There’s a secret I use to cut down fat and eat cheat meals guilt-free (sometimes). Even though you can’t say that intermittent fasting bodybuilding and dieting aren’t both necessary to build lean mass. I can say without a doubt that Int.Fasting is an essential tool I use, and many others use to trim down faster than average.
In the case of the average person, they are less concerned with keeping muscles and more concerned with trimming down those pounds (or at least the appearance of being more trimmed). With that being said, despite your education level, fitness level or how overweight you are; this diet can help you achieve your goals.
Two things completely determine intermittent fasting success stories. The first factor for you reaching your goal is STICKING with the time frame you choose. The second factor for you achieving your goals is also to change the way you eat; you can’t eat four burgers and pizza in your eating time frame and expect to lose weight.
These are all factors I go over plus more in my Intermittent Fasting 101 Guide. Even though without a doubt this diet isn’t hard to follow. You still need to know the rules; it would be wise to go to a personal trainer for advice. Luckily you are looking at one!
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Science has shown that Int. Fasting is a viable tool you can use in your arsenal to stay fit. There are other approaches to trimming down in a more timely manner like the three-week diet. I want to concentrate on a long-term form of fasting in this article to show you a method that would take more than three weeks to see results, but you can combine with another diet like the one above to have long-lasting effects to be proud of and live an overall healthier lifestyle.
The benefits of intermittent fasting for weight loss in unhealthy and healthy folks
I think it’s important to go over what most people are looking for when they check out I.F. You are trying to lose some pounds because your lifestyle leads you down a chubbier path. Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss is not a bad idea in comparison to just starving yourself as many others do. I think that is the confusion that takes hold of peoples mind when considering this approach. “Aren’t I just starving myself, isn’t that unhealthy?” Not entirely, you are making an educated scientific approach to fasting. In fact, many religions and cultures use similar methods and have for the past few centuries.
Let’s go over a few factors that cause your body to go into metabolic regulation overdrive when following time-restricted feeding:
“A circadian rhythm (/sɜːrˈkeɪdiən/) is any biological process that displays an endogenous, entrainable oscillation of about 24 hours. These 24-hour rhythms are driven by a circadian clock, and they have been widely observed in plants, animals, fungi, and cyanobacteria.” [Source]
Your body runs on the circadian rhythm, based on your lifestyle, your body will try to adjust as best as it can, sleep, metabolism everything is affected. Research has looked into what is “best” for most people to work within the natural rhythm. Fasting has been shown to correlate to a more stable circadian cycle. We don’t think much about this science. I used to only sleep for 5 hours a day because I felt like that was enough. Little do you know but subtle changes to your body happen over time when you neglect your cycle.
The Gut Microbiome
“Gut flora, or gut microbiota, or gastrointestinal microbiota, is the complex community of microorganisms that live in the digestive tracts of humans and other animals, including insects. The gut metagenome is the aggregate of all the genomes of gut microbiota. The gut is one niche that human microbiota inhabits.” [Source]
Bifidobacteria, escherichia cou, and lactobacilli are all excellent “gut” bacteria. These microbes work hard in your body to help regulate your digestive system. You never notice these little guys at work, but without a healthy number of them, you wouldn’t be able to process many foods you eat every day. Food timing helps your gastrointestinal system populate a healthy amount of microbes, and because of the fact, it gives them the urge to work harder once you start to eat, increasing your metabolisms speed.
Modifiable lifestyle behaviors, such as sleep
The effects are clear, you don’t have to do much research to understand why your body needs sleep. We can remember any time in your own life when you slept for too long or too little. You become sluggish and forgetful when you do not give your body the proper time to rest. Now depending on your diet, you can also increase the quality of your sleep. When you eat heavily processed foods before you sleep, your body works extra hard to handle them. That energy could be used to help you recuperate from the day. So you get less sleep from overeating at night.
“Mattson has also researched the protective benefits of fasting to neurons. If you don’t eat for 10–16 hours, your body will go to its fat stores for energy, and fatty acids called ketones will be released into the bloodstream. This has been shown to protect memory and learning functionality, says Mattson, as well as slow disease processes in the brain.”[Source]
The Unique Benefits of Timed Feeding for Women
As a fitness coach, training and enthusiast you learn that the female body is unique and many times you need to adjust your approach. I learned quite a bit about women’s health in between all my nutrition and fitness education. One of the significant perks specifically in regards to intermittent fasting results for women are listed below.
