Start Incorporating more “Movement” into your life
  4. Working out has many benefits including the maintenance of normal blood sugars. If you are active enough, you will keep the extra pounds off. Weight is not a friend of diabetes and any extra can lead to complications. If you are currently not active, you will need to talk to your doctor to get an idea of the limits you should not cross. If you are already active, you can aim for about 2.5 hours every week of moderate exercises such as aerobics and brisk walking. Keep in mind what we suggested earlier about not exercising strenuously to the point you are tired until you get your inflammation under control first.

    When you are ready, to lose weight, you will need more physical activities and this can include strength training. You can use hand weights, machines, and your own body. Exercises help in burning the sure in your blood as well as the stored sugar in the form of fat. A good workout plan will make sure you are not gaining weight and you remain healthy.

  5. Other Suggested Lifestyle Modifications
  6. A number of lifestyle choices can help you lose weight and reduce reliance on insulin:

    • Reduce stress by doing yoga and meditation. Stress is a known risk for weight gain and increased inflammation.
    • Eat five or six small meals instead of eating two or three big ones which can help balance out the highs and lows of your blood sugar swings.
    • Drink plenty of fluids to improve your blood sugar control, prevent dehydration and improve metabolism.
    • Natural items like cinnamon, turmeric, garlic, ginger, and apple cider vinegar are known to help with weight loss and sugar levels.

Let’s be honest. There is not a person on this planet that wants to take insulin unless they absolutely have to. I have been fortunate enough to have clients who were on insulin and we able to come off of it…so I know it’s possible. No one ever said it was easy….although it could be (depending on how long you have been insulin reliant)!

Whether you just started taking insulin, you have been taking it for years, or you are someone who never wants it to come to that point, the sooner you are able to implement any of the suggested lifestyle changes mentioned above, the more likely you are able to reverse this problem. Implementing the suggestions mentioned above by itself will very likely help you start losing weight, but by avoiding ever having to take insulin or by reducing the amount that you have to take, this will only help you further improve your ability to lose weight. Please note that I am not suggesting you just stop taking your insulin, I am only suggesting you speak with your doctor and come up with a plan for making that happen.



Insulin and Insulin Resistance (1)
Insulin levels, hunger, and food intake (2)
Consequences of Weight Cycling (3)
What Can I Eat? (4)


The Good Fats, The Bad Fats, and The Ugly Fats


– Dietary “FAT” Myths Busted –
The “Good-Fats”… The “Bad Fats” …and The “Ugly Fats”

For decades we have been told that eating fat was bad. Even today, you still see tons of “low fat” and “no-fat” products being sold in the grocery stores. While we are not sitting here suggesting that all fat is good, it is important to be able to understand the difference between the “good-fats”, the “bad-Fats”, and the “ugly fats”. Your health truly depends on it!

There is a lot that you need to learn about FATS, especially if you want to maintain normal blood sugars and a healthy heart…while keeping your cholesterol levels in check.


Not All Fats Are Created Equal

Again, a few decades back, fat was perceived to be bad for your health and everyone was advocating for low-fat diets…even the entire medical community. You would see grocery store aisles loaded with “non/low fat” products and commercials for low fat foods were likely invading your television.

This “low-fat craze” gave processed food companies a way to manipulate their products to be more appetizing while claiming that their snacks were “fat free” or “low fat”. One of the primary ways they were able to do this is by adding processed, refined, and manufactured sweeteners….or “artificial sweeteners”. In fact, you may have been brainwashed into thinking these “artificial” products are safe, when actual research is showing otherwise.

There are still many diets today that encourage low fat intake. Yet, contrary to what was once “popular belief”, not all fats are bad. In fact, I would argue that the opposite is actually true.

One thing you need to understand is that there are two types of fats (you can even say 3): the saturated fats, the unsaturated fats, and the 3rd group ….trans-fats. The saturated fats- the kind you get from cheese and animal products, historically, have been linked to obesity, diabetes, and high cholesterol levels. These fats, for many years, were classified as “the bad fats”.

I say “historically” because new research and studies have come out suggesting there is not a clear correlation between the consumption of saturated fats and increased risk of heart disease. In fact, there is an ongoing scientific debate about this topic.

