Diabetes Week 2017

Nearly everybody has heard about diabetes. Most of us know a friend or family member living with diabetes.  And with nearly 4 million people diagnosed in the UK and a further half a million who have the condition but don’t yet know it, it’s strange that it is still very misunderstood.


Our friends across the pond have it even worse than us.  In fact the US-based Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 40 % of children born between 2000 and 2011 would develop type 2 diabetes in their lifetime.


What is Diabetes?

Diabetes develops when glucose can’t enter the body’s cells to be used as fuel. This happens when either:


  • There is no insulin to unlock the cells (Type 1) Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease.  It’s advancing in its incidence.  Finland is actually the type 1 Diabetes capital of the world.  This is when your immune cells attack your beta cells of your Pancreas.  And your Pancreas ceases to pump out insulin.


  • There is not enough insulin or the insulin is there but not working properly (Type 2).  Type 2 Diabetes is understood to be more of a lifestyle disease.  Type 2 is characterised by insulin resistance.  And it’s typically bought on by a diet that’s high in sugar.


Receptors are located on our cells that pick up insulin.  Insulin resistance means that the cells are not picking up insulin.  In Type 2 Diabetes the receptors stop working as well, and do not pick up the insulin (which means that they are not picking up the glucose in the bloodstream) in the way that they were beforehand.  In a sense the cells have become ‘desensitised’ to insulin.  But why?


The reason why the cells become desensitised to insulin is linked to inflammation. And inflammation can be linked to problems in the gut.  It’s thus linked to imbalances in the most important ally in our health – and that’s the gut bacteria or the microbiome!  When the gut bacteria are imbalanced they are not keeping the immune system in balance.  And we are more likely to get inflammation and insulin resistance.


Carrying fat on your belly will increase your risk of illnesses such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and Alzheimer’s.  There is hope however: you can change your shape using diet and supplements.

How to keep Diabetes in check

Consume less glucose.  It sounds very simple, but to keep ourselves as insulin sensitive as possible, we actually want to consume less glucose.  And the answer is about restricting our intake.  It’s about holding back, as I tell my clients.  It’s not always about receiving immediate gratification.  Don’t use sugar as a reward!


Include chromium in your diet.  It helps control your blood sugar levels, which helps to reduce sugar cravings. Chromium can be found in eggs, nuts, mushrooms and asparagus.


Eat Salmon and Walnuts.  According to research from Sweden, people who eat mainly polyunsaturated fat-rich foods like salmon and walnuts also store less fat around their waists and their internal organs.  This study, published in the journal Diabetes, is the first on humans showing that the fat composition of food not only affects cholesterol levels in the blood and the risk of heart disease, but also where in the body fat will be stored  (1)


Homemade food reduces the risk of diabetes!  Getting people to cook at home is one of the things that I find myself repeating most often to clients. A recent study confirms that homemade food is indeed the healthier option as it could reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes by up to 13%. (2)


An easy way to increase your quota of homemade food is to bring in leftovers for lunch in some Tupperware. I always batch cook at the weekends so that you can stock your fridge. Simple foods like soups and stews are easy to prepare in bulk.  Prepare breakfast the night before when you’re not in a rush: boil eggs and leave them in the fridge, soak your porridge overnight – it’s much easier to digest and cooks more quickly.

What is Diabetes Week?

Diabetes Week 11 – 17 June, 2017 is an annual highlight in the Diabetes UK calendar. It’s a time when we bring our supporters together to raise awareness of the condition, and vital funds for its treatment and awareness.


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  • Research from Uppsala University. The study’s aim was for the sample of 39 young adult men and women of normal weight, to gain 3 percent of their starting weight by eating an additional 750 extra calories a day for seven weeks.  Half of the participants ate their surplus calories from polyunsaturated fat with the other half getting theirs from saturated fat.   Both diets contained the same amount of sugar, carbohydrates, fat, and protein – the only difference was the type of fat. Whilst there were similar weight gains between the two diet groups, the people who ate more saturated fat stored more in their liver and abdomen, making them more likely to develop heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  The total amount of body fat stored was also greater in the saturated fat group.   Also this group was also found to gain three times less muscle than the group who got their extra calories from polyunsaturated fat.
  • The study carried out by Geng Zong, a scientist from Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, made the discovery.  His team analysed data collected over a period of 36 years from over 58,000 women and 41,000 men as part of the Nurses’ Health Study. The team concluded that those who prepared between 11 -16 meals a week at home reduced their risk of type 2 diabetes by 13%.


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