Intermittent Fasting for weight loss and cancer-fighting abilities
“Among women, the five most common sites diagnosed were breast, colorectum, lung, cervix, and stomach cancer. Of these, breast cancer is considered as the second most common cancer in the world. Fasting is a proven prognostic tool against cancer and other metabolic diseases.[Source]”
The primary factor that helps fight cancer when fasting is the inhibition of angiogenesis which affects tumor growth. Albeit animal studies were used, when an animal fasted for 48 hours, the tumor growth was “significantly” slowed. You shouldn’t take the fasting approach for the potential to prevent cancer alone. Much more research is needed before we can conclude theirs a direct correlation between intermittent fasting for weight loss and its effects on cancer prevention.
Fasting and reproductive health
“Overweight and obesity in early adulthood appear to increase the risk of menstrual problems, hypertension in pregnancy, and subfertility. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common endocrine disorder in women.” [Source]
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that fasting can help mitigate issues in reproduction. Especially when you consider the fact that hormones have an astounding effect on your reproductive abilities. Many of the reproductive benefits of fasting will have a significant impact on women who are already obese or who suffer from PCOS. When most people aim to follow I.F, they also tend to make healthier lifestyle choices.
Fasting and mental health
“Mental health issues are common in women who undergo menopausal transition. It is estimated that 80–85% of all women experience unpleasant menopausal symptoms at some points throughout their menopausal transition.”[Source]
Albeit the same benefits to mental health in regards to your eating cycle affect men and women. Women have to endure he menopausal transition later in their 30s and 40s. The multitude of side effects when undergoing this is recorded, and women can angrily tell you how bad it is themselves. If you look into the science behind intermittent fasting for weight loss, it shows that you can increase self-esteem and social functioning while diminishing stress and possibly depression levels. As with this topic and many of the benefits of IF, you need to consider the fact that a healthier lifestyle is the main reason for these benefits.
The Bodybuilders love for I.F. makes sense
In the world of bodybuilding, everyone is looking for an edge. Intermittent Fasting success stories from Bodybuilding has been married for many years. What most bodybuilders are looking for in a fast is the quick fat loss with the least amount of muscle loss. Many of the benefits I’ve mentioned in other sections of this article will also benefit many people trying to improve their physique. I must stress and say that in regards to heavy training and dieting, you need to be careful.
When you are undergoing a fast, your body is low on glycogen stores. As you exercise you expel a significant amount of energy, without the caloric energy to spend you can experience fatigue. Here are a few tips to implement to maintain energy while fasting and exercising.
Exercise right after your first meal
If you plan to train right after your first meal, your body will quickly metabolize the calories you consumed and fuel your training session.
Exercise right after your last meal
Most people do not enjoy training later in the evening, that being said it is a good time for someone who practices time eating. The downside to this method is that you will be extra hungry and not have a source of energy outside your body to reach for.
Pre-workout and BCAA’s
This is the compromise that I make when training and fasting. Taking pre-workout blasts my body with energy. The combination of pre-workout, Mass Gainers and BCAA’s gives my muscles the push they need to finish off those sets as if food fully fueled me.
A light snack before you train
Albeit it’s a light snack, you are technically breaking your fast right before you train. I think this is a good emergency approach for some. If you feel a high level of fatigue before you hit the gym, you should take precaution and fuel yourself before lifting heavy weights or abstain from training until your meals.
Coffee specifically built for Intermittent Fasting for weight loss and Carb Cycling
If you do enough research on calorie restriction, you’ll come across many products tailored to the needs of the market. Not that you technically need ANY supplements to adequately fast, there’s a few on the market with scientific research proven to assist you. Let me give you an example of something to look for in the market.
BETA-HYDROXYBUTYRATES SALTS (BHB) –
are one of the three ketone bodies (energy molecules) your body makes when it’s running on fat instead of carbs. It’s also known as 3-hydroxybutyric acid or 3-hydroxybutanoic acid (3HB)[Source].
Mostly the purpose of adding BHB in your diet is to flood your body with the ketone bodies and convince your system to use it as an alternative fuel. Many people claim using BHB’s allows you to cheat a little on your diet and flooding BHB to cover the carbohydrates will keep you in ketosis. This science needs more research, but it should be left to the individual to test to see if they are in ketosis no matter what supplement that takes.