There are many in the nutritional and medical community that believe these recent studies were done well and they uncover extremely important (and new) information supporting the consumption of saturated fats….and that they are not as bad as we originally thought.

Yet, many nutrition scientists argue that saturated fat should still be limited and that the study done “does not tell the whole story”. Others suggest that looking at the quality of your food as a whole, and how it was prepared is most important.

Unsaturated fats, known as “the good fats”, are absolutely essential as they help reverse all the issues supposedly caused by the “bad fats” and “ugly fats”. I am referring to things such as high cholesterol, increased blood pressure, increased risk of heart attack and stroke, and perpetuating diabetes and diabetes symptoms. These kinds of fats are present in plant oils and foods like avocados, nuts, and seeds. Studies have shown that these fats can actually help you reduce heart disease and cholesterol levels. Imagine that….”fat is actually good for us”!!!

There is no debate about the value of “the ugly fats”, or lack-there-of. The “Ugly fats” are known as “trans-fats” and all scientists agree that these fats are actually VERY BAD for you. These fats both raise your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and lower your HDL (“good”) cholesterol which increases your risk of heart disease, the leading killer of BOTH men and women. Trans-fats are found in many fried foods, margarines, cakes and cake mixes, pancakes and waffles, processed foods, ice creams and more. Just read the label before you buy it. If it contains Trans-fat, you should probably just put it down.

It’s amazing that food manufacturers were still allowed to use these deadly ingredients. Fortunately, the FDA made a ruling that would ban from food manufacturers from using “artificial trans-fats”. The FDA has set a 2018 deadline for food companies to eliminate trans fat from their products. Now, if the FDA would eliminate genetically modified foods from our food supply (like 26 countries have already done), we would be much healthier as a society.


Calories In Different Fats Are Not Created Equal

While all calories will burn in a similar way in a laboratory, your body is not a lab. This means your body will treat calories from different foods differently. For example, calories from an avocado will not be treated the same way as those from pasta. This is just how the body works. You will find calories listed on restaurant menus but these numbers are only in relation to laboratory tests and not how the body will view these calories.


Fat will Not Make You Fat

If you ask random people what makes people fat, they will respond with overeating and not exercising. This makes sense but it’s not a scientific explanation. Dr. David Ludwig, a Harvard Professor, argues that the reverse happens. When you are fat, you eat more and you do not exercise enough. Your fat cells will get hungry and this will lead to overeating.


High-Fat Diets Will Lead To Increased Metabolism

Studies involving human experiments indicate that people who followed a high fat diet had a faster metabolism. A diet low in fat spikes insulin, especially if you are eating processed foods that are made as “low/no fat” but contain other harmful “fat substitutes” such as non caloric artificial sweeteners to help it taste better. This slows the metabolism and leads to belly fat storage.

In a study, involving high-carb low-fat diets and low-carb high-fat diets, it showed that the low-carb high-fat diet did better overall. They found that eating a high-fat low-carb diet for only 8 weeks could reduce belly fat by 14%. Moreover, following such diet plans increases insulin sensitivity and improves control over blood sugar levels in diabetics.



The World Of Processed Foods

Besides being a source of energy, fats make your food more palatable. But things changed when the notion of fats being bad for health became common. As a way to make foods look and taste better, the food industry started processing different foods. This included the addition of sugars and other preservatives. The truth is that these processed foods are contributing to obesity and weight gain. This is not a good element when diabetes is involved.

A study involving high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) showed that Americans have increased their intake of high fructose corn syrup from 0 to about 60 pounds in a year per individual. In this period, cases of obesity have tripled and diabetes incidences are 7 times higher.

Fructose is a sugar quite different from the natural alternatives. The problem with fructose is that it is readily absorbed from your gut and makes way to your liver where it is turned into fat. In other words, unlike other sugars, more than 90% of fructose consumed is turned into fat and very little is turned into energy.

Another problem is that the people behind the HFCS market sell it by claiming that it is not harmful and it has been tested by ‘experts’. No matter how much they may claim that HFCS is similar to natural sugars, it’s simply not true. I encourage you to see who these “so called” studies were funded by! Do a little digging and tell me what you find!

