How to stick to those good intentions
“I’m going to do more sport in the new year.“ Hardly any resolution is made more frequently than this one after the calorie-filled Christmas holidays – and hardly one that is broken as frequently. A team headed by Prof. Wolfgang Schlicht from the Institute for Sport and Movement Science at the University of Stuttgart are investigating behaviour techniques in the framework of the project “PREVIEW“ with which the physical activity behaviour can be changed in the long term.
The objective of the consortium with 15 partners from eleven nations is to identify those contents of nutrition and physical activity that could prevent the illness breaking out at an early stage in people in danger of becoming diabetic. The recommendations not only help potential diabetic patients but all those intending to live a healthier lifestyle in the new year.
If your trousers feel tight after too many portions of roast goose and too many biscuits, it is not only an aesthetic problem: people who are overweight and have body fat around the abdominal area bear a particularly high risk of becoming ill with type 2 diabetes. As well as massive discomfort, the consequences include serious concomitant diseases of the heart, the kidneys, the eyes, venous occlusions in the extremities up to disabilities or premature death. In Germany almost half of the adult population are overweight, including an increasing number of children. 15 to 20 percent are even considered to be clinically overweight or obese.
Along with a healthy diet, it is physical activity above all that contributes towards reducing the risk of diabetes.
Since intensive training not only sees the pounds drop off but even increases the insulin sensitivity of the muscle cells. These then react to even a low dosage of insulin so that the pancreas is spared and remains functional for a longer period. Yet many people find it hard to vanquish their inner temptation and to change their physical activity behaviour in the long term after an initial burst of motivation. In order to counter obstacles, techniques to change behaviour based on evidence (i.e. based on empirical evidence) were compiled and recorded in a manual.
Making a contract with yourself
Those who want to stay the course with their good intentions in the long term, according to the advice of the scientists, should first make a contract with themselves that records in writing the intentions and objectives but also the necessary resources and the period.
The next step should test which activity opportunities exist in front of their own front doors and which ones match their natures and preferences. “When-then” sentences help to put the good intentions into practice, such as, for example “When I get home on Monday evening, then I’ll go for a walk for half an hour”, preferably also recorded in writing. The same procedure can also be used with predictable barriers such as “If it rains on Monday evening, I’ll do half an hour of keep fit in the living room instead“.
Documenting what you have already achieved is motivating and also serves as feedback for the targets previously set. And last but not least it is recommendable to look for support in the form of a buddy with whom you can do physical and sporting activities together.
The manual in which the above techniques on changing behaviour are also recorded is initially geared to the consultants in the study centres who accompany 2,500 participants at eight locations worldwide over a period of three years and who are trained for this in two workshops. Moreover, the Stuttgart scientists analyse the personal, social, cultural and environmental factors that could favour or obstruct the success of the study. Examples of such factors are faith in yourself, individually dealing with difficult or negative situations or dealing with temptations, such as sweets.
 PREVIEW – Prevention of diabetes In Europe and around the World
Research presented at the International Federation of Fertility Societies/American Society for Reproductive Medicine meeting illustrated data that adding cinnamon to their diet can improve menstrual cyclicity in women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).
Previous research has shown that the use of cinnamon can reduce insulin resistance in women with PCOS. In this study, researchers from Columbia University enrolled 45 women with PCOS into a research trial. The women who completed the 6 month trial and who received the cinnamon had more regular menstrual cycles than women who were given placebo.
The cinnamon group had 3.82 menstrual cycles during the 6 month trial, while women in the control group only had 2.2 cycles. Two of the women in the treatment group reported spontaneous pregnancies during the trial.
“Though small, this rather elegant study shows that cinnamon may be an effective and inexpensive treatment for PCOS patients,” said Steven T. Nakajima, MD, President of the Society for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility.
By Eduardo Castro, MD
Type 2 diabetes is an epidemic. It used to be called Adult Onset Diabetes, but so many children now have this form of diabetes that it made no sense to call it an adult illness.
Briefly, diabetics have high levels of glucose in their blood. Type I diabetics do not produce insulin while Type 2 diabetics’ tissues become resistant to insulin. Insulin is the hormone produced in the pancreas that allows glucose to enter the cells from the bloodstream. In Type 1 there is no insulin and in Type 2 there is plenty of insulin but it is not working well enough.