Beware of Intermittent Fasting Success Stories
Many people seem to be obsessed with success stories or body transformations. I think the social media world has convinced many others that it only takes a few weeks to achieve your goals. Now depending on your purpose and your willingness to stay faithful to your diet, you probably can make considerable progress.
I like to stand as an example myself as a success story. I have noticed over the years that my age has affected my ability to drop fat while maintaining muscle mass. That’s why I initially started fasting over four years ago. Between carb cycling and I.F, I have been able to grow and cut in such a more efficient manner.
Here are a few tips I utilize to maintain my success and a lean physique:
are by far the cheapest and most efficient way to surge glucose into your body. Bananas are also fibrous, and many bodybuilders have an issue maintaining a healthy amount of fiber.
I tend to find myself drinking at least 1 cup of coffee a day, it used to be many more. I learned about high caffeine coffee specifically built for people following a time-restricted diet. The coffee is listed below:
When I feel my stomach is empty and keeps bothering me, I will grab perrier or something similar. It doesn’t matter what carbonated beverage you consume as long as it has no calories.
Cheat Meals –
You may be tempted to gorge on pizza and pasta when you finally break a fast. I don’t blame most people for acting this way, and it can be hard to say no to good food. I would suggest most people have a cheat meal once or twice a month. One method to prevent too many carbohydrates metabolizing is Carb Blockers.
the 4:3 diet – The newest fad diet
I first discovered the 4 3 diet about a year ago. My healthy eating habits were not exactly on par with what they are today. Generally, I would binge eat after work ALL the time. I figured this diet would be a good way to continue being undisciplined as long as I fast the next day. I did soo moderate results from this but now I do not do it. You need to be consistently eating healthy foods.
16/8 diet – The general approach to I.F
Most people begin intermittent regimes by fasting for 16 hours and eating for 8. I personally suggest this method to beginners as well. I currently follow it because I think it’s the most sustainable long term. Because I still maintain the ability to eat with my friends on a regular schedule and most of that time is taken up by work or sleep.
This approach to health can be intimidating for many. For me personally, when I knew the SCIENCE behind the techniques I felt more comfortable trying it. Not everyone else is so easily swayed by scientists rigorous research. That reason is why I provided my own brief story about trying timed nutrition. Now it is time for you to make your own story. I would love to hear about it myself on my Instagram. While you’re here, check out our jaybirds & freedom review!
I think this research study really properly summarized an important fact about IF; it doesn’t fix everything.
Certainly not one dietary approach will solve these complex problems. Although there is some long-term success with gastric surgical options for morbid obesity, there is still a requirement for dietary approaches for weight management for the overweight and obese population, particularly as invasive interventions carry post-operative risk of death due to complications. Effective dietary interventions are required that promote long-term adherence and sustained beneficial effects on metabolic and disease markers. In general, such interventions need to be palatable and satiating, meet minimal nutritional requirements, promote loss of fat and preserve lean body mass, ensure long-term safety, be simple to administer and monitor and have widespread public health utility. Intermittent fasting success stoires from alternate day fasting may be an option for achieving weight loss and maintenance.[ncbi]
Dieting generally seems like a scary and boring idea for most. In reality, everyone follows a “diet,” it is just that diet consists of burgers and Cheetos. We gain wisdom in our adult years, and eventually, some of us begin to take a healthier approach to eat.
The late benefits of an early healthy lifestyle
A healthy diet in your adult years is exceptionally beneficial to your health and wallet. It is easy to prevent a multitude of disease early and later in life just by eating right. That is why the best way to produce these positive habits is to instill them at an early age. However, what happens if it is too late. Sometimes children get caught up in the tangled web of obesity. Should they follow a strict diet? No. However, why is it recommended that overweight children not follow a low-calorie diet? Let’s start at the beginning.
What age group is considered a “child”?
A child age will range from 2 to 18, young than two would be considered infancy and over 18 would legally be an adult. Albeit that is the case, women do not stop growing until the age of 25. In the case of men, many do not stop growing until the age of 28! That being said, we are concentrating on the diet of children between the ages of 2 through 18. Specifically, we want to discuss the eating patterns of children.
What is the MyPyramid chart?
The MyPyramid chart is a chart used by the USDA/FNS to give a general overview of foods to eat depending on age. Let’s go over the following chart below.
“Children Ages 2 Through 18 Years For each of the MyPyramid food groups, Table 4-1 shows the recommended amounts of food in the MyPyramid patterns and the usual mean intakes at five comparable calorie/age group levels. The basis for comparing food intake data with MyPyramid patterns and for using these age and calorie levels is presented in Chapter 3. Table 4-1 also includes data on the intake of oils and calories from discretionary solid fats and added sugars.”
