Is Your Job Putting You At Risk Of Diabetes

Getting type 2 diabetes is not as easy as catching a cold, thank God!

But if you neglect your health, you can gradually destroy your body and put you at risk of this metabolic disorder. Factors like family history, excess body weight and poor eating habits are contributors to high sugar levels and insulin resistance. Stress may seem an unlikely culprit as well, but recent studies suggests otherwise.

Stress on the job (or any kind of stress) can drive workers to take up poor lifestyle habits. These people are more likely to eat poorly, sleep late, and exercise less. Such behavior can drive a person to develop chronic diseases like diabetes.

Researchers have looked into the potential link of work stress and type 2 diabetes. According to a study published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, 5000 participants within the range of 29 to 66 years old were gathered for evaluation.


The contributors were asked to disclose their health status such as weight, smoking, and physical activity. Afterwards, each participant was assessed on his level of work stress using a detailed questionnaire. A follow-up about their health status was made after an average of 13 years.

This research found that the adults who were reported to have the highest stress levels had a 63% risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The category of people most affected by these results were men that lived on their own and had very high levels of stress.

Another culprit that plays an integral role in developing this disease is the hormone called cortisol – the substance that helps regulate blood sugar levels in your body. Stress levels also drive cortisol to spike up and affect the regulation of your blood sugar.

Past research about high levels of cortisol found links to other health problems like coronary diseases and the same connection has been found with recent studies on diabetes.

What Can You Do About It?

Work-related stress is a reality and this could be inevitable. If you feel like you have so much on your plate at work, below are some stress-relieving strategies you can try to stay healthy.


Organization is a key for achieving your goals in a timely manner. You can stay organized by keeping track of your projects and deadlines with an organizer or a mobile phone app.

If you are dealing with large projects, break them up into smaller tasks. Start your day with a to-do list and end it by crossing out what was accomplished within that day.

Never Procrastinate

A to-do list is a great starter for the day, but you won’t accomplish anything if you do not assign a timeline for each task. One method in avoiding procrastination is by tracking the hours allocated per task. Seeing that there is still time to finish a project can help you get to work and not waste time.

Avoid Taking Too Much Load

To avoid stress, know your limits. Do not overcommit to certain projects that you know you will not finish on time. If no one else can help you out on the task given to you, make sure to let your superiors know the timeline that they can expect for the finished work.

Limit Interruptions

If you are getting interrupted all the time by colleagues or other external distractions, try to address these issues before you start your duties. Ask your office mates to give you some block of time so as not to get disturbed. If there are other factors that are out of your hands, talk to your superiors about it.

Make Time

This means if there is no work left, leave the office on time. If you work at home, avoid answering business phone calls or checking work-related emails outside working hours. Make time for resting, to be with your family and do the hobbies you love.

Making a living from an office job can usually chain you to your computer and desk the entire day. To help reverse the negative effects of physical inactivity, try alternate strategies to keep you off of your seat.

Avoid sitting for prolonged periods of time. If you can work on a standing desk, go ahead and do it. Take the stairs instead of the elevator and walk briskly whenever you can. And if it is feasible, propose a walking conference.

To stay healthy, you still need to get at least 75 minutes of vigorous exercise and 2 hours and 30 minutes for moderate workouts each week. Try to get off from work on time and allot a daily exercise routine to stay fit to avoid diabetes.

This blog post was sponsored by Katrina Rice.

There Is A Reason You Can’t Lose Weight

When a medical doctor sits across from an overweight person they are frequently dismayed by their patient’s blood work, their triglycerides, their fasting glucose numbers, their elevated insulin, the doctor doesn’t understand why, despite repeated conversations, their patients is coming back year after year, only heavier. When I sit across from an overweight person, what dismays me more is that a smart, capable, determined person has been tricked into thinking less of themselves—by their own brain.


