As a medical doctor, I like to test stuff. When it comes to alternative therapies I love to test them out myself to see if they live up to expectation. If a strategy works, I will incorporate it into my lifestyle.
Also I get asked often about strategies to prevent type 2 diabetes. Whilst there are quite a few interventions to prevent type 2 diabetes, I figured sharing ideas that are really practical and quickly adoptable will be a fantastic idea.
That’s why I decided to subject 3 interventions that the literature suggests can prevent type 2 diabetes to some testing to confirm or refute the claim.
The fundamental here is this. These 3 strategies prevent type 2 diabetes by blunting blood glucose spikes following a meal, in particular, carbohydrate meal. Blood glucose spikes cause organ damage including your pancreas where insulin is made.
These 3 strategies to prevent diabetes you will be glad to know are food ingredients surprisingly.
These three type 2 diabetes prevention interventions are home remedies that can be used to control blood glucose elevation. I’m all for non-Big Pharma approach, so why not put these food ingredients through their paces, I asked myself.
I hope by now you know that type 2 diabetes can be prevented and even reversed if you already have it by nutritional adjustments.
This is not news any longer.
What may be news is the fact there are 3 food ingredients that are fairly common that you can deploy in your kitchen to prevent type 2 diabetes. If you already have type 2 diabetes, you can use these same ingredients to help control your blood glucose along with whatever you are doing already.
If you are not diabetic, well you are in luck, because using these ingredients is one of several ways to keep type 2 diabetes at bay.
Like I said previously, the doctor in me likes to test claims to see if indeed they are correct and I did just that here.
The reason I have listed them here is because I have tested all 3 foods and they do work, at least in my own personal experience anyway.
How did I test these 3 ingredients to confirm them as Type 2 diabetes prevention strategies?
I ate the same food and measured my blood sugar with my glucometer 1 hour and 2 hours after eating without each ingredient on one day and with each ingredient on another day. The ingredients were tested separately, not together.
For validity, I ensured I did these experiments on 7 different occasions for each ingredient just to eliminate within reason any confounding factors.
I was also looking out for consistency of results. I wasn’t interested in jumping into conclusions from fluke results.
Yes, I will be the first to admit the tests were not randomized between groups of people, because I was the only subject of my “study”.
But in a way I was also the “control” in research terms which is nice, because that eliminates a variable like individual insulin sensitivity across different individuals.
For me, these 3 ingredients passed my tests. They produced lower blood glucose readings on my glucometer consistently when I took them (separately) with my meals compared to without. That’s a pass in my books.
Why is blood glucose control important even in non-diabetics?
If you want to prevent type 2 diabetes, then you need to keep a watchful eye on your blood sugars especially if you over 40 years of age.
Type 2 diabetes is rife in the age group over 40. Worse in the over 50s. This is particularly so if you live in developed countries like the US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand. The so-called western diet and sedentary lifestyle is responsible for unleashing type 2 diabetes in these countries.
If you do not put a lid on your blood glucose levels every time you eat, you subject your body cells to toxicity from excess glucose in your blood.
High blood glucose levels even if temporary induces inflammation in different organs of the body. That toxicity includes gradual damage to the beta cells of your pancreas making them less efficient at making and storing insulin.
The critical blood glucose level in scientific terms is 140mg/dl (7.8mmol/l). This is the blood glucose level at which cell toxicity occurs and we want to ensure our blood sugar level does not exceed this critical level every time we have a nice meal.
Besides, consistent blood glucose spikes amongst other contributory factors eventually lead to insulin resistance which in turn leads to type 2 diabetes in the medium to long term.
So, one of the first steps you can take to prevent type 2 diabetes is to make your body more insulin sensitive. Being more insulin sensitive ensures your blood glucose does not spike because the glucose in your blood is quickly mopped up from the blood straight into the cells during and soon after the meal is over.
Carbohydrate meals in particular are very notorious at causing blood glucose spikes. Some carbohydrate foods cause worse spikes than others.
For instance, white bread, potatoes, white rice, white pasta will cause a worse blood sugar spike following a meal than say, rye bread, brown rice, quinoa.
This is a phenomenon referred to as glycaemic index of foods. Different foods have different glycaemic index.
Strategies to prevent type 2 diabetes – What are we trying to achieve here?
With the knowledge that different foods have variable glycaemic index, we want to see how we can manipulate the situation to suit our body.
We want to prevent blood glucose spikes when we can and yes, we can, if we want to. This is particularly important with carbs that spike us. We want to prevent these blood glucose spikes, and as a result have a firm control of our blood glucose when we eat foods that potentially can spike us.
We want to cheat our way out of having blood sugar spikes even with foods that should spike us under normal circumstances.
We are giving our pancreas a helping hand to prevent high insulin demand from the pancreas when we eat these high glycaemic foods.
By incorporating this technique into our lifestyle, we are in effect using these ingredients to prevent type 2 diabetes in the medium to long term. Makes sense?
What’s even good about these is that these food ingredients that we are going to deploy as strategies to prevent type 2 diabetes are not some sort of exotic ingredients that you have source from some yonder place.
These ingredients are right there in your local supermarket and even in your kitchen cupboard right now. You just need to be using these ingredients a lot more often, quite often actually, once you know what they can do for your long term overall health. It’s that simple.
Oh and they are very very affordable too!
So what are these food ingredients that prevent Type 2 diabetes?
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Who would have thought that your regular apple cider vinegar would have blood sugar lowering effect when you have it with a meal.
One such study comes from Arizona State University.
