3 Snacks for Type 2 Diabetics

3 Snacks Type 2 Diabetics need to keep with them at ALL times!

No blood sugar impact snacks

Most type 2 diabetics struggle with controlling their blood sugar. Since almost all foods seem to raise their blood sugar, they also tend to stress out over what kind of snacks they can eat.

But since they also get hungry, this is a problem. So…what to eat?

Listed below are three different snacks you should have on “your person” at all times. Under most circumstances, they have a zero to minimal impact on your blood sugar, which means you should be able to eat them without worry (at least regarding your blood sugar).

Nuts

Nuts are high in fat, good fiber, vitamins and minerals. While they vary slightly – from one variety to another – in nutrient content, they are all high in fat, which means they will have minimal impact on your blood sugar. Additionally, the fat, vitamin and mineral content will help keep you full (or sated) until your next meal.

They are pretty hardy and travel well, making them an excellent snack choice for just about anyone, but type 2 diabetics in particular.

Eat them raw (our preference) or roasted. Just don’t eat them loaded with sugar or syrup or covered in chocolate (but you already knew that).

And if you happen to be allergic to nuts, seeds are good too. Pumpkin and sunflower seeds do essentially the same things!

Beef Jerky

Another snack high in protein and fat – the combination you need to keep your blood sugar from spiking.

Our preference: Buy it from a meat market or butcher shop (or make it yourself) so you know that it has been minimally processed. Another tip: If you buy from the store, check the label and look at the sugar content. Many types of beef jerky sold at the store have a lot of added sugar. Try to keep it below 5 grams of sugar per serving.

Best bet: Sugar free beef jerky.

A Boiled Egg

This is the least hardy of our recommendations but unless you have to leave these snacks in your car and it’s hot outside, you don’t really have to worry about the boiled egg.

Eggs are a great source of healthy fats, vitamins and minerals and an excellent source of protein.

Our recommendation: Always keep a dozen boiled eggs in the refrigerator. They are great snacks at any time!

Stay away from those…

Those little packets of 100 calorie snacks should be avoided by most people, especially type 2 diabetics. They are little more than sugar-spiking food products. It does not matter that they contain only 100 calories. It matters that they consist of some type of flour and sugar, both of which spike your blood sugar. Who thinks it’s better to eat a 100 calorie pack of cookies over one triple-double-stuffed Oreo cookie, which is also 100 calories?

That is insane

These snacks help you better control your blood sugar

While the 100 calorie snack packs are insane, these three snacks are not. Eat them when hungry. Your blood sugar will thank you!

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Insulin Sensitivity Webinar

Thank you for viewing our webinar!

Listed below are links where you can download the files discussed during the webinar – the exercise tip sheet and the Module 1 Guide.

A link to enroll in the HPI Diabetes Academy, as discussed during the webinar, is also below.

Click here to download the slides used during the webinar.

Purpose of the Webinar: Stress the importance of improving insulin sensitivity, which is not done by conventional treatment methods.



Exercise Tip Sheet

Module 1 Guide

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If you’d like to enroll, get access to all 10 Modules of the HPI Diabetes Academy, all of our webinars and more, click the image below to be taken to our shopping cart where you can enroll right now and get immediate access to our website!

Here is how the process will work:

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See you there!

3 Keys to improving insulin sensitivity

What they aren’t telling you!

As a type 2 diabetic, you are keenly aware of the importance in controlling your blood sugar. Whether it is with your diet, the frequency or dosage of your medication, this point is hammered home!

But there is something they aren’t telling you.

Everything you are instructed to do is to control blood sugar:

  • Medication? Find the right dose so the numbers are where they like them?
  • Diet? These are the exchanges. Use them, but eat fewer calories.
  • Exercise? Go burn some of those calories you just ate!

This is nonsense.

It’s nonsense because…

Controlling blood sugar will not fix anything. Sure, you want to keep your blood sugar in check and taking your medication will help you do that. But…type 2 diabetes (and prediabetes) is a problem of insulin resistance. You’ve been told that before, right?

Insulin resistance is what causes your blood sugar to rise. Taking medication to control your blood sugar does nothing to improve insulin resistance!

So you take your medication and check your “numbers.” But what happens when your medication runs out? You need a refill or your blood sugar goes back up. Right?

This is the problem!

In order to improve your health and control your condition, you need to improve insulin sensitivity. This will allow your body to deal with the elevated blood sugar naturally, as opposed to doing it artificially with medication.

So how do you do that?

The Metabolic Problem

Outside of the obvious, type 2 diabetics are fundamentally different than non-diabetics when it comes to their metabolism. For example, at rest they burn a significantly higher amount of carbohydrates to produce calories than their non-diabetic counterparts. This is a major problem because we should all be burning fat while at rest. This holds true as they exercise – they burn a significantly lower percentage of calories from fat at all levels of exercise intensity. Beyond the metabolic and exercise differences, they have a hard time dealing with hunger and feeling satisfied because of this metabolic problem.

