Saturday, December 31, 2011


If someone you love has ever struggled with the scourge of diabetes, you
know what a devastating disease it can be. In the year 2000, diabetes was the
sixth leading cause of death in the United States. But chances are that this demonic
disorder probably contributes to many more deaths; it’s a leading cause
of heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke, and its other complications include
blindness, amputation, impotence, and nerve damage. It’s also highly
preventable—and the Abs Diet and the Abs Diet Workout are near-perfect
Diabetes works like this: Your digestive system turns brunch into glucose—
the form of sugar your body uses for energy—and sends it into the bloodstream.
When the glucose hits, your pancreas—a large gland located near
your stomach—produces insulin, a hormone, and sends that into the
bloodstream as well. Insulin is your body’s air traffic controller: It takes
command of all your glucose and directs it into your cells, where it can be
used for rebuilding muscle, for keeping your heart pumping and your brain
thinking, or for doing the macarena (if you’re the type to do the macarena,
that is).
But over time, bad health habits can take a toll on your flight command
center. Overeating, particularly eating high–glycemic index foods, floods
your body with massive amounts of glucose time and time again. Like any
air traffic controller, insulin can become overwhelmed when it’s asked to
do too much all at one time, and eventually, it burns out. Insulin loses its
ability to tell cells how to properly utilize the glucose in your blood—a
condition known as insulin resistance. After several years, the pancreas gets
fed up with producing all that ineffective insulin and begins to produce less
than you need. This is called type 2, or adult-onset, diabetes. (Given that
poor diet is the major risk factor, it’s no surprise that 80 percent of people
with type 2 diabetes are overweight.) Glucose builds up in the blood,
overflows into the urine, and passes out of the body. Thus, the body loses
its main source of fuel even though the blood contains large amounts of
Two bad things happen: First, you start to lose energy, and your body starts to
have trouble maintaining itself. You feel fatigue and unusual thirst, and you
begin losing weight for no apparent reason; you get sick more often, and injuries
are slow to heal, because your body is losing its ability to maintain itself.
Second, the sugar that is hanging around in your blood begins to damage the
tiny blood vessels and nerves throughout your body, particularly in your ex-
B U R N F A T D A Y A N D N I G H T 51
tremeties and vital organs. Blindness, impotence, numbness, and heart
damage ensue.
But diabetes is a relatively preventable disease. Exercising and eating right
are the two best ways to manage it—and what a coincidence, that’s just what
this book is intended to teach you to do. So adopt the principles of the Abs
Diet and the Abs Diet Workout, and while you’re at it, consider these additional
Get mushy. Oatmeal is high in soluble fiber, which may decrease your risk of
heart disease, some cancers, diverticulitis, and diabetes. Mix it up: Eat oatmeal
with berries and nuts one day, and have eggs and meat another.
Climb. Yale researchers found that men with insulin resistance—a risk factor for
diabetes and heart disease—who exercised on a stairclimber for 45 minutes 4
days a week improved their sensitivity to insulin by 43 percent in 6 weeks.
Steal from the teacher. Researchers at the National Public Health Institute in
Helsinki, Finland, studied the diets of 60,000 men and women over the course
of a year and found that individuals who ate apples the most frequently were
12 percent less likely to die during the course of the study than those who
rarely bit into a McIntosh or Granny Smith. In particular, they cut their risk of
diabetes by 27 percent.
Eat the right carbs. Get to know the glycemic index, a measure of how quickly
the carbohydrates in a particular food are converted to glucose and released
into the bloodstream. In a Harvard study, men who ate foods with the lowest indexes,
like whole-wheat bread, were 37 percent less likely to develop diabetes
than those who ate high–glycemic index foods, such as white rice. (To find out
the glycemic index of your favorite foods, go to
Eat more E. In the alphabet soup of vitamins, E is the one that may prevent
the big D. When Finnish researchers evaluated the diets of 944 men, they
found that those with the highest vitamin E intake had a 22 percent lower
risk of diabetes than men with the lowest intake. Vitamin E may also prevent
the free radical damage that plays a role in the complications caused by
Start wining. In a study of 23,000 twins, researchers found that individuals
who had one or two drinks a day were up to 40 percent less likely to develop
diabetes than individuals downing less than one drink daily. Previous
research has linked alcohol consumption to increased insulin sensitivity.
Just don’t overdo the amount you drink. In a separate study, researchers
found that binge drinking may increase your risk of colorectal cancer

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