Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Two Easiest Lifestyle Tweaks To Improve Your Blood Sugar

In my practice I see loads of patients who have diabetes, and loads more of patients on their ways there.

No doubt many of those patients do, or will, take medication to control their blood sugars, but there's also no doubt that attention to diet and exercise can, in many cases, either preclude the need for medication, or reduce the medication needed.

While I've written before about the challenges that reality throws at intensive behavioural changes geared towards health, there are two easy, accessible, tips that evidence suggests can have a real impact on your blood sugar.

1. Take short, post-meal, walks: A study published in the December 2016 issue of Diabetologia compares the impact of 10 minute post-meal walks on blood sugar levels. According to their findings, those short walks led to post-walk decreases in blood sugar of 22%. And while walking after each and every meal may not be doable for everyone, it's not all or nothing. Simply put, if blood sugar's a concern, anytime you're able, here's a great incentive to add a few steps to your day.

2. Eat your carbs last: A study published in Diabetes Care last year explored the impact of food order on post-meal blood sugar. The thinking is that eating proteins, fats, and fibrous vegetables first, slows down the speed with which the body absorbs the meal's carbohydrates. Though it was just a small study, the results were heartening. After eating identical meals, but where subjects were instructed to either eat the carbohydrate portion of their meals first (in this meal's case it was orange juice and ciabatta bread), or last, blood sugar levels were monitored. And when eating their carbs last, their blood sugar levels were 29% lower after the first half hour, 37% lower after one hour, and 17% lower after two hours.

While it's important to bare in mind that these were both small studies, given that they carry zero risk, and that they're both quick and easy, there's certainly no harm done employing them.

(and here's hoping someone's studying the impact a combination of these two simple interventions might have)