I’m a doctor of brain and cognitive science. More than that I’m a formerly obese person. And nothing makes me madder than the myth that people are overweight because they’re lazy, or lack willpower.  When I was overweight I wanted desperately to get thin. And I can honestly say that the only thing I worked harder at was getting my PhD. Trying to control my eating took an enormous amount of my energy and resources. I threw myself into each new diet attempt, convinced that THIS time it was going to work.  I wish I’d known then what I know now: that only 1% of people actively trying to lose weight hit their goal and maintain it. 1%.  Would you start college if you only had a 1% chance of finishing? And yet millions of Americans are making just such a proposition over and over and over again, year after year, and no one thinks it’s weird.  Well, I thought it was weird. So after I got thin I turned all my academic attention to figuring out what I had done this last time that was different than anything I had ever tried before. The difference was: brain science.

The fact is that a brain hijacked by a diet high in sugar and flour blocks weight loss. It does this in three ways.

First, sugar and flour raise baseline insulin levels far past what our bodies were designed to handle. The elevated insulin not only sets us up for diabetes, but it turns out its blocking the brain from recognizing a critical hormone: leptin. Leptin is the hormone that signals to the brain that you are full and need to get moving. Without it we sit on the couch and eat and never feel full.

Second, after eating the average American amount of sugar for just three weeks, 22 teaspoons, the brain’s pleasure receptors do something called “down-regulating.” Essentially, to cope with the excessive stimulation, the brain takes some of its receptors offline. Meaning, to feel the same amount of pleasure next time, you’ll need to eat more sugar. The brain responds by turning off more receptors. And soon you have exactly the same cycle that the brain moves through to cope with drugs or alcohol. In fact the brains of obese people are frequently more down-regulated than the brains of those addicted to cocaine.  So they aren’t eating to feel good, they’re eating to try to feel normal.

Source: @Alamy stock photo

Third, willpower isn’t a dimension of your personality, something some people are born with and others simply lack. Willpower is a cognitive function and we all have about the same amount, fifteen minutes, give or take. And every day activities, like focusing at work, and keeping your patience in carpool, all deplete it. Meaning any successful diet MUST expect that your willpower will fail AT LEAST once a day and work anyway.

For the last two years I’ve been working with people around the world, helping them lose weight, but, more importantly, helping them keep it off for life. And the best part, beyond hearing that they’re off their statins and their cholesterol drugs, is hearing how their self-perception has healed.  Because when your brain overrides your best intentions time and time again you start to believe the worst about yourself. But it’s not true. Once the brain heals making those choices you want to be making becomes effortless. And your intentions and actions come into alignment.

From there you can do anything.

Susan Peirce Thompson, Ph.D., is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Rochester and an expert in the psychology of eating. She is President of the Institute for Sustainable Weight Loss and CEO of Bright Line Eating Solutions, a company dedicated to sharing the psychology and neuroscience of sustainable weight loss and helping people live Happy, Thin, and Free.

Examining the Link Between Diabetes, Autoimmunity and Heart Disease for American Heart Month

As medical science advances, we are learning more about the links between different individual diseases. In recognition of American Heart Month in February, I’d like to draw attention to some largely unknown facts about heart disease and its indirect link to autoimmune disease. In spite of pharmaceutical and technological medical advances, heart disease has continued to rank as the leading cause of death in the United States for several decades. Although we associate high cholesterol, obesity, high blood pressure and smoking as some of the most common factors leading to cardiovascular complications, there are actually hundreds of varying risk factors that can lead to heart disease, including an entirely different disease: diabetes.

Let’s first look at a brief but noteworthy chronological history of diabetes and its classification as an immune-mediated disease:

  • The term diabete was first recorded in an English medical text written around 1425.
  • It wasn’t until over 300 years later, in 1776, that it was confirmed diabetes was an issue of an excess amount of a certain kind of sugar (in the urine).
  • Just over 100 years later, in 1889, the role of the pancreas in diabetes was discovered.
  • Shortly after, in 1910, it was found that diabetes resulted from a lack of insulin.
  • In 1922, the first person received an insulin injection for the treatment of diabetes.
  • Types 1 and 2 diabetes were differentiated in 1936.
  • Autoimmunity was discovered in the 1950s.
  • Not until the mid 1970s was it recognized that diabetes can have an autoimmune basis.

