There is no way that I can stay up to catch SNL so my husband always records and we try to watch at a pre-vampire hour during the week—I must say, it has been pretty darn funny these days! It is not often that I laugh so hard that I literally cry but a few week’s ago, Tech Talk with Christina Applegate got me good.
What does Tech Talk have to do with diabetes? Absolutely nothing really, except that in this sketch the three guests whined about problems with the iPhone 5 to “factory workers from China” (where parts of the iPhone are apparently made and assembled). When asked, “What does America actually make?” The answer from one of the “workers” was, “Does diabetes count as a product?” OK, that just about did me in (BTW, great writing SNL!!!).
Surely, diabetes is not something to laugh about by any measure. But the sad reality is that America did actually make diabetes (well, sort of). If you don’t already know:
- Type 1 Diabetes (juvenile diabetes) is an autoimmune dysfunction where the pancreas fails to produce insulin (the hormone that let’s glucose into our cells for proper energy). Those with Type 1 are insulin dependent, meaning they must take insulin to survive.
- Type 2 Diabetes (adult onset diabetes) is a condition characterized by insulin resistance (meaning that the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or the body can’t use it adequately). Obesity and inactivity are thought to be the primary causes of this condition.
So where does America come in? Well, according to a report recently issued by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, while obesity rates have significantly slowed in many nations, at home, the rate of obesity continues to rise 4-5% per year—we are officially THE country with the highest incidence of obesity! Which translates to roughly 24 million people with Type 2 Diabetes (many of whom don’t even know they have the disease). And as hard as we “try” to do something about it, the bottom line is that we are swimming upstream.
Sadly, a large part of the food industry continues to add insult to injury. Let’s talk super sized sugary drinks for example. In September, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health determined that greater consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is linked with greater genetic susceptibility to high body mass index and increased risk of obesity. In other words, sugary drinks (whether super-size or not) are a wastebasket for out waistlines and something has to be done about them.
Kudos to Mayor Michael Bloomberg who passed a groundbreaking policy that restricts the sale of super-size sugary drinks in NYC. Someone had to take a stand! What I find quite fascinating is that businesses and beverage groups are suing the NYC Soda Ban. Don’t these folks know that their sugary shit is making us sick? I know, free choice. But we are in a public health crisis so let’s call Bloomberg’s policy necessary intervention.
Hey peeps, if you don’t already know this, Type 2 Diabetes is pretty much preventable if we eat well and are active. And if diagnosed, it is manageable and even reversible through diet and exercise. So here are some practical suggestions if you find yourself en route to a diabetes disaster. The FIRST thing you must do is seek support of a qualified and credible nutrition (or medical) professional who can offer ongoing guidance and care. And here are some basic tips to get started on your own:
- Keep a food diary for one week so you can take a close look at what you are actually eating (many of us are unconscious eaters).
- Go through the diary and identify the following:
- Sugary drinks (including “diet” drinks)
- Hot beverages with added sweeteners
- Sugary snacks including candy, cookies, cakes and even those “health food power bars”
- Sauces and marinades (they usually have lots of sugar)
- Pasta, white potatoes, white rice
- Limit or remove the above listed foods and replace with:
- Unsweetened or slightly sweetened (naturally versus superficially) beverages; best to be in control of how much sweet you put in your own liquids
- Snack options including vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, low-fat unsweetened yogurt (you can add your own sweetener here) and fresh soup
- Always ask for sauce (or dressing) on the side if you are out to dinner (so you can control amount that goes in your food); if cooking at home, marinate and “dress” with simplicity (oil, vinegar, citrus, soy sauce)
- If pasta is a must, limit portion and eat with protein such as fish or chicken; go for whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa and barley; choose sweet potatoes over white (yes, they have less sugar)
- Food combining is essential. Meaning, mix carbohydrate with protein and fat at every meal and snack
- Eat 5-6 small meals per day
- Exercise regularly
Thanks SNL for making me laugh and inspiring me to write about diabetes with a humorous yet educational spin! And readers, I urge you to watch Tech Talk if you want a good laugh. We can all use one in the wake of Sandy.