Age group divides the mean daily amount of food consumed. An analysis of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey shows that the consumption of dark green vegetables, orange vegetables and legumes were low for children. This results of the study reflect the similar findings from the IOM (institution of Medicine).
Fried foods are the enemy.
The most unfortunate problem with our adolescent children in America is the consumption of fried foods. The majority of vegetables were consumed fried for most children. Sometimes parents may consider fried vegetables to be an appropriate substitute, but the amount of fat and sugar counteract any nutritional benefit that may be left.
Fruit stands king in the eyes of children
Fortunately, in America, we have an abundance of cheap fruit and children cannot say no to granular starches like pears and bananas. With that being said most children consume close to the recommended amount of fruit according to the MyPyramid. The downside to the fact is that many younger children consume their fruit intake via juice which lacks fiber and can contain a lot of added sugar.
Milk consumption is excellent but has side effects
The only food group that sufficiently met the recommended amounts was milk consumption. Unfortunately, some studies have shown that excess milk consumption can prevent nutrient absorption. In the end, we can see that the diet that many adolescents follow is not suitable for healthy growth. The fact that children follow unhealthy diets are precisely why we find ourselves potentially placing children on organic or adult based diets. Here’s the problem with that. Dieting as a child can interfere with growth and development. Youth grow much faster in every factor of maturity. That being said, the number #1 reason for children stunted growth is a lack of caloric intake or nutritional intake.
“Intakes of Solid Fats and Added Sugars As shown in Table 4-1, children’s mean daily intakes of calories from solid fats and added sugars are very high. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (USDA/HHS, 2010) emphasizes the importance of reducing intakes of these ingredients in the diet of all Americans, especially children. Estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggest that, for school-age children, the highest contributors of solid fat include sandwiches such as burgers (15 percent), fried potatoes, and pizza with meat, which contributed about 6 percent each (USDA/FNS, 2008, Table C-29). By far the largest contributors to children’s intake of added sugars (45 percent of the total amount) are regular soda and noncarbonated sweetened drinks (USDA/FNS, 2008, Table C-30).”
The easiest way to adjust a child’s weight and prevent adverse effects on growth is to change their diet of processed foods. This method of weight loss is the same method I would suggest adults take as well. As an adult, you can amplify the progress in your health journey by following a 3-week dietor something similar.
If you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, there is no doubt that you have a lot of questions and concerns. Knowing that you have a chronic condition can be very unsettling. While it’s true that there is no cure for diabetes and that your life does change after receiving this type of diagnosis, rest assured that you can still live a happy, healthy, and very productive life.
What’s the key to ensuring you live a happy and healthy life with type 1 diabetes? Here are some tips and tricks that can help you maneuver through your diagnoses and effectively manage it.
Learn All There is to Know About Type 1 Diabetes
First and foremost, you should make sure that you learn everything that you possibly can about type 1 diabetes.
With type 1 diabetes, the pancreas, the organ responsible for creating and releasing insulin, does not produce the hormone. Insulin helps regulate blood glucose levels, ensuring that it stays in a healthy range. After eating, the pancreas is supposed to release insulin, which tells the body to absorb sugar from the blood and store it so that it can be used for energy. In those who have type 1 diabetes, this does not happen. Your health care professional will certainly provide you with detailed information about this condition. Make sure you pay attention to what your doctor says so that you are fully aware of your condition.
Become Familiar with the Potential Issues
It’s important that you know what potential issues are associated with having type 1 diabetes.
High blood glucose levels can impact all of the tissues and organs within your body. Potential problems associated with type 1 diabetes include:
Diabetic retinopathy and other diseases that affect the eyes
Diabetic neuropathy and other forms of nerve damage
Diabetic nephropathy, as well as other diseases that affect the kidneys
Cardiovascular issues, such as stroke, high blood pressure, and heart disease
Knowing the possible problems and being aware of the warning signs that are associated with these problems can help to ensure you receive prompt medical treatment in the event that you experience any symptoms of a problem.
Eat a Well Balanced Diet
There are certain foods that you should cut back on or completely eliminate from your diet if you have type 1 diabetes. Foods that are high in sugars and simple carbohydrates should be avoided as much as possible, as they can send your blood sugar spiraling out of control.
