Health and Nutrition

by Scarlett Crews


Fighting the Diabesity Epidemic

Years of self-inflicted body damage has resulted in a new term in healthcare: diabesity.  Diabetes plus obesity equals diabesity.  In 2013, 154.7 million people are overweight or obese.  In 2011, 25.8 million people were diagnosed with diabetes, 7 million undiagnosed and another 79 million people that have pre-diabetes.  These numbers are staggering and millions of these people are diagnosed with not only diabetes and obesity, but also high blood pressure, high cholesterol, fatigue, poor bone density, malnutrition and the list goes on.

How You Develop It

Diabesity takes years to develop.  Typically, people first become obese by leading a sedentary lifestyle along with poor quality food intake.  Once obesity tips the scale, diabetes might not be far behind.  Type II diabetes forms when the pancreas can no longer take the trauma of constant insulin production.  Insulin is a hormone that uptakes sugar from the blood and distributes it into the tissues that need the energy.  Overeating and under exercising lead to a constant state of glucose in the blood, which leads to a constant production of insulin (in order to accommodate the blood sugar).  Eventually, the pancreas burns out and the insulin produced is no longer sensitive to the serum glucose, leaving the person with constant elevated blood sugar (aka diabetes).  This becomes a vicious cycle when the person continues to eat poorly and not exercise, leading to uncontrolled diabetes and obesity which can trigger more detrimental conditions, and now, diabesity.  Fortunately, all of this can be controlled and reversed.

How You Overcome It

Overcoming years of poorly controlled eating habits, beginning an exercise routine and reversing damaged hormones and brain chemistry sounds too difficult to be possible.  It is, however, very possible.  The beautiful thing about America’s scariest disease right now is that there is an answer, an almost fool-proof one … diet and exercise.  While that may seem too easy to be true (and for some people it is), it’s the only path that will truly steer you away from diabesity.  When deciding to get healthy, it’s important to gain the help of a dietitian and a physician.  Together, they can help formulate a plan just for you.  Reversing diabetes doesn’t always require a massive weight loss, but the positive side effects of controlling blood sugar lead to weight usually dropping in big numbers.

How You Prevent It

After overcoming a serious condition like diabesity, it’s a lifelong commitment to keep it from returning.  A quick diet-fix will never be the right answer; however, making lifestyle changes, gaining knowledge and committing yourself and your family to a healthier life is the answer.  Aim to include these following lifestyle changes and you’ll be on your way to reversing diabesity.

Maintain balanced blood sugar
Do this by balancing protein, carbohydrates and fats with each meal.

Aim to include 3-5 days of 30-45 minute workouts

Go Green!
Eat lots of brightly colored fruits and vegetables with at least two meals per day.

Put out the fire!
Minimize inflammation by sleeping 7-8 hours per night and minimize stressors.

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About the Author

Scarlett Crews is a Registered Dietitian, Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist, and the Food & Nutrition Project Manager at Omaha Steaks. Scarlett addresses a wide variety of topics in the areas of nutrition trends, facts and foes, and great guidelines to follow for a healthy lifestyle.

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