Medical research has linked several diseases as being immune-mediated years after the original discovery of such diseases. Although this discovery was made almost 40 years ago, many people are still unaware that all types of diabetes can have an autoimmune component.


Now let’s look at how diabetes is linked to heart disease. Caused by a hardening of the arteries or a blocking of the blood vessels that go to your heart, people with diabetes are more than twice as likely to suffer a heart attack than those without (American Diabetes Association). In fact, two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke, also classified as cardiovascular disease. Perhaps even more alarming is the threat that diabetes can cause nerve damage, sometimes making heart attacks painless or silent.

Autoimmune diabetes is caused when the body’s immune system begins attacking the beta cells that produce insulin in the pancreas. When insulin levels are down, the amount of glucose in the blood increases over time. High blood glucose levels can damage nerves and lead to increased deposits of fatty materials on the insides of the blood vessels. Complications such as poor blood flow, decreased oxygen in the blood stream, and the clogging and hardening of blood vessels can ultimately lead to two types of cardiovascular disease: coronary artery disease, responsible for heart attacks or failure, and cerebral vascular disease, leading to strokes.

And there you have it – a three-way link between Diabetes, Autoimmune Disease and Heart Disease. So, are there preventative measures that diabetics can take to prevent heart attacks and control autoimmune reactivity? Prevention of heart attacks for diabetics is parallel to that of non-diabetics, but with one very important additional measure – monitoring and regulating your blood sugar and insulin levels. Cyrex Laboratories, a clinical lab that specializes in functional immunology and autoimmunity, offers the “Array 6” – Diabetes Autoimmune Reactivity Screen. Array 6 assists in the early detection of autoimmune processes of Type 1 Diabetes, impaired blood sugar metabolism and Metabolic Syndrome, and also monitors the effectiveness of related treatment protocols.

As is always the case, it is recommended to schedule regular visits with your medical practitioner and specialists. Proper administration of medications can be vital to prevention of heart disease. In addition to insulin injections for diabetics, there are medications to aid in regulating blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol, which could all be vital to prevention of heart disease.

Dr. Chad Larson, NMD, DC, CCN, CSCS, Advisor and Consultant on Clinical Consulting Team for Cyrex Laboratories. Dr. Larson holds a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine degree from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Southern California University of Health Sciences. He is a Certified Clinical Nutritionist and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He particularly pursues advanced developments in the fields of endocrinology, orthopedics, sports medicine, and environmentally-induced chronic disease.

Understanding the Difference Between Types of Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates can seem confusing – some are considered “good” while others are deemed “bad.”

Dr. Neal Malik, MPH, RDN, CHES, EP-C, a core faculty member at the School of Natural Health Arts & Sciences at Bastyr University in California, explains that processed carbohydrates (sometimes called refined carbohydrates) are lacking fiber, as well as many important nutrients such vitamins and minerals. Consuming these processed carbohydrates may lead to a spike in blood sugar, and is often associated with a number of chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

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It’s tough for even the most health conscious eaters to know for sure which carbohydrates to avoid, and which can have great health benefits. Dr. Malik breaks it down below:

  • DO incorporate whole grains into your diet. These include whole grain breads, pastas, cereals, brown or wild rice and quinoa. They are minimally processed and therefore provide more nutrients and fiber than their refined counterparts.
  • DON’T drink soda. Most people forget that sodas are full of carbohydrates. They’re main ingredient is sugar, which is an extremely processed carb!
  • DO eat lots of beans and legumes. These foods contain plenty of fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals. They can also increase feelings of satiety, helping you feel fuller for longer.
  • DON’T sip on fruit juice. One whole orange is not equal to one glass of orange juice, so you are getting several times the recommended serving amount without the satiety. Even 100% fruit juice contains fructose (a sugar and therefore carbohydrate) which is absorbed and processed by the body quicker than if one were to eat a whole fruit.
  • DO eat sweet potatoes. The bright orange color signifies that these carbohydrates are a wonderful source of Vitamin A and fiber.

