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Can Diet and Exercise Impact Type 2 Diabetes?

Today, there are 11 million Canadians living with diabetes or prediabetes. For those living with, or at risk of type 2 diabetes, it can be managed through physical activity or proper nutrition.

That's why we want to show you how exercise and diet can impact you or a loved one.

Remember, if you are diagnosed with diabetes, or believe you may have it, consult your health care professional before starting new exercises or diet regimes.

What is type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes occurs when you develop an insensitivity to insulin, meaning your body can't properly use or create insulin that is released from eating certain foods.  About 90% of those living with diabetes have type 2 diabetes and it is mainly found in adults. It can also lead to a variety of other illnesses from heart disease. 

How do I get type 2 diabetes?

Diet and lifestyle factors are some of the major indicators of type 2 diabetes. If you lead a pretty sedentary life and eat a diet that is high in sugar and processed foods, you can increase your chances of being diagnosed with the disease. 

Let's look at the example of sugar, which is also in many processed foods. Sugar from food is converted to glucose. Insulin is produced to balance your blood sugar. However, it can only produce so much and if you continue to eat foods high in sugar, your body is unable to balance this with insulin production, leading to imbalances and long-term disease. 

Can Diet and Exercise Impact Type 2 Diabetes?

How can I prevent or manage it with my diet?

  • Remove all refined sugars, like soft drinks, milk chocolate, candy, and white breads and pastas.
  • Load up on vegetables, and focus on plant-based meals.
  • Carbohydrates should be eaten in the form of starch and whole grains: think legumes, whole grain pastas and breads, and potatoes.
  • Increase your fiber intake with foods like leafy greens, whole grains (i.e. oats, quinoa or barley), and legumes.
  • Swap foods high in saturated fats, like beef or bacon, salted butter, cheese and lard with lean meats or vegetable-based oils like coconut and avocado oil
  • Incorporate Omega-3 rich foods like those in cold water fish or flaxseeds
  • Try to spread small meals throughout the day. This will help to balance blood sugar as you won't be putting too much in your body at one time

Can Diet and Exercise Impact Type 2 Diabetes?

How can I prevent or manage it with my lifestyle choices?

Physical exercise can help to regulate the uptake of glucose, which means it can be reduced overall. 

  • Try walking if you're just starting out. It's a nice light exercise that won't result in any strenuous injuries.
  • Your main goal may be weight reduction to assist with minimizing symptoms of type 2 diabetes. Check out some exercise tips to get you started!
  • Try meditating. Meditation has been associated with reduced stress (which can increase blood glucose levels), and more control over one's life.
  • Work with a personal trainer who works with people with blood sugar issues. They will understand the importance of gaining control of your health, but also show you ways to make this a sustainable part of your life.

Find out how you can set your goals with a fitness and nutritional goal assessment. Click below for more information!  

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