Healthy food choices for someone with type 1 diabetes include foods that contain healthy fats, such as nuts; protein, such as lean meats, beans, and dairy products; whole grains, including brown rice and oats; and an array of colorful vegetables, like broccoli, peppers, sweet potatoes, and red cabbage.
Speak to your doctor or a dietician to find out which food choices are the best for you.
Eat More Often
You may want to consider eating more frequently throughout the day. Instead of eating just three large meals, you might want to start eating several smaller meals throughout the day. This will help to regulate your blood glucose levels and make them easier to manage. Again, speak to your doctor or a dietician to find out how often you should be eating throughout the day.
Be Smart About Being Active
Physical activity is beneficial for anyone, but it’s particularly beneficial for diabetics. Regular exercise can help you lose weight and better maintain a healthy weight. It also helps to maintain your blood glucose levels, as well as bring your blood pressure level down.
While adapting a regular exercise regiment into your life is important, you do need to make sure that you keep a watchful eye on your blood glucose levels. That’s because physical activity can cause your levels to rise or fall. Be aware of signs that indicate your blood sugar is falling or spiking while you’re exercising.
Many Things Impact Your Blood Sugar Levels
The foods you eat and the amount of physical activity you partake in will definitely impact your blood glucose levels; however, they aren’t the only things that will affect them.
High levels of stress and not receiving an adequate amount of sleep can also impact your blood sugar levels, making them increase or decrease. Knowing what affects your blood sugar can help you steer clear of things that can impact it.
See Your Doctor Regularly
It’s important to see your doctor on a regular basis, including your general practitioner as well as any specialists that you might be seeing.
Medical professionals will provide you with valuable insight into your condition. They will also help you monitor it, and provide you with tips for monitoring it on your own. Of course, your doctor will also be able to check your condition and determine if any changes to treatment need to be made, and will provide you with the medications that are needed to maintain your blood sugar levels.
It can be extremely helpful to speak with other people that have also been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. It will give you an opportunity to share your experiences, vent, and learn more about the condition and how to handle it.
Ask your healthcare provider to recommend groups, attend seminars, or ask family and friends that you know who also have the condition for advice and support.
Keep Your Chin Up
Just because you have been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, it doesn’t mean that every aspect of your life has to change. You can still live a very fulfilling life and accomplish so many great things. Keep your chin up and know that your diagnosis does not define you. So many people with type 1 diabetes have accomplished so much.
Type 1 diabetes does change your life, but it doesn’t have to control it. Being informed, making wise choices, and staying on top of your health will ensure that you live a happy and healthy life.
There are so many fad diets that come and go, but one that seems to be staying the course is the Paleo diet. The premise of this diet is to eat a diet much like the diet that our ancestors of the Paleolithic age ate – in other words, cavemen and cavewomen. So, if you really think about it, this diet has been around for a long time; 10,000 years or so, in fact.
Back then, people ate foods that were natural; meats, nuts, veggies, fruits. They didn’t eat anything that was processed and contained high amounts of fats or sugars. And they were much healthier. That’s the idea behind the Paleo diet, which was pioneered by Dr Loren Cordain.
In addition to weight loss, following the Paleo diet can provide a myriad of other health benefits, such as a reduced risk of various health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and even certain types of cancer.
Whether you are trying to lose weight, you want to improve your overall health, or you want to achieve both, the Paleo diet is definitely a great option. But what type of foods should you be eating on this diet? Below, we’ll share the foods that are recommended for this diet (as well as those that should be avoided), and provide some tasty Paleo diet meal ideas, too!
The foundation of the Paloe diet is foods that only occur naturally, which our hunter-gatherer ancestors would have eaten. These foods include:
Grass-fed meats (they cannot me grain-fed meats), such as beef, lamb, venison, duck, and pork.
Poultry, including chicken, turkey, duck, goose, and hen.
Fish that have been wild caught; farm raised fish are not acceptable. Any type of fish will do, including salmon, tuna, flounder, anchovies, and herring.
Seafood, also that is wild and not farm raised, such as oysters, clams, shrimp, crab, mussels, scallops, and so on.
Veggies, as long as they haven’t been prepared in an un-natural way (deep-fried, for example)
Fruits, again, as long as they are natural and do not contain any additives
Oils, including organic coconut oil, avocado oil, cold-pressed olive oil, and so on
Nuts, but in small quantities, including cashews, peanuts, almonds, pistachios, pecans, and so forth.