This is why the standard approach doesn’t work.

When you combine this with the above information – medication that controls blood sugar doesn’t improve insulin sensitivity – it is no wonder that average type 2 diabetic is told they will never be able to get off of their medication. Nothing is done to properly help them.

Improving Insulin Sensitivity is Key

There are three ways a type 2 diabetic can improve insulin sensitivity:

  • Proper diet
  • Proper exercise
  • The right amount of sleep

I know. Very groundbreaking, right?

But something in this list is key: The word proper! Because if the right kind of food is not eaten, the right kind of exercise is not done and if the right amount of sleep is not part of the equation, insulin sensitivity will not improve.

Proper Diet

The diet for a type 2 diabetic should do at least two things: 1) reduce the overall glucose load on the body. This will help reduce fat storage and help the liver better regulate circulating blood glucose (one of its many important functions). 2) It should promote a fat-burning state so that while at rest, a type 2 diabetic can decrease the amount of carbohydrates their body is burning. Did you even realize you could do this with the proper food choices?

Proper Exercise

Any kind of exercise is better than no exercise, but when it comes to a type 2 diabetic, some exercise is superior. Exercise that promotes fat-burning should serve as the bulk of physical activity. It is like a sledgehammer, battering your metabolism into submission and forcing it to get better at burning fat. Note: This will also help with the resting metabolism problem. So it has a nice side benefit. Another thing to mention: This type of activity should be continuous and last more than 30 minutes – with an hour being optimal. Why? Because it takes a while for your body to get into a good fat burning zone. You need to get in that zone and then stay there.

The right amount of sleep

A lack of quality sleep is associated with every chronic condition known to man. Type 2 diabetes is no different. Further, most people don’t necessarily need to go to bed earlier to improve the quality of their sleep. They just need to change a few things in the last hour or so before they go to bed. After a good dinner the night before and a good night’s sleep, your metabolism is just about perfect.

Start doing these things

If you start doing these things, your insulin sensitivity will improve. Your body will start controlling blood sugar naturally, like it is supposed to do.

The longer you do this, the more your insulin sensitivity will improve, which means in the long run, you won’t have to panic if/when your medication runs out.

If you’d like to learn more…

I recently hosted a webinar on these very topics.

If you’d like to view a recorded version of the webinar, enter your name and email address below and we will send it to you right away.

Why knowing what happens to digestible carbohydrate is important

What happens to the carbohydrates we eat?

Type 2 diabetics (and many others) know they turn into blood sugar. Monitoring blood sugar is something a type 2 diabetic does daily.

But did you know that understanding what happens to blood sugar is also important? I’m not talking about whether it goes up or down after you eat a meal or snack. I’m talking about after the meal and after it has reached its peak – when it starts to go down. The blood sugar goes somewhere. Do you know where it goes?

If you don’t, you should. Because knowing this will help you understand the fate of blood sugar, how you can eat to change this and what impact it will have.

Setting the Stage

It is necessary to define a key term before explaining this process and the image above.

That key term is: digestible carbohydrate. Digestible carbohydrate is the amount of carbohydrate digested by your body after eating a food. For example, one cup of zucchini contains about 12 calories (3 grams) of digestible carbohydrate. By comparison, 1 cup of diced potato contains 28 grams of carbohydrate or 112 calories from carbohydrate. However, it contains only 96 calories of digestible carbohydrate. For most foods, the difference between total carbohydrates and digestible carbohydrate is the difference in fiber content.

In both instances (and all instances of eating food) our body must deal with the digestible carbohydrate calories from the food we eat. In the explanation below, it does not matter where those carbohydrate calories come from (zucchini, potato, cake or ice cream) – the principle is still the same.

The Fate of Blood Sugar

When we eat the zucchini or potato or drink a sugary beverage, there are two outcomes for blood sugar (at least as they relate to this article): 1) some of the blood sugar will be consumed by the body to produce energy; and, 2) the rest will be stored.

The first one is easy to understand. When we eat (or drink) something, our body has to digest it. The act of digesting food is work for the body. Work for the body is done by “burning” or “producing” calories. Glucose can be used to “burn” or “produce” energy needed to do this work. So some of the blood glucose from the foods you eat will be consumed for energy production. But, depending on your circumstance and the amount of digestible carbohydrate you consumed, it is a relatively small amount. This means the rest of the blood glucose needs to be dealt with.

So what happens to the rest?

It gets stored and this is important for you to understand! There isn’t much we can do – one way or the other – to impact the amount of blood sugar that is consumed for energy production. Changing foods we eat, various combinations, whatever the case may be, there isn’t a significant change in the amount of glucose consumed during the digestive process. So this amount (whatever it may be) is pretty stable.