BOTTOM LINE: You should avoid foods that have “high fructose corn syrup” in it. You probably have already started seeing some food manufacturers putting “contains no high fructose corn syrup” on their food labels. It’s because it’s not good for you!! Plain …and Simple!


The World Of Genetically Modified Foods

Genetically modified (GM) foods have been modified in labs for better growth and productivity. These foods have filled the groceries and markets in the US. The problem is that when compared to organic foods, the GMOs are not all that good. In fact, they have already been banned in over 26 countries! Yet, America is not one of them?!! To show the seriousness in this, most stores will label their foods non-GMO because many consumers are now looking for organic or whole foods that have not been processed. Most genetically modified foods are “packed” and this means they are “processed”. Take wheat for example…. excessive processing takes away the natural fiber beneficial for health and leaves only unhealthy starch.

Until further more comprehensive studies are done, it is important for people with diabetes to stay away from genetically modified foods, especially the processed ones that contain “refined carbs”. If you are working on a diabetes diet, you might want to consider leaving out such foods because they will only lead to an imbalance in normal blood sugars.


The Science Behind Low Carb High Fat Diet (LCHF)

This diet is all about reducing the carbohydrates in your diet and increasing the fats. The purpose of eating low carbs is to maintain normal blood sugars. Insulin is one of the major fat storing hormones in the body. What fuels the function of insulin is the sugar in your diet. Insulin turns sugar into fats. But, when you are on a low carbohydrate diet, you deprive insulin of its basic fuel and, in turn, it does not turn a lot of sugar into fat.

Another reason why you reportedly lose weight on a high-fat, low-carb diet is because once your body is deprived of its main source of energy, i.e. sugar. That is when it turns to body fat and protein for energy generation. That’s when you start to lose the already stored body fat.

One major reason that makes this diet a huge success is its effect on your hunger. Believe it or not, your hunger levels control your weight and your overall health. Research shows that following a high-fat, low-carb diet increases the amount of an appetite suppressing hormone, called cholecystokinin (CCK), and decreases the amount of appetite stimulating hormone, called ghrelin. This way, you feel less hungry and subsequently eat less.

Finally, this diet makes your whole body processes extremely efficiently. Your body becomes extremely efficient in using the sugar you give to it (i.e. the insulin sensitively increases). Moreover, the resting rate of your metabolism also increases.

A study that involved people with pre diabetic signs and high BMI (Body Mass Index) has shown the real results. On average, all the people in the study lost about 5% of their body weight in 6 weeks following the low-carb high-fat diet. This means that a 200 pounds person lost 10 pounds….while eating fat! Can you believe it!

The most important point here is the fact that the high fat diet did not cause any harm. Actually, the people in the study had lower triglycerides and bad cholesterol (LDL) levels. The good HDL cholesterol levels did not change. Generally, the size of HDL and LDL molecules increased. Larger molecules of LDL are less likely to result in plaques that clog the arteries and make you prone to complications like stroke and heart attack. Apparently, the intake of fats is not as bad as most experts tend to portray.


What You Need to Know about the Low Carb high Fat Diet (LCHF)

This diet requires the followers to prioritize foods high in unsaturated fats over high carb foods. These include eggs, fish and natural fat sources like nuts and seeds. They should also avoid starches and sugars or reduce them. This diet is pretty straightforward and you will not need to weigh or count calories all the time. You only need to stick to the principles and try to keep track of your %’s of fats relative to carbohydrates and protein. This can easily be done with an app like Diabetes Naturally App or manually with a log book and scale.

Studies have indicated that this diet has a higher success rate when you are losing weight and trying to control your blood sugar levels. This is beneficial for people living with diabetes as it helps them lose weight as well control their blood sugar levels, while not having to eat tasteless foods.

It is, however, important that people with diabetes talk to their doctors prior to starting this eating plan or any type of eating plan. This is because while the diet has proven beneficial for many, the foods might interfere with medications or some other variables. The only downside of doing this is that if your doctor is still aligned with the “old” way of thinking about fats and is not educated on new research, he/she will likely advise against it.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that the diet will only work to your advantage if you follow the rules. You should stay away from beer, starch, fruits, and sugars found in fizzy drinks, baked foods, refined carbs, artificial sweetened foods, cereals, and sweets.