Additional Reading

Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes.

The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living by Jeff Volek, PhD, Stephen Phimmey, MD

The Real Value of Understanding Glycemic Load

The new book, Always Hungry?, by David Ludwig, MD, PhD, now a number one New York Times best seller, brings scientific-backed research into the ever-changing landscape of diets and health. Having just read the book, I feel like it’s something that everyone should read at some point to help get a handle on this evolving field where we are constantly inundated with low carb/paleo/high protein/low-fat diets and in turn, have a hard time sifting through it all. Dr. Ludwig is an endocrinologist and researcher from Boston who gets it and explains things from the inside out in regard to how your body processes the food you consume.

It seems like I’m always talking to someone about monitoring their added sugar intake during the day. To really get the picture you need to understand the importance of what the glycemic index and especially the glycemic load are all about. The glycemic index is a measure of the effects of carbohydrates in food on blood sugar levels. The glycemic load on the other hand is really what you should consider because it is based on the specific quantity of carbohydrate content that you consume. According to Dr. Ludwig, glycemic index should be thought of as how foods rank in a laboratory setting, whereas glycemic load applies more “directly to a real-life setting.” Consuming foods that have a high glycemic index and load results in higher and more rapid increases in blood sugar (glucose) levels than when you consume low-glycemic foods. Here is a list of foods to give you an idea of what I’m talking about.

Glycemic Load = Glycemic Index (%) x grams of Carbohydrate per serving  

Consuming carbohydrates that have a low glycemic index and load in addition to calculating carbohydrate intake would produce the most stable blood sugar levels. This is important for you to know because when the opposite occurs and the glycemic load is high following a meal or snack your blood sugar levels spike and insulin, which is a hormone, is released from the pancreas.

“But insulin’s actions extend well beyond blood sugar control, to how all calories flow throughout the body.” Ludwig calls insulin the ultimate “fat cell fertilizer” and high rates of insulin in the body eventually cause weight gain.

If this is repeated often during a day and over long periods of time, you increase your chances of gaining body fat and increase your risk of diabetes and other forms of cancer. A review of six randomized controlled trials determined that overweight or obese individuals who followed a low-glycemic index/load diet experienced greater weight loss than individuals on a comparison diet that was a high-glycemic index diet or an energy-restricted, low-fat diet (1). A second major analysis, also found in Ludwig’s book, found that people with high-GI diets had a a 20 percent increased risk for getting diabetes compared to those with low-GI diets (2).

The glycemic load is one factor you should consider as part of your diet in addition to fiber content and percentage of carbs/fat/protein that make up your diet.

The first step in change is becoming aware of the situation and the more you read food labels and watch your glycemic load – the healthier you will become!


Thomas DE, Elliott EJ, Baur L. Low glycaemic index or low glycaemic load diets for overweight and obesity. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2007; (3):CD005105.

Bhupathiraju SN, et al., Glycemic index, glycemic load, and risk of type 2 diabetes: results from 3 largeUS cohorts and an updated meta-analysis. AJCN 2014, 100(1):218-232.

The Effects of Diabetes on the Body

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After you eat or drink, your body breaks down the sugars in your blood and turns it into glucose. The glucose travels through your bloodstream and provides your body with energy. To accomplish this, your pancreas needs to produce a hormone called insulin. In a person with diabetes (diabetes mellitus), the pancreas either produces too little insulin or none at all, or the insulin can’t be used effectively. This allows blood glucose levels to rise while the rest of your cells are deprived of much needed energy. This can lead to a wide variety of problems affecting nearly every part of your body.

There are two main types of diabetes. Type 1, also known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is an immune system disorder. In Type 1 diabetes, the patient’s own immune system attacks the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, destroying the ability to manufacture insulin. People with Type 1 diabetes must take insulin to live. Most people with Type 1 diabetes are diagnosed as children or young adults.