But we can have an impact on storage.

If you return to the image above, there is a cupcake and eggplant on the left hand side. The digestible portion of carbohydrate, that which doesn’t get consumed during the digestive process, gets stored as either glycogen or fat tissue. That’s what the arrows represent.

But how do we know what amounts goes into each and what can do to impact this?

Great questions!

First, our body would prefer to convert glucose to glycogen – the storage form of glucose. The remaining glucose, whatever doesn’t get consumed by producing energy, goes through step 1. This involves converting the glucose to glycogen and storing it – in either muscle tissue or the liver (the only real places our body can store glycogen). Step 1 continues until a condition is met: 1) Our body runs out of glucose that needs to be stored. If this happens, the process stops. Blood sugar is at “normal” levels and nothing else needs to be done. Or, 2) Glycogen levels in both the liver and muscle tissue are full and unable to accept more glycogen. When our body reaches this point, we go to step 2. Step 2 is converting glucose to fat and storing it in the fat tissue. We go through this step until blood sugar is “normal” and nothing else needs to be done.

Limiting Fat Storage

If you go back and look at the image, we can see the middle section (glycogen) dictates how much glucose gets converted to fat and stored in the fat tissue.

With that in mind, there are two things we can do to effectively minimize the amount of glucose that is converted to fat and stored in the fat tissue.

First, we can increase the storage capacity of glycogen. We can do this in one of two ways. By depleting our glycogen stores through dietary changes or exercise; or, by increasing the amount of muscle tissue on our body. Both of these strategies will work to increase the amount of digestible carbohydrate that gets stored as glycogen and decrease the amount of glucose that gets converted to fat and stored as fat tissue.

The second thing we can do is limit the amount of digestible carbohydrate we eat. Overall, the less digestible carbohydrate we consume, the less there is to convert to fat and store in fat tissue.

Both of these strategies will work to decrease fat storage. As an added benefit, it will also improve the body’s ability to access the fat stores, which helps improve insulin sensitivity. A positive outcome for type 2 diabetics.

Digestible Carbohydrate is an important concept to understand

Overall, as a type 2 diabetic, knowing how certain foods spike your blood sugar is important. However, knowing what happens to the digestible carbohydrate may be even more important to know.

Since we can eat foods that decrease (or limit) fat storage, we can impact our overall blood sugar. This will work to improve insulin sensitivity, so that we can control our blood sugar more naturally – instead of using medication to do it. Beyond all that, none of us like storing body fat – we don’t like the way too much of it makes us feel or look, but the negative impact it has on insulin sensitivity makes it worse.

Understanding this and acting accordingly will have a positive impact on your condition.

You’re doing eggs all wrong!

Image from bostonmagazine.com.

 

You’ve heard it before, maybe even believe it yourself:

Eat the egg whites and trash the yolks!

Egg yolks are full of saturated fat and cholesterol – they are bad for you!”

The list goes on…

It’s hard not to get caught up in this line of thinking because it seems to be everywhere. After all, nearly every restaurant that serves breakfast has a “healthy breakfast option” that removes the yolks from the eggs.

Thinking this way is doing eggs all wrong. It’s time to stop the egg-yolk-phobia!

Yolk is the healthiest part of the egg!

Look at the image below. From a single egg yolk (17 grams), it’s easy to see yolks are loaded with micronutrients!

These restaurants and their healthy egg options are getting rid of the healthiest part of an egg. Compare the nutrient density of the egg white from a single egg below.

Not much of a comparison. In fact, there are bunch of zeros when it comes to nutrient density of the egg white.

Beyond the direct comparison, the protein in egg whites is more difficult to digest when the fats from the egg yolks are not available to help your body digest them.

But, but saturated fat and cholesterol!

Yes, we all know the drill. Eating saturated fat raises cholesterol, which increases heart attack risk. This is simply not true. Although eating a “saturated” fat like Crisco certainly increases your risk, it’s not really a saturated fat.

Further, study after study after study has repeatedly shown that dietary cholesterol and saturated fat has little impact on your cholesterol levels. Cholesterol levels are internally regulated, when you consume more, your body makes less. And vice-versa.

Finally, studies show that consuming whole eggs improves cholesterol profile, increases HDL and improves metabolic syndrome here, here and here.

Beyond all of that, high cholesterol is (supposedly) a risk factor indicating an increased risk for cardiovascular disease. Some would argue against that.

See? Eggs aren’t so bad!

In fact, they are one of the best foods you can eat. Their awesome micronutrient profile means they go a long way to filling your satiety bucket, which means your body will stay full longer.

What about the calories?

