According to the American Heart Association (AHA) people with high levels of belly fat have a higher risk of numerous diseases, including diabetes. It’s true that genes can play a part in our shape and our weight, however certain lifestyle choices can alter the natural way our body gains weight. Research has shown that people with excess fat in their belly areas (“apple” shape) have a greater risk of dying from heart disease than people who carry their weight in their hips and thighs (“pear” shape).
One very important aspect of controlling blood glucose levels and preventing or controlling diabetes is understanding where calories come from and watching out for excess sugar in your diet.
One helpful tip is to know your nutrition labels. High calorie sodas, flavored water and sports drinks are filled with calories and carbohydrates. Carbohydrates become glucose or blood sugar when they are digested. If you are diabetic, controlling blood sugar is imperative. Nutrition labels will help you know if a drink is sweetened or unsweetened. If you see corn syrup, fruit juice concentrates, high-fructose corn syrup, sucrose or dextrose on the label, stay away. Eight ounces of natural fruit juice, without added sugar, has the same amount of sugar as 8 ounces of regular soda, about 6 teaspoons of sugar! Eat fruit instead of drinking fruit juice. Drink water. If you have a hard time drinking 6-8 glasses of water a day try adding crystal light flavoring.
Other areas to focus on are dairy and starches. Milk and yogurt have a natural sugar called lactose. We recommend eating the healthier nonfat or low-fat version. Cheese is also high in fat so choose reduced fat (2%), low fat or nonfat to satisfy any cravings.
When selecting grains, think whole grain foods, which are more nutritious. White bread, white rice and processed cereals are highly refined grains and quickly digested into simple sugars and enter the blood stream causing blood-sugar levels to spike and quickly crash. These rapid swings in blood sugar can drain your energy and leave you feeling irritable and tired.
In observance of Diabetes Awareness Month, keep your waistline in check by eating healthy foods and exercising on a regular basis! Losing weight can help insulin better control your blood sugar. In the long run, you’ll feel better and live a longer, healthier life.
To learn more about weight loss surgery such as gastric band, gastric sleeve, or gastric bypass, sign up for a free weight loss surgery seminar or call us at 877-691-3001. Or, if you are not eligible for bariatric surgery in Louisiana or Mississippi, our nutrition counseling, MyWeight, can help you achieve your weight loss goals.