Tubers, such as yams, sweet potatoes, and squash.
In other words, as long as it’s naturally occurring and something, you are pretty much safe to eat it on the Paleo diet.
Foods You Should Avoid
Similar to Atkins, the Paleo diet focuses on removing foods that are highly processed or were made once modern-day farming began. Foods that you should avoid eating on this diet include:
Grains, including cereals, rice, etc
Dairy products, including cottage cheese, cream cheese, and so on
Anything that contains refined sugar
Processed foods are a huge no-no, so that means no chips, crackers, little packaged cakes, or anything like that
Refined vegetable oil
Foods that contain high levels of salt
These foods have been linked to various health conditions. Furthermore, they are known for causing weight gain. As such, they are not advisable on the Paleo diet.
Paleo Diet Meal Ideas
So, now that you know what types of foods you should and should not be eating, what type of meals can you prepare that would be considered Paleo-friendly? Here’s a look at some tasty options to consider for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Paleo Diet Breakfast Ideas
Start your day off on the right foot with any one of these Paleo diet breakfast ideas:
Eggs! Any way you can cook them, as long as they aren’t deep fried, is a great option for breakfast on the paleo diet. Try scrambling them in organic, grass-fed butter or coconut oil; hard boil them, or make an omelet filled with paleo-friendly veggies, such as tomatoes and peppers.
Fresh fruit is a great choice for a Paleo-friendly breakfast. Dice up fresh strawberries, pineapple, grapes, melon, blueberries, apples, and any other fruit you can think of, mix them all together, and you have yourself a healthy, tasty, fulfilling, Paleo breakfast.
Avocado, peach, and kale smoothies are another great option for a paleo-friendly breakfast. Just add the three ingredients to a blender, add in some organic, grass-fed (or better yet, almond or coconut milk), and blend until smooth.
Paleo Diet Lunch Ideas
When the mid-day hunger pangs strike, fill your belly up with one of these Paleo diet lunch ideas:
Avocado tuna salad. Use fresh caught tuna and mix it together with diced avocado. You can add in some cold-pressed olive oil to taste, as well as any number of veggies that are suitable for the Paleo diet. Eat it with a fork, or serve it on a bed of lettuce.
Chicken and cabbage salad. Cabbage, both green and red, make up the basis of this salad. Diced grilled chicken adds protein, and basil and a bit of olive oil add some extra flavor.
Deviled egg salad. 86 the mayo and sub avocados to make yourself a tasty Paleo-friendly egg salad.
Paleo Diet Dinner Ideas
For dinner, you want to eat something that is fulfilling and will keep you satiated through the night. Some great Paleo diet dinner ideas that you should add to your menu include:
Skillet chicken, seared in organic olive oil and flavored with the Paleo veggies of your choice.
Grilled wild caught salmon drizzled a reduction made from olive oil and spices.
Spaghetti squash topped with crumbled organic, grass-fed beef
Summing It Up
To sum it up, there are so many foods that you can eat on the Paleo diet. The key is to choose options that are all-natural and don’t contain any additives. Make sure you read labels because often, there are ingredients added to foods that claim to be “all-natural” that are actually processed and therefore defeat the entire premise of the Paleo diet.
Diabetes, a chronic health condition, is rising worldwide. In 2017, it was estimated that 1 in every 11 adults had diabetes, which is an increase of 10 million diagnoses since 2015.
If you are one of the millions of people who have been diagnosed with diabetes or you have been told that you are exhibiting symptoms of pre-diabetes, your doctor has surely informed you that making changes to your diet and choosing foods that are good for your health are important for managing your condition. Your diet, maintaining a healthy weight, regular exercise, and taking the medications that you have been prescribe are all things that can make a major difference in your overall health and well being.
One of the most important dietary changes you can make is reducing the amount of sugars and carbohydrates you are ingesting. Does that mean that you should completely eliminate sweets from your diet? No! Thanks to stevia, a low-calorie, non-nutritive sweetener, you can significantly lower your intake of sugar and carbohydrates, as well as your caloric intake. That means that you can still enjoy sweetness while still managing your blood sugar levels and diabetes.
What is Stevia?
Stevia is actually a plant that has a very sweet taste to it. This plant has been used as a natural sweetener for hundreds of years. It’s native to the South American countries of Brazil and Paraguay, now this plant is grown in the Asian countries of China and Japan. It’s used as both as a non-nutritive, low-calorie sweetener. It provides both anti-diabetic and anti-oxidant properties and has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a safe alternative sweetening agent for diabetics.