What about them? A single, large boiled egg contains 70-80 calories, depending on size. So if you eat two boiled eggs for breakfast, you are consuming 150-160 calories. Compare that to a medium, plain bagel at nearly 300 calories! And the nutrient density in the whole egg completely blows away the bagel. So you are eating fewer calories and doing a better job of feeding your body.

Not much of a comparison!

Tell’em they’re doing eggs all wrong!

The next time someone tells you the egg yolk should be thrown out, tell them they are doing eggs all wrong. Then proceed to recite everything in this article.

And the next time you have breakfast at a restaurant, tell your waiter you want the healthy eggs, those WITH the yolk!

Dinner with the husband, the shakes and metabolic flexibility

Dinner with the husband, the shakes and metabolic flexibility


Thumbs Up

Have you ever experienced your hands starting to shake a little when you are hungry? When that happens, it’s time to get something to eat. Right?

Maybe.

Maybe not. This post is about that exact issue.

We had a great question this week from a member of The Academy.

About 3-4 hours after eating a meal, she can feel hunger setting in and her hands start to shake a little.

For her, this typically happens late afternoon / early evening. One option she has is to eat something (more on this later). But she doesn’t really want to do that. She likes having dinner with her husband and doesn’t want to mess that up!

She was following our recommendations and wondered if there was anything she could do.

Access and Metabolic Flexibility

There are many aspects to how and why your body gets hungry but since she was following our recommendations and experiencing less hunger overall, it didn’t sound like it was a food related issue. It sounded like an access and metabolic flexibility issue.

Here is a textbook definition of metabolic flexibility? In verbiage you might not find in an endocrinology journal, metabolic flexibility is defined as the ease in which your body can switch between burning carbohydrates and/or fats to produce energy. The less flexible your metabolism is, the harder it is to switch. Most people with poor metabolic flexibility are good at burning carbohydrates, which means burning fat is hard. This means that losing weight (specifically fat tissue) can be difficult.

When we eat a meal, the food provides a rush of energy that comes from the macronnutrients (carbohydrates, fats and proteins) and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, etc…). Over time, this rush decreases and eventually returns to pre-meal levels. During this period of time, our body has access to a lot of potential energy. So we don’t feel hungry. But as the access to potential energy diminishes, we get closer to being hungry.

This is why metabolic flexibility and access to energy are tied together. Here is the situation for most adults: Your body has a lot of fat to lose but because your metabolic flexibility is poor, you can’t access it. This is the “access problem” we discuss in The Academy. When that rush of energy from the food you’ve eaten is gone, your body needs more. And if it can’t access fat stores, it sends hunger signals. Then you get hungry. Then you eat.

(This cycle starts with weight gain as a result of decreasing insulin sensitivity. As insulin sensitivity continues to decrease, pre-diabetes and then full-blown diabetes are on the horizon.)

Can we fix this problem?

Let’s return to our question. She was following our recommendations. In general, her hunger levels were better. This signals an improving metabolic flexibility. But, it wasn’t improved enough to keep her from getting the shakes or allowing her the ability to wait and have dinner with her husband.

To answer her question directly, the response was “Yes” there is something she can do!

At the beginning of this post, one of the things we mentioned that she could do was eat something. This would solve the problem because the “food rush” would provide a lot of potential energy, which would mean her body would stop trying to “access” the fat tissue. So eating food would fix it and eliminate the shakes.

Not practical for two reasons:

  1. The first is personal. She wants to have dinner with her husband. Eating would spoil that. So it’s not a good option.
  2. This one is from our perspective. Eating food when access is low only fixes the “lack of energy” problem and does nothing to address the access to energy problem. It just “kicks the can down the road.” She will eat. The shakes will stop. But as soon as the “rush” is over, she will be hungry again. Not a practical long term solution.

Ok, so what to do?

We have diagnosed this as an access and metabolic flexibility issue. From above, we noted these two things were tied together. If our diagnoses is accurate, then improving one should improve the other.

Earlier we defined poor metabolic flexibility. Optimal metabolic flexibility, conversely, means our body can easily switch between burning fats and carbohydrates to produce energy. If our metabolic flexibility is optimal, we can “access” the fat stores. This can eliminate the access problem and decrease hunger (and in this case, the shakes too!).

The prescription

We told her the following:

When the shakes set in and you are not ready to eat, take a walk.

Walking forces your body to burn fat, improving metabolic flexibility. In turn, this will help eliminate the access problem.

We suggested a 10-15 minute walk.

She went above and beyond.

She walked until the shakes disappeared.

It took 22 minutes!

Problem solved.

The shakes went away.

The access problem was gone.*

Most importantly, she was able to have dinner with her husband!

We are happy for her and glad to play a small role in her finding success!

 

*The access problem isn’t gone completely. But it is better. Most importantly, it’s better enough for her not to be so hungry that it might mess up dinner with her husband!