The main problem in Type 2 diabetes is the presence of what is called insulin resistance. In this sort of diabetes, the pancreas starts off robust in its production of insulin. However, cells that need energy don’t respond normally to the usual amounts of insulin. The pancreas has to produce much higher levels of the hormone in order to manage blood glucose levels. Over time, the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas can burn themselves out due to this overproduction. At this point a person with Type 2 diabetes begins to require insulin medication. However, in earlier phases of this more common type of diabetes, the illness can be effectively managed with diet, exercise, and careful monitoring of blood sugars. Some people with Type 2 diabetes may require a variety of oral medications and eventually, as described above, some will eventually need insulin.

Gestational diabetes is high blood sugar that develops during pregnancy. Most of the time, gestational diabetes can be controlled through diet and exercise, and it typically resolves after the baby is delivered.

Common symptoms of diabetes include excessive thirst, frequent urination, and sluggishness. Blood tests will reveal high sugar levels.

For the second part of this story please visit Healthline.

This post is from Healthline whose mission is to make the people of the world healthier through the power of information. They do this directly through and, and indirectly through their work with the world’s leading healthcare payors, providers, and publishers.

November is Diabetes Awareness Month

imagesNovember is Diabetes Awareness month, which happens to be the 7th leading cause of death in this country costing us, as a nation, $245 billion dollars annually. According to figures released this month by the American Diabetes Association[1], more than 29 million Americans are living with diabetes. What may be even more alarming is that about 86 million Americans age 20 and older have a condition known as pre-diabetes, which is up from 79 million in 2010. People with pre-diabetes have blood sugar levels that are higher than normal, but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes, and without lifestyle changes to improve their health, 15%-30% of people with pre-diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years.The good news is that changing certain behaviors can help.

According to diabetes expert David Katz, MD, MPH “Abundant scientific evidence shows that four simple things—not smoking, eating well, being active, and maintaining a healthy weight—play an enormous role in controlling diabetes.”

Consuming nutritious and flavorful foods including fruits, vegetables, whole grains and the right types of fats, such as those found in walnuts, are key ingredients that can help.  “People look at fat as a four letter word that results in poor health and weight gain,” states Dr. Katz.  He believes, “All dietary fat is not created equal and certain fats are essential to good health.” Walnuts happen to be the only nut with a significant source of alpha-linolenic acid, a “good” fat, with 2.5 grams of omega-3 fatty acid in every ounce.

Research led by Dr. Katz at the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center showed that consumption of a diet enriched with two ounces of walnuts per day for eight weeks significantly improved endothelial function in 24 adult participants with type-2 diabetes. The researchers compared the effects of typical diets and walnut-enriched diets on endothelial function—a measure of how well blood vessels are able to dilate and increase flow, and a powerful predictor of overall cardiovascular risk.[2] The research suggested that the nutritional properties found in walnuts could serve as a pivotal tool in the management of diabetes.

With Thanksgiving and American Diabetes Month falling in November, what better way to celebrate both than by serving up a delicious, nutritious menu. Capture the traditional flavors of the holiday without sacrificing your health by choosing from our collection of Thanksgiving walnut side dishes, including A+ Green Bean Casserole and Smart Harvest Stuffing.  As a finale to your holiday meal, treat your guests to Cranberry Pear Tartlets—a delicious and sweet ending that will be enjoyed while being nutritionally sound.



[2] Ma Y, Njike VY, Millet J, Dutt S, Doughty K, Treu JA, Katz D (2010). Effects of walnut consumption on endothelial function in type 2 diabetic subjects: a randomized controlled crossover trial. Diabetes Care. 33(2):227-32.

This is the Year to Elevate Your Health and Fitness Level

1078190_10201784686800718_635469599_nAdding a few of the following tips to your weekly exercise routine will definitely help you reach your short and long-term health and fitness goals for the new year. You need to first set a goal or two for 2014 and then go after it. The following health and fitness tips have been taken from my Twitter page under the #merryfitmas hashtag, they will continue to appear until Christmas.