Research has found that stevia contains eight different glycosides, including:
Natural sugar and artificial sweetening products can increase glucose levels, making it difficult to control diabetes. Stevia, on the other hand, can actually repress blood glucose and therefore drastically boost a diabetic’s tolerance to glucose. Stevia is also considered a natural sweetener, as it is made from the leaves of the stevia plant, which means that you don’t have to worry about ingesting artificial ingredients, as long as you are using an all-natural brand.
The Benefits of Stevia for Diabetics
Stevia has been found to provide a number of benefits for diabetics. Several scientific studies have revealed that this natural sweetener has the ability to:
Enhance the effect of insulin on the membranes of the body’s cells
Improve the production of insulin in diabetics
Evens out blood glucose levels
Counteracts the effects of type 2 diabetes
Additionally, since there are so few calories in each serving of stevia, it is considered a no calorie sweetener. It also much sweeter than traditional sugar, which means that you have to use significantly less in order to achieve the same type of sweetness.
Other Benefits of Stevia
In addition to providing notable health benefits for patients with diabetes, stevia has also been found to offer a number of other advantages.
Traditional sugar can contribute significantly to weight gain. Since stevia doesn’t contain any sugar and very little, if any calories, it can help manage your weight. In other words, you can still enjoy sweet foods and beverages without having to worry about gaining weight like you would if you were consuming traditional sugar.
Reduced Blood Pressure
It has been found that some of the glycosides in stevia can aide in blood vessel dilation, which can help to reduce blood pressure.
Reduce the Risk of Pancreatic Cancer
Stevia offers several antioxidants, as well as sterols, such as kaempferol. Research has found that kaempferol can significantly decrease the chances of developing pancreatic cancer.
Stevia is manufactured by several companies and manufactured under several brand names, including:
Stevia itself is all natural; however, the above-mentioned brands tend to be very processed and other ingredients and additives may be mixed into them. For instance, the Truvia brand of stevia undergoes 40 different steps during its processing and sugar alcohol erythritol is added to it. Therefore, there is a chance that these manufactured brands of stevia may have some impact on your health.
To avoid potential complications, if you are going to use stevia as an alternative sweetener, it is recommended that you either purchase the plant in its natural form or grow it useful and use the leaves from the plant as a sweetening agent.
Why Stevia is a Better Option than Artificial Sweeteners
Many artificial sweeteners are advertised as being free of sugar and beneficial for diabetics; however, studies have found that these sweeteners are actually a detriment to diabetes.
The body reacts differently to artificial sweeteners than traditional sugar. It can disrupt “learned taste”, which can actually send signals to the brain that tells it to eat more foods, particularly foods that are sweet. This can have a negative effect on diabetes, as it can lead to weight gain, which has been found to be detrimental to diabetes patients.
Additionally, while they are advertised to lower your blood sugar levels, artificial sweeteners can actually raise them.
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes or you have been told that you are showing signs of pre diabetes, stevia can be a great alternative to natural sugar and artificial sweeteners. It offers a number of health benefits that are particular to diabetes, and it can also help you maintain a healthy weight.
Just because you’re a diabetic or you are pre-diabetic, it doesn’t mean that you have to give up sweetness altogether. With stevia, you can still enjoy sweetness without experience adverse effects to your health.
Diabetes is a serious, lifelong condition that can have grave effects on your health if it is not managed properly. If you have this illness, you already know that your pancreas is not producing any insulin (type 1 diabetes), or it is not producing enough insulin or that your body isn’t responding to the insulin that it does produce (type 2 diabetes). As a result, your blood sugar levels can spiral out of control, which has the potential to be life-threatening.
The good news is that if diabetes is properly managed, it doesn’t have to destroy your health and take over your life. Routine testing is an important step in ensuring you are managing your type 1 or 2 diabetes effectively. The A1C test is one of the most commonly used tests for diabetics.
The A1C Test Explained
The hemoglobin A1C test (often referred to simply as the A1C test), is a blood test that is used to measure average blood glucose levels over the span of two or three month period. It’s used to get a better understanding of how well your diabetes is being managed. It can also be used as a tool to find out if type 2 diabetes has developed in pre-diabetics.
