The incidence of Type 2 Diabetes in New Zealand is approaching epidemic proportions
What are the risk factors for Type 2 Diabetes? It’s on the rise – is your lifestyle contributing to the risk?
Type 2 Diabetes is a growing problem in New Zealand and other developed countries, with 350 million sufferers worldwide. This is the most common form of diabetes and the one most influenced by weight gain and lack of physical activity. Alarmingly, New Zealand has the third highest rate of diabetes in the developed world along with one of the highest rates of obesity.
The government has called a halt to its ‘Diabetes Get Checked’ programme because it failed to significantly improve outcomes for people with diabetes, despite a $46 million investment since 2000. As highlighted by the NZ Society of Naturopaths in a recent press release, the programme failed to emphasise the importance of dietary and lifestyle factors. While it discouraged eating fast foods, fried foods, sugary drinks and other highly processed snack foods, the programme’s guidelines did not give a strong enough message explaining the devastating effect these toxic carbohydrate-laden foods have on your health.
Recent research has highlighted the dramatic and long-lasting genetic damage caused by consumption of sugary foods. Of real concern is the epigenetic effect – permanent alteration of DNA expression, passing on increased diabetes risk to future generations.
We need to promote a new trend towards choosing nutritious ‘slow food’ options if we are to address the diabetes dilemma on a national scale. Big changes in dietary habits are needed among a growing population whose default option is fast, processed, nutrient-poor ‘fat’ foods. While it’s fine to have a fast food treat occasionally, everyday consumption is a recipe for weight gain and ill health.
The term ‘Metabolic Syndrome’ or ‘Syndrome X’ describes a cluster of risk factors associated with development of Type 2 Diabetes. These include being overweight or obese, high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol metabolism and insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is the inability of the hormone insulin to move glucose from the blood into the cells. This leads to high blood sugar levels, a precursor to diabetes. If you have metabolic syndrome you have five times the normal risk of developing diabetes.
For people already at risk, other important factors in reversing pre-diabetes trends are regular physical activity and replacing nutrients lost through poor dietary habits. Consuming refined sugar causes a ‘nutrient debt’ in your body, meaning it gives you nothing while requiring release of stored nutrients to metabolise it, draining your nutrient reserves. It’s possible to reverse the damage this causes by choosing a good supplement programme in conjunction with a Mediterranean-style diet based on organic vegetables and whole grains.
Do you think you or your children have an increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes?
What can you do to minimise your risk?
In response to popular demand I’ll focus on some natural strategies for weight loss and specific nutrients to restore health and manage blood sugar levels in future blogs.
By Carolyn Simon ND, DipMedHerb
HealthPost stock a range of top-quality natural weight loss supplements – all available to order at discount prices from our secure online shop.
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