Type 2 diabetics are at a considerably increased risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, blindness, kidney failure, and Alzheimer’s disease. Type 2 diabetics fill intensive care unit beds and get most of the bypass surgeries, kidney transplants, and amputations that are done each year.
One would think that the medical establishment would give considerable thought to treating this major killer and mammoth drain of health care dollars. But that does not appear to be the case.
Conventional medicine treats Type 2 diabetes the same way they treat Type 1: a disease of elevated glucose levels. That is only half of the picture. Indeed, elevated glucose levels must be controlled or it damages tissues and leads to death. But Type 2 diabetes is also a disease of elevated insulin levels. It is the elevated levels of insulin that cause hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, obesity, and excessive inflammation that lead to the above mentioned diseases.
Insulin resistance is caused by a diet that is too high in sugars and in carbohydrates. It can occur on a continuum anywhere from mild to severe, and it is usually progressive. The reason that insulin resistance worsens over time is that one’s pancreas will keep secreting insulin if glucose levels are elevated. As will be discussed in Part II, the greater the insulin level, the more the body becomes resistant to its effects. But that means that more and more insulin must be produced to bring glucose levels down.
A person is diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes when the maximum amount of insulin production does not lower blood glucose sufficiently.
Anyone with insulin resistance has elevated insulin levels, not just Type 2 diabetics. Pre-diabetics do, and even pre-prediabetics as well.
Problems from Elevated Levels of Insulin
In addition to sending glucose into cells for energy production, insulin also directs the body to perform several other tasks:
- Make fat – especially triglycerides, but cholesterol production also increases
- Store Fat – around organs, called visceral fat (the worst fat)
- Store salt – elevates blood pressure
- Increase inflammatory activity – excessive inflammation is the hallmark of coronary/cerebrovascular/peripheral vascular artery disease, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, autism, autoimmune disease, severe allergies, and it promotes cancer and asthma; excessive inflammation drives the chronic and degenerative disease of our age
The above problems are then treated with antihypertensives, statin drugs, stents, coronary bypass surgery, gastric bypass surgery, antiinflammatory drugs, bronchodilators, Viagra-type drugs, kidney dialysis, immunosuppressive drugs, amputations, and, of course, antidepressants.
The Biggest and Most Costly Error in Medicine in the 21st Century
As stated, conventional medicine treats Type 2 diabetes as a disease of elevated glucose levels. How are those folks treated? There are literally dozens of medications that lower blood glucose, but almost every one of the drugs do so by forcing a person’s pancreas to secrete even more insulin than it is able to do on its own, i.e., even higher insulin levels.
It is obvious that the resulting higher levels of insulin will lead to even more of the above insulin-driven processes, but that is not close to being the extent of the senselessness of the approach. The supra-physiologic levels of insulin also cause further havoc.
- Pancreatic cells that produce insulin are damaged
- The receptors on cell walls that read insulin begin to drop out
For many patients these lead to the need for injecting insulin, and because of the extreme degree of insulin resistance, the doses are not small.
The most unconscionable thing about the conventional approach to treating diabetes, however, is that Type 2 diabetes is a curable illness. As will be discussed in Part II, the body is not broken but simply attempting to respond to abnormal levels of insulin. The proper diet, exercise, one of the available diabetic drugs, specific nutrients, and time (it takes months to shift the vicious cycle of insulin resistance to a favorable cycle) lead to decreased insulin resistance. With persistence, the body’s sensitivity to insulin can improve to the point that not only is there no diabetes, but there is no insulin resistance.
There are some who have experienced so much pancreatic damage that they can only improve their condition, not cure, but they are in the distinct minority.
Blunder . . . or Ignoring the Obvious?
There is not a physician in the trenches treating Type 2 diabetes that can be held in any way accountable. The tools they are provided with in their training have the appearance of being the best that science has to offer: drugs that reduce symptoms. They are not taught how to promote health so it is not in their thinking.
On the other hand, how many corporate leaders, hospital CEOs, and junk food producers would rejoice in solving the Type 2 diabetes epidemic?
About Dr. Castro
Eduardo Castro, M.D. is the owner and Medical Director for the Mount Rogers Clinic in Troutdale, VA where he has worked for twenty years. Dr. Castro is the co-author of two books on neurofeedback with Robert Hill, PhD, Getting Rid of Ritalin and Healing Young Brains. He has just released his new book When Diets Work: Overcoming Fat Loss Resistance. For more information please visit: www.whendietswork.com