Artificial sweeteners are used as an additive in both beverages, as well as food, to improve taste since most people prefer a sweet taste.
Since these sweeteners contain very few calories, they are also popular in diet beverages and diet foods. They are even used in products marketed to people with diabetes and promoted as a good alternative to sugar.
This seems to be a big mistake according to the reviewed research(Suez J, et al. 2014). The results demonstrated that consumption of these sweeteners are causing glucose intolerance because they alter the composition of the intestinal bacterial flora in a negative way. These results have been reproduced in both humans and mice.
The last thing you want to do is to consume a substance that will make you more glucose intolerant. This is very important for diabetics, but also for non diabetics because you don’t want to develop diabetes.
A lot has been written about the bacterial flora of the gastrointestinal tract lately and how it can affect other areas of the body.
The reviewed research evaluated the effects of seven strains of friendly bacterias and how they may affect insulin sensitivity(Eslamparast T, et al. 2014).
Participants with the metabolic syndrome were given capsules containing 200 million of seven strains of friendly bacterias twice a day for 28 weeks.
Fasting blood sugar and insulin resistance improved significantly in the treatment group.
While we don’t know all the friendly bacterias yet, we know that quite a few can be beneficial to take. When you are traveling, it can be a good idea to bring a pro-biotic which does not require refrigeration since this may also help to prevent gastrointestinal problems if you are exposed to bacterias you are not used to.
You don’t want to have a slow metabolic rate because that would make it harder to maintain a lean body composition. You can probably also agree that most of us are exposed to plenty of stress during a average day.
I think you will find the reviewed research interesting because it investigated how stress may affect our metabolic rate (Kiecolt-Glaser JK, et al. 2014).
Fifty-eight healthy women, with the average age of 53.1 years, participated in the study and were given high fat test meals. The day prior to eating the test meals, stressors were also assessed using a standard test. Fat and carbohydrate oxidation, triglycerides, cortisol, insulin and glucose were measured before and after the 2 high fat meals.
It was found that greater numbers of stressors were associated with lower fat oxidation after the meals and also higher insulin levels. The difference between stressors the day before and no stressors turned out to be 435 kj which is approximately 104 calories. The researchers estimated that it could add up to almost 11 pounds per year in weight gain.
This means that stress can contribute to weight gain.
You may not be able to control the factors contributing to stress, but you can, with some training, control how you react to stress.
In other words you can make yourself more stress resistant. Meditation is a great tool for that.
Green tea seems to be one of the best things you can drink for your health. One of the reasons is that it contains a lot of antioxidants.
One of the most important things we can do to stay healthy is to be sure we stay insulin sensitive. When we are insulin sensitive the glucose is transferred from the blood into the cells very easily without the pancreas having to release a lot of insulin. This will keep the blood glucose at a low and normal level, and also help to keep inflammation low, both are very important if we want to be healthy.
The reviewed research investigated if green tea could improve glucose control and increase insulin sensitivity(Liu K, et.al.,2013). 17 studies were included in the analysis. It showed that green tea consumption significantly reduced the fasting glucose and Hemoglobin A1c. Hemoglobin A1c is a test for long-term glucose control.
If you don’t like green tea and if you want to be sure your green tea does not contain a lot of pesticides, you can take it in capsule form like our “Better Green Tea“ formula which meets the German standards for pesticide content, which is very strict.
Insulin resistance is a condition present before the onset of type 2 diabetes. Too little physical activity and a diet consisting of high glycemic index foods, which are foods that cause the blood sugar to raise rapidly and high, can contribute to insulin resistance.
Muscles use glucose as fuel to produce energy. The research reviewed evaluated if an increase in muscle mass is associated with improved glucose regulation (Srikanthan P, Karlamangla AS. 2011). Data from 13,644 participants were evaluated to assess insulin resistance, prevalence of transitional/pre- or overt diabetes and prevalence of overt diabetes.
The researchers concluded that higher muscle mass is associated with better insulin sensitivity and a lower risk of diabetes.
Having higher muscle mass would also be beneficial as we get older since it can help us be more functional.
If you are not already doing so, add some resistance training to your regime.
There are two types of diabetes, type I and type II. Type I diabetes is an autoimmune disease where not enough insulin is produced. While type I diabetes can occur in adult life it is much more common to be born with this condition. Since the pancreas of people with type I diabetes is not able to produce adequate insulin it has to be supplied as a medication.
Type II diabetes is also called adult onset diabetes because it usually occurs later in life, it often does not require the supply of insulin. People with this condition are still able to produce insulin even if they may not be producing as much as they used to. The problem with type II diabetes is what is called insulin resistance. Insulin resistance means that the receptors on the cells get less responsive (less sensitive) to the insulin. The insulin is for that reason not able to transfer the blood glucose (sugar) into the cells as effectively as it used to. Genetic factors can make somebody more susceptible to this problem, but high glycemic index foods and too little physical activity are major contributors to insulin resistance. High glycemic index foods are foods that are absorbed quickly and elevates the blood glucose high.
An interesting study involving 71, 346 female nurses aged 38-63 years of age was recently published. The researchers investigated the association between fruit, vegetable and fruit juice intake and the development of type 2 diabetes (Bazzano LA, et al, 2008).
Both increased fruit and vegetable consumption was documented to be associated with a lower risk for diabetes while the consumption of fruit juice was associated with an increased risk for diabetes.
This may not be that strange since fruit juice is quite sweet. It takes a lot of fruit to make a glass of juice, you would usually not be able to eat that much fruit at one time.
Bazzano LA, et al. Intake of fruit, vegetables, and fruit juices and risk of diabetes in women. Diabetes Care. 2008 Jul;31(7):1311-7.