Are your lev­els too high?

New Zealand Fitness - - IN THIS ISSUE - By Lor­raine Thom­son

New Zealan­ders make up the third largest na­tion­al­ity in terms of be­ing over-weight and obese, be­hind the US and Mex­ico. A re­cent na­tional health sur­vey shows nearly one in three of the pop­u­la­tion is over­weight. Rates of obe­sity are high­est in the 45 to 65 age group and par­tic­u­larly among New Zealand’s Maori and Pacific Is­land pop­u­la­tion.

The sur­vey says ex­cess weight is a lead­ing cause of a num­ber of health con­di­tions, in­clud­ing type-two di­a­betes, car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­eases and some types of cancer.

Star­tling facts, but the good news is, there is an an­swer.

In New Zealand on a re­cent visit, Bri­tish­based Dr Michael Mosley [the au­thor of the 5:2 Fast Diet] was pro­mot­ing his new re­search and his lat­est book, The Eight Week

Blood Sugar Diet.

Blood sugar lev­els, he says, are very se­ri­ous and strictly as­so­ci­ated with be­ing over-weight and obese.

“We have seen in New Zealand a dou­bling in type two di­a­betes in the last decade. Pre-di­a­bet­ics are in­creas­ing too. There are at least two pre-di­a­bet­ics for ev­ery di­a­betic. Well over one third of the New Zealand adult pop­u­la­tion is di­a­betic or pre-di­a­betic.”

Type two di­a­betes is late on­set and strongly as­so­ci­ated with ab­dom­i­nal fat and re­sponds to life­style; whereas type one is pri­mar­ily ge­netic and needs med­i­ca­tion.

“This is a world­wide catas­tro­phe un­fold­ing – a world­wide un­prece­dented epi­demic. Be­ing over-weight and obese is killing more peo­ple world­wide than in­fec­tions, dis­eases and mal­nu­tri­tion.”

Most peo­ple, how­ever, are not aware of what their blood sugar lev­els are or how this is stop­ping them lose weight.

“Some peo­ple find them­selves hun­gry all the time.”

In the 1980s there was an ex­plo­sion of obe­sity fol­low­ing guide­lines to eat low fat. In­stead peo­ple ate lots of sug­ary car­bo­hy­drates that trig­gered an in­crease in over-weight peo­ple. Peo­ple also be­came in­creas­ingly seden­tary.

“Weight gain is pri­mar­ily driven by what we eat. The mod­ern diet of sug­ary carbs and low good-qual­ity pro­tein and fats, just pile on the weight. Our di­ets are just full of junk.”

Dr Mosley de­scribes the break­fast he re­ceived on a re­cent flight to Syd­ney. It was low fat yo­ghurt, cran­ber­ries, gra­nola and or­ange juice. There were 20 tea­spoons of sugar in that break­fast!

“It seemed plau­si­ble that fat makes you fat. Yet a low fat diet doesn’t ap­pear to work for most peo­ple.”

For those who think there blood sugar lev­els are not where they should be, Dr Mosley rec­om­mends:

1. Mea­sure your ab­dom­i­nal fat. If your waist is more than 35 inches, then you are at in­creased risk.

2. Take a blood sugar test [fin­ger prick test from your phar­macy]. 3. Lose that ab­dom­i­nal fat and lose it fast. Those tak­ing up The Eight-Week Blood Sugar Diet can ex­pect to lose on av­er­age 15kg. This in­volves eating 800 calo­ries

a day for eight weeks. 4. Ex­er­cise is not an ef­fec­tive way to lose weight, but it is a good way to keep weight off. [ To burn a kilo of fat you have to run 120km.] Ex­er­cise equip­ment in gyms that mea­sure calo­ries burnt, ac­cord­ing to Dr Mosley, are wildly in­ac­cu­rate.

“If you eat a 480 calo­rie muf­fin, you would have to run 8km to burn it off.”

Although it can be chal­leng­ing to re­verse type-two di­a­betes, Dr Mosley says it is pos­si­ble.

“You first need to lose 10 to 15 per cent of body weight – largely ab­dom­i­nal fat.”

The dis­ease, he says, is hor­ri­ble – cut­ting your life ex­pectancy by ten years. It is the num­ber one cause in New Zealand of pre­ventable blind­ness and limb am­pu­ta­tion.

“In the UK, 7,000 limbs are cut off each year be­cause of type two di­a­betes. It dam­ages your ar­ter­ies and ev­ery other sys­tem in your body. Doc­tors tell you it is ir­re­versible, but it is sim­ply not true.”

Dr Mosley knows this from first­hand ex­pe­ri­ence.

“A few years ago I was di­ag­nosed as a type two di­a­betic – my blood sugar was out of con­trol. I then lost 10kg over eight weeks, which re­versed my di­a­betes. And I have found it easy to keep it off.”

Los­ing weight can be a case of fight­ing in­sulin re­sis­tance – when fat and glu­cose goes into your fat cells, in­stead of your mus­cle cells – of­ten as a re­sult of poor diet and seden­tari­ness.

Blood sugar lev­els are mea­sured in mil­limoles per litre (mmol/L) and you should have a mea­sure­ment of five mmols/L, with four be­ing bet­ter. Pre-di­a­bet­ics have a read­ing of six. If you have above seven, you will be type two di­a­betic. The read­ing needs to be taken af­ter not eating for ten to 12 hours.

Dr Mosley does not ad­vo­cate eating lots of small meals. Snack­ing, he says, is ter­ri­ble. He has seen the big­gest im­prove­ments in diet from peo­ple who eat two larger meals [break­fast and lunch] with a smaller evening meal.

He rec­om­mends a Mediter­ranean diet of lower carbs.

“You want to be eating olive oil, nuts, veg­eta­bles and good qual­ity pro­tein [oily fish and lean meat].

For those who give choco­lates, al­co­hol and cakes as birth­day gifts and of­fice shouts, Dr Mosley sug­gests re­think­ing this – in­stead find­ing gifts that do not raise blood sugar lev­els that ad­versely af­fect the re­cip­i­ent’s health.

“The mod­ern diet of sug­ary carbs and low on good qual­ity pro­tein and fats, just piles on the weight. Our di­ets are full of junk.”

Dr Mosley rec­om­mends a Mediter­ranean diet that in­cludes olive oil, nuts,

veg­eta­bles and good qual­ity pro­tein [oily fish

or lean meat].

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