Extra Help From Diabetes Naturally App

If you are following a diabetes diet that involves low-carb and high-fat foods, it is important to know if you are on the right track. The Diabetes Naturally App has a feature where you can track your macro nutrients so you can plug in the foods and quantities you are eating and the nutritional database in the app will help you see if you are staying on track with the % of foods or calories from fats is being upheld. With this tracker, you will not end up eating too many carbs or proteins relative to your goals.

The truth is that all fats are not the same and it is important that you make good choices about the types of fats that you eat. We know that unsaturated fats are important, saturated fats intake is currently under debate, and if you do decide to eat them, choose saturated fats from organic, grass fed animals, and stay away from trans-fats all together.

You can do this by reading labels and keeping track of the foods you eat. The most important thing is to understand the good fats and knowing how to incorporate them into your diet. If you are overweight and have pre-diabetic signs, such as abnormal blood sugars, it is important to change your eating habits. If you are already living with diabetes, creating an eating plan with healthy foods is a good place to start

I know that this is a lot to take in….especially if this is the first time hearing that “eating fats is ok”. I know I was shocked when I first learned of this! After all those years studying nutrition and being told that fats are not good for you… took me a while to research and learn more about the real life benefits of eating fats…….Especially “the good fats” ..but even “the bad fats”!

Please comment below. Have you heard of the Low Carb-High Fat diet. Can you report your results? Or other diets that have worked for you. We would love to hear from you.




Top 10 Diabetes Experts to Follow Online For Better Health


Top 10 Diabetes & Natural Health Experts to Follow Online For Better Health

Anyone battling Diabetes can tell you that managing this illness and maintaining normal blood sugar levels can be a daunting task. Even though the most knowledgeable doctors can’t promise a cure, they can at least teach you “little known” Diabetes management tips, making it easier to maintain normal blood sugars while getting a better handle on your overall health and well-being. Additional benefits from tapping into the knowledge base of these experts and the resources they provide, can move you in the direction of slowing down the progression of the long term implications associated with Diabetes.
Below, in no particular order, are the top 10 diabetes experts to follow if you are looking for a more natural way to control your disease and its ugly progression. My suggestion is to hop on their web site, save them as one of your “favorites”, get on their blog, and/or follow them on their Facebook page or Twitter. If you click on any of the names below, it will bring you directly to their web site.


mark hyman

1. Dr. Mark Hyman, M.D.

“Your fork, the most powerful tool to transform your health and change the world.” Dr. Hyman’s focus on using nutrition to combat health issues makes him one of our go to guys for diabetic nutrition as well. Dr. Hyman has dedicated himself to helping everyone maintain balanced blood sugar for optimum health. He has written books on diabetes and nutrition (i.e. The Blood Sugar Solution & Eat Fat, Get Thin), he has a DVD series, and is a nutrition coach that is dedicated to providing the best nutritional information available.


joseph mercola

2. Dr. Joseph Mercola, M.D.

“The world’s #1 natural health website.” Dr. Mercola provides all-around natural, medical advice in nutrition, fitness and even mental health. Dr. Mercola takes a balanced approach to the use of pharmaceutical treatment, but draws his followers toward a more natural holistic approach. Dr. Mercola is a storehouse of information and he seeks out the best articles, studies and experts related to Diabetes and its treatment in order to place their information on his site.


dr julian whitaker

3. Dr. Julian Whitaker, M.D.

“America’s most trusted wellness doctor.” Dr. Whitaker is the founder and director of the Whitaker Wellness Institute. His approach to serious chronic illnesses that have remained untreatable for many by conventional means has helped tens of thousands of people over the past 30 years. Dr. Whitaker has an entire section of his site dedicated to blood sugar issues, and he even has a line of supplements for natural, blood-sugar control.