The blood sugar information provided by the A1C test is showcased in a percentage. The higher the percentage the results of the test reveal, the higher your blood sugar levels are, which means that your risk for either developing type 2 diabetes or developing complications if you have already been diagnosed with type 1 or 2 diabetes are higher
How does the A1C Test Work?
The A1C test can be used to measure the effectiveness of treatment for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. This test can also be used to determine if you are at an increased risk for developing diabetes.
The A1C test assesses the amount of glucose (sugar) that is attached to your hemoglobin, the protein that red blood cells are made up of. The greater the amount of glucose is attached to it, the higher the results of your A1C test will be. If the results are 5.7 percent or lower, your blood glucose levels are considered to be in the normal range. If your score is between 5.7 and 6.4 percent, your risk for developing type 2 diabetes is higher. If your score is greater than 6.5 percent, it is very likely that you will receive a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. If you already have been diagnosed with diabetes and your score is 5.7 percent or higher, efforts for managing your condition are not effective and your risk for developing complications are higher.
Ways to Lower Your A1C Score
The good news is that there are ways that you can lower your A1C score, and in turn, reduce your chances for developing type 2 diabetes or complications associated with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
Here are some effective ways to lower your A1C score.
If you have diabetes or pre-diabetes, making changes to your diet is important. Eating foods that are low in carbohydrates can help reduce your blood sugar levels, and thus your A1C score. Aim to eat a balanced meals consisting of lean meats, healthy fats, and non-starchy vegetables in appropriate portion sizes.
Don’t make the mistake of skipping meals or letting large periods of time pass between each mean. Doing so can have serious consequences on your blood sugar levels, as it can make your levels drastically rise and fall. Speak to your doctor to establish a meal schedule that works for you, your lifestyle, and your diabetes.
Investigate Diabetes Medications
If you are not already taking diabetes medications for A1C reduction, you might want to consider talking to your doctor about them. There are several medications available for diabetics that aim to reduce blood sugar levels, including insulin, amylinomimetic medications, alpha-glucosidase inhibitors, and DPP4 inhibitors. These are just some of the options available. Your doctor will determine which medications for A1C reduction are suitable for your needs.
If you are already taking diabetes medications and your A1C test results are high, talk to your doctor about making changes to your dosages, or possibly switching the type of medication you are taking.
Regular exercise is an important part of a diabetes management plan. It helps with weight management, which can keep your blood sugar levels under control and lower your A1C score. You don’t have to do intense exercises (unless you want to!); simple activities that get you moving can be highly effective. Walking, playing sports, bike riding, or swimming are some simple and enjoyable activities that will get you moving an help to keep your blood sugar under control, and thus lower your A1C score.
Stay on Track with Your Blood Sugar
Ask your doctor if checking your blood sugar levels is a good idea. If so, find out how often you should be checking them.
Keeping track of your blood sugar with routine testing can be a very effective way to manage your diabetes, or prevent you from developing the condition.
Stick to Your Treatment Plant
Sticking with your treatment plan is extremely important. Together, you and your doctor can determine the most effective plan and measures that you should be taking in order to effectively manage your blood sugar levels and your diabetes.
The Bottom Line
Just because you have diabetes or are pre-diabetic doesn’t mean that your diagnoses has to rule your life. You can take control of your health and your blood sugar levels by following the above-mentioned recommendations. As always, make sure you keep in regular contact with your doctor.
There is nothing more important than your health. By managing your diabetes, you can keep your health on track.
Even science has shown in research how you can properly gain an advantage over your disease with training.
Long-term regular physical activity training was found to be helpful in improving glycemic control, body composition and cardiovascular fitness among patients with T2DM. Long-term continuous physical activity offsets the deteriorations of biological indicators found in the control group. Further research, with a particular focus on practical and real-world programming, is needed to determine the responsive health outcomes of such long-term programs on the patients.[ncbi]
Stress is a large factor
Many people struggle with juggling responsibilities in life. This can increase stress levels and in hand cause detriment to your health. Healthline does a great job at providing a few ways to lower your a1c by mitigating stress.
The impact of sweeteners can sneak up on your body and cause much distress for someone with health problems.
All refined sugars such as glucose, sucrose, and their products (soft drinks, sweets, toffees, etc.) and honey should be avoided, except during severe illness or episodes of hypoglycemia. These foods contain simple sugar, which is easily absorbed causing rapid rise in blood sugar.
Non-nutritive sweeteners, e.g., Canderel, saccharine, NutraSweet, aspartame are suitable sugar substitutes for diabetic subjects.[ncbi]
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