In the study they fed both non-diabetic and diabetic subjects with white bagel, butter and orange juice. Prior to being fed the meal, the subjects were made to consume the vinegar (20 g apple cider vinegar, 40 g water, and 1 tsp saccharine).
The control group were given placebo drink and had the same meal.
They found that compared to placebo, both diabetic and non-diabetic subjects who drank the apple cider vinegar prior to their meal had better blood glucose levels at 60 minutes post-meal. Not only that insulin levels were lower in the apple cider vinegar group.
So in that study apple cider vinegar controlled the subjects blood sugar which in turn led to a lower insulin demand on the pancreas.
Another study revealed that taking Apple Cider Vinegar before bedtime reduces fasting blood glucose in type 2 diabetics the morning after.
What does this mean?
It means apple cider vinegar makes you more insulin sensitive i.e more responsive to blood glucose levels.
Apple cider vinegar is thought to slow down the activity of disaccharidase activity. This the enzyme that helps break down starch to simple sugars before absorption. The slower this enzyme works, the slower the availability of simple sugars.
This means you don’t get a huge bump in blood glucose when you eat.
Apple cider vinegar also slows down the migration of food from the stomach to the small intestine. What we call gastric emptying. A slower gastric emptying means the digestion process is slowed down.
All of these prevent you from having blood glucose spikes when you eat.
Recommendation: Simply add 1 – 2 tablespoonful of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water and have it with your meal to get the blood sugar lowering effect of this ingredient. I do this quite regularly with my carb meals.
The taste is a little sour, more sour at first but as you begin to use it regularly, that sourness will no longer be an issue.
Side note: In this article I have specifically referred to apple cider vinegar and this is what you should stick to if you would like to get the blood sugar lowering effects of vinegar.
The reason I say this is some people will confuse apple cider vinegar with balsamic vinegar and white cider. In my experience balsamic vinegar and white vinegar do not provide the same results as apple cider vinegar.
I have no explanation as to why but when I tested balsamic vinegar and white vinegar, there was no consistency and I would therefore suggest you stick to the apple cider variety to get the blood sugar steadying result.
Yes, cinnamon is one ingredient that has been shown to favourably lower blood glucose following a meal and has been subjected to a lot of studies as well.
This study looked at the effect of cinnamon on diabetic patients taking diabetic medications. Split into 2 groups, one group took cinnamon and the other was given placebo. The study lasted 4 months.
The group who took cinnamon extract showed lower blood glucose levels compared to the placebo group.
This meta-analysis of 10 randomized controlled studies reached a conclusion that cinnamon has statistically significant lowering effect on blood glucose levels.
That was not the only finding from the meta-analysis. It also showed that cinnamon has a positive effect on blood lipids.
Recommendation: Take 2gms (2000mg) of cinnamon capsules about 15 minutes before you have a carbohydrate meal to reap the benefits of cinnamon. That’s what I do and you should try it.
Also add cinnamon spice to most of your recipes. Your smoothies, stir fries, soups, stews, casserole, pies, baking recipes etc. Even something like oatmeal porridge, give it a good splash of cinnamon whilst making it.
Any meal where you are going to have more than 35gms of carbohydrate, I will suggest you add cinnamon to it. Your pancreas will thank you for it.
Side note: If you are using the Cassia Cinnamon supplement which is the one I take, you may want to ease off it after 6 weeks of continuous use for another 3 months or so before re-commencing it. The Cassia Cinnamon is thought to have side effects that affect the liver.
To what extent we do not know precisely, but US Department of Health does advise that daily doses of up to 6gm of the Cassia variety is considered safe for 6 weeks of continuous use.
There doesn’t seem to be any problems with the Ceylon Cinnamon variety at least so far at the time of writing. So if the liver side effects are of concern to you, you can switch to supplements made from Ceylon Cinnamon.
Lemon juice is commonly used in recipes from which you get that sassy taste, bright and airy if you will. There is no doubt that lemon juice can pass the flavour test but does it pass the blood sugar lowering test?
Well, it did for me.
Lemons provide a good dose of vitamin C and fiber too when used judiciously in foods. The thinking is that because the juice in lemon is acidic in nature, it (just like apple cider vinegar) does slow the starch digestive process down.
That way simple sugars from carbohydrate digestion are released in a drip fashion. That in turn makes way for lower insulin levels and lower blood glucose levels.
…and no additional calorie baggage to boot.
Recommendation: I squeeze fresh lemon juice into my glass of water and have it with my meal. That’s what I do. I suggest you do the same and of course add lemon to your recipes where you can. It doesn’t hurt. If anything it enhances the taste of your lovely meal.
Side note: I use fresh lemon fruits I buy from the shops and squeeze out the juice myself. This is home-made lemon juice. I would recommend you do something similar.
I would discourage buying the commercially available lemon juice. Why is that? Well as with such products, they are processed by definition.
So you end up with a lemon juice that has additives and preservatives. Not the same and you probably won’t get the same result as you would with the fresh fruit variety.
So there you have it folks. Three simple ingredients around your neighbourhood and kitchen, that you can deploy today to keep a lid on blood sugar spikes. Little measures like that prevent organ damage and should keep type 2 diabetes well away from your doorstep.
One last thing. My friend, Mike, has an interesting article about ingredients and foods in your kitchen right now that could be hurting your insulin metabolism, hurting blood sugar levels and may as a result be hurting your weight and even your heart as well. The list of ingredients and what they do to your body might just surprise you. It’s well worth a read. Read The Full Story.