Dr Dean Ornish

4. Dean Ornish, M.D.

“Awareness is the first step in healing. Just ask!” Dr. Ornish’s approach to health and treatment is one that focuses on equipping his readers with a mountain of solid information and promoting an all-around healthy lifestyle. He is the founder of the Preventative Medicine Research Institute. Dr. Ornish approaches the treatment of Diabetes from a nutritional standpoint where maintaining a balanced blood sugar is concerned, but also advocates for an overall wellness approach of mind and body.


ginger vieira

5. Ginger Vieira

Most of what Ginger does as a fitness guru is done via YouTube videos. Ginger’s sense of humor concerning Diabetic treatment is refreshing and demonstrates a positive attitude for those battling the disease. Ginger is a Diabetic herself, she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and Celiac disease in 1999. She is a Diabetes coach and author of 3 books in 2009 & 2010, Ginger set 15 records in drug-tested powerlifting with a 308 lb. deadlift, a 265 lb. squat, and a 190 lb. bench press. Today, you can find Ginger’s work regularly at Living-in-Progress.


dr joel fuhrman

6. Dr. Joel Fuhrman

“Smart nutrition. Superior health.” Dr. Fuhrman also advocates managing Diabetes and maintaining balanced blood sugar levels through proper nutrition and following what he calls the Nutritarian diet. “While patients with type 1 Diabetes can significantly improve their glucose control and risk of complications, type 2 Diabetes and gestational Diabetes can be totally reversed with a Nutritarian diet.” Dr. Fuhrman has action plans and FAQ sections related specifically to type 1, type 2 and gestational Diabetes.


Mark Sisson

7. Mark Sisson

“Primal living in the modern world.” Author of the blog, Mark’s Daily Apple and author of “Primal Blueprint Fitness” and seven other books, Mark has a positive attitude, advocates for critical thinking, and challenging the status quo concerning what is automatically accepted concerning health and wellness. You’re bound to enjoy Mark’s zest for life approach, which is as helpful in inspiring you as well as providing the best information available for managing and maintaining an all-around healthy lifestyle.


dr josh axe

8. Dr Josh Axe

“Food is medicine.” Dr. Axe has a program called, “How to Reverse Diabetes Naturally, In 30 Days or Less.” In 2008 he started Exodus Health Center, which grew to become one of the largest functional medicine clinics in the world. He is a certified Doctor Natural Medicine, a Doctor of Chiropractic and a Certified Nutritionist. He is also author of the book called “Eat Dirt”, which talks about how leaky gut can be the root cause of your health problems. Dr. Axe has an extremely impressive resume and is focused on health management through a nutrition and fitness approach.


jordan rubin

9. Jordan Rubin

Jordan is the inspirational author of the “Maker’s Diet Revolution,” which takes not only a physical, but spiritual approach to health and wellness. Jordan has written a number of books advocating how God has provided natural healing for us in creation. Along with Joseph Brasco, M.D., Jordan wrote the “Great Physician’s RX for Diabetes,” in which he shows the reader how to focus aggressively on Diabetes and develop a game plan against it. Having used his approach to recover from Chron’s disease, he speaks from experience.


Dr Deepak Chopra

10. Deepak Chopra

Dr Deepak Chopra contends that that what happens in the mind is physically represented elsewhere and directly influences physiology through means of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin. Consequently, Dr. Chopra’s approach to Diabetes is not only treatment through nutrition, but also through refocusing the mind to overcome it. The Chopra Center is one of many of his sources for understanding and battling Diabetes using his approach.



You don’t have to battle Diabetes all alone, nor do you have to be solely dependent upon pharmaceutical treatment for this terrible disease. Quite honestly, relying solely on drug treatments as your primary source of disease state management can lead people down a very slippery slope that is difficult to crawl back up from. Pharmaceutical grade drugs may help treat some of the “symptoms” of disease, but it never really addresses the “root cause”. If you become too reliant on “just” medicine, then your chances of your disease progressing at an accelerated pace can persist.


You can fight back and get to the root of many of the health issues you may be facing. You can do this in a number of natural ways through proper nutrition, fitness, good stress management, dietary supplements (if necessary), a positive mental attitude, and tracking your results. Armed with the right information that is available from these ten Diabetes and Natural health gurus, your life will only get better. Knowledge is power.
Tapping into the knowledge base of these experts, will only create positive changes in your life. The time is now to get control over your health, and following these experts will put you in the driver’s seat. Hop on their web sites, follow them on twitter, watch their you tube videos, and absorb as much top notch health information as you can.
Please share your comments below and if there is anyone that is missing from this list that you think should be on here, please feel free to share with the group. If you know others that would benefit from this list, please share it with them.

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