Regularly moving your body can help alleviate the symptoms of many health conditions, and there is lots of evidence to support exercise for those with diabetes. If you’re obese you’re more likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes, and the excess weight can play a role in the symptoms of the condition. Excess weight contributes to insulin resistance because our fat cells release substances that interfere with insulin sensitivity.
When fat cells, particularly those around the abdomen, become full of fat, they secrete a number of things that reduce the impact of insulin. These secretions (resistin, leptin, tumour necrosis factor, free fatty acids) impair how we use glucose in skeletal muscle. They also promote glucose production by the liver, and slow release of insulin from the pancreas.
As the number and size of fat cells increase, our fat cells produce less of a protein known as adiponectin. Adiponectin helps improve insulin sensitivity, and it also has anti-inflammatory activity, lowers triglycerides, and blocks the development of atherosclerosis, so we need this around! If we have more fat, then we have less adiponectin.
Exercise has been shown to lower the amount of glucose in the blood (shown by blood glucose marker HbA1C). And of course exercise can help with weight loss. Increasing cardio respiratory fitness and muscle strength is important for those with diabetes. Aim for 4 hours a week as a start, which can include walking. A slow gradual weight loss will give better results in balancing blood sugars.
Fasting for diabetes
It’s not just about what you eat, but also how you eat. Could you use a Time Restricted Feeding window?
Fasting for a day at a time, or just shortening the time period within a day within which you which you eat, can help those with pre-diabetic conditions, or non-insulin controlled diabetes. You decide on a 10 hour food window, say 8am to 6pm and you don’t eat before or after that. It stops you picking at food during the evening, and allows your digestive system to rest, and your body to regenerate.
Time Restricted Feeding rebalances your blood sugars, raises bile acid production, increases energy expenditure and reduces inflammation. Some research has found that not eating for long periods of time during a day reprograms energy metabolism and body weight regulation. This could be useful if you’re looking to change your hunger patterns and lose weight. Give it a try for a month, or if you can’t face doing it every day, start with 3 days a week.
If you’ve got Type 1 diabetes fasting should be undertaken only under the care of a medical professional as your medication dose, regularity or type may need changing. It’s important to check your blood sugars regularly.
Naturopathic Nutritional Therapy is more than just food advice, I look at all aspects your life to provide you with holistic healthy lifestyle advice as well. Contact me to set up your initial appointment to take back control of your health.
I'm Anna Mapson, a registered Nutritional Therapist (DipCNM, BANT, CNHC) and creator of online courses:
- 7 Day Gut Reset online package for gut health improvements.
- 6 Weeks to Better Digestion & More Energy
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