To control your diabetes, controlling your insulin response throughout the day should be your goal rather than lowering blood glucose (blood sugar). Why? An imbalanced insulin response occurs before an elevated blood glucose. Therefore, by controlling your insulin response you are intervening in the process leading to elevated blood glucose. Normal insulin response causes proper response of other hormones, such as leptin and ghrelin, which is beneficial for healthy body fat/weight.
Here are 9 tips for controlling your insulin response:
1. Always eat breakfast containing some proteins, fat and carbohydrates within 30 minutes of waking up.
Your cortisol levels are highest when you wake up in the morning. Your energy upon awakening before breakfast is produced mostly by cortisol which breaks down lean tissue (bones, muscles, joints, skin) to make glucose to keep your brain and body running. Decreased lean body tissue will lead to accelerated aging.
2. Don’t have coffee first thing in the morning before breakfast.
Caffeine stimulates cortisol output. See #1.
3. Exercise an hour a day 5 or 6 days a week, preferably in the morning.
Besides insulin release, exercise is the only way food is used for energy rather than stored as fat or glycogen. With excess carbohydrate consumption, the excess is rapidly converted into triglycerides and then stored in fat tissue, and a little stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles. When you exercise in the morning, your body cannot store fat as easily because it is using more energy for the rest of the day. This increases your body’s sensitivity to insulin.
4. Eat small, frequent, healthy, well-balanced meals and snacks about every 3 hours throughout the day.
Your pancreas release insulin when you eat. Eating smaller frequent, healthy meals and snacks causes gradual fluctuations in insulin release, more stable glucose levels, and more stable energy and moods. It also helps your body burn calories more efficiently. In comparison, when you eat every 6 hours or more, you get a meteoric spike of insulin. This makes the pancreas work harder, and causes greater fluctuations in glucose and your energy level. Furthermore, your body will store fat more easily.
5. Eat at least 7 to 9 servings of dark green leafy and brightly colored vegetables and fruit each day (a serving of fruits and vegetables is about the size of a baseball, before cooking).
Vegetables and fruits contain a wide variety of vital nutrients that have properties which balance hormones, help prevent infections, help your body’s recovery from stress and injury, help your body burn calories efficiently and help you maintain stable insulin output and glucose levels. In general, the deeper the color, the more nutrient dense it is.
6. Drink at least 1/2 ounce of water for each pound of body weight each day.
All processes in the body occur in the presence of water.
7. Have 2 to 3 bowel movements each day (if you do the above regularly, this will likely happen)
Besides urinating and sweating, our body cleans itself of toxins through bowel movements. If you do not have 2 to 3 bowel movements each day, you are consistently and slowly building up toxins in your system. Over time, this has harmful effects to all body systems, including insulin levels.
8. Keep a stable temperament and a positive attitude.
Our brains and nervous system are the master control regulators of all bodily functions. Negative dispositions, such as moodiness, irritability, anger, bitterness, unforgiveness and ingratitude negatively affect all hormones and digestive processes, accelerate aging and makes us more susceptible to harming ourselves or others.
9. Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night and don’t stay up later than 10 PM at night.
Melatonin (the sleep hormone) is released in response to decreased light. Melatonin is a very powerful antioxidant for the brain cells. Growth hormone (the main recuperative, repair and recovery hormone) is released in 10 to 20 minute pulses about every 1-2 hours during deep sleep at night. The longer you stay asleep the more total growth hormone output and the more repair and recovery from daily stress. With consistent, good night’s sleep, less cortisol is produced. This results in less stress on your body, less fat deposited around your waist and less aging. All these hormones coordinate with insulin response.
Douglas K. Husbands, DC, CCN, ABAAHP
Doctor of Chiropractic
Certified Clinical Nutritionist
Anti-Aging Health Practioner
Functional Medicine Physician