  • There is no question about it – you need to be strength training 2-3 times a week. If you are not strength training…start. Population studies show that by age 50, you lose 1-2% of muscle mass per year! Check out a Koko FitClub near you.
  • One more reason why you should be hitting the weights – the Archives of Internal Med found that 150 minutes of strength training each week will reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes by 34%.
  • Have a daily and weekly goal for the number of flights of stairs climbed, preferably two at a time. Research from the Harvard Alumni Study has shown climbing at least 8 flights of stairs a day increases longevity.
  • Your goal this Holiday season is to determine a baseline in terms of the average number of steps you take over the course of 3-5 days and then add 500 steps/day until you eventually build up to 10,000 steps a day. If you need a good pedometer check out Fitbit.
  • Your goal this Holiday season is to watch your added sugar. Research shows that for every 150 cal/day/increase/sugar = 1.1% > chance in Type 2 diabetes.
  • Just two 2 weeks of reduced activity during the Holiday season = a 7% drop in cardiovascular fitness level and a 17% drop in insulin sensitivity.

Have a Happy, Healthy, Active Holiday Season!

Treating Diabetes: A Whole Body Approach

Alarming new statistics show that diabetes is on the rise around the world, spiking from 153 million affected in 1980 to 347 million affected in 2008.  Moreover, the incidence of diabetes has increased twice as much in American countries when compared to European countries.  For the past few decades, the “fix” doctors and scientists have focused on was substituting sugar for artificial sweetener, trading natural fats for chemical derivatives and prescribing drugs that cause the body to think that blood sugar levels are “within normal range.”  However, the statistics speak for themselves: these “fixes” are not working. 

slide_4Another thing many health professionals do not address is that no matter what the disease process, the whole body is affected by the disease and by trying to fight it off.  The body does not compartmentalize how it fights disease.  Chicago Healers  Practitioner Dr. Helen Lee provides alternative ways to treat diabetes that focus on the whole body, rather than fragmented areas. 

Quality of Food: Consuming foods full of artificial sweeteners and chemically derived fat substitutes should not sound healthy to anyone.  The foods are likely still over-processed and full of none of the nutrition that comes from fresh fruits and vegetables.  As a general rule, processed foods should be avoided; they do nothing but increase the level of toxic chemicals that the body needs to rid itself of.

Consumption Habits: To keep blood sugar levels regular, eating throughout the day is a great fix.  However, snacks should be fresh, healthy and not over-processed.  Food is the fuel that the body needs, but it only works if the right kind is consumed.

Stress: Stress can be a big problem in regards to diabetes.  The adrenal gland controls blood sugar levels, but it also releases a steroid called cortisol as a reaction to stress.  Cortisol is a component of the “fight or flight” response and can play a big part in the body’s fat storage and directly affect weight gain in individuals.  Think about making lifestyle changes in order to regulate stress, which will in turn help keep weight off.

Positive Mindset: A big part of keeping the body relaxed is mindset.  Thinking positively about life, situations, work, pastimes and learning how to relax are all key components to a body that works in happy harmony.

Studies continue to investigate the link of any disease to the kinds & quality of foods, lifestyle, genetic predispositions, ethnicity, etc. which may be contributing to it. Ultimately the disease process is a result of the body having to respond to or inability to respond to the many choices that have been made.  Changing your choices towards health & life enhancing choices will allow your body to follow suit.

Chicago Healers is the nation’s pioneer prescreened integrative health care network, offering a comprehensive understanding of each practitioner’s services, approach, and philosophy.  Our holistic health experts teach and advocate natural and empowered health and life choices through their practices, the media, educational events, and our website.  With close to 200 practitioners and over 300 treatment services, Chicago Healers has provided nearly 400 free educational events for Chicagoans and has been featured in 300+ TV news programs and print publications.