“My doctor told me that I have Impaired Glucose Tolerance, what does that mean and what can I do about it?”
If you have just found out that you have Impaired Glucose Tolerance (IGT), otherwise known as pre-diabetes, or even if you have known for a while, you are one of the very lucky ones!
Catching that “touch of sugar” early means there are ways you can reverse it, and prevent or delay the development of diabetes.
Learn about what IGT is, what causes it, and how to manage it here:
What is IGT?
To break it down in the simplest terms, IGT is when your body has just started to have difficulties in processing sugar in your body, and so the amount of sugar in your blood can sometimes be little higher than normal.
Why does it happen?
It occurs because your body has become slightly resistant to the hormone insulin. Insulin acts like a lock and key mechanism, allowing the sugar in your blood to be let into the cells of your brain, heart, muscles, organs, to be used for energy.
In the same way that your first cup of coffee may have sent you into a shaking, jittery, hyper-alert state for a good 24 hours, if you’ve been drinking a few cups of coffee for years, your body will have developed a tolerance to it, and one cup of coffee won’t have nearly the same impact on your body.
If your own insulin isn’t having the same effect on the cells in your body as it used to, more sugar will be left circulating in your bloodstream.
What causes it?
It’s not 100% understood why our bodies can become resistant to insulin, there is certainly a genetic component, but the two major factors we know are linked to developing IGT are carrying excess weight (especially around the abdominal area) and physical inactivity.
Why are higher blood sugars a problem?
IGT is a precursor to Type 2 Diabetes, so you can view an IGT diagnosis as a fantastic opportunity to make some lifestyle changes which can delay or even prevent the development of diabetes.
Many people are not aware their blood sugars are elevated until they have developed symptoms (such as excessive thirst or hunger, fatigue, dizziness or problems with vision), at which point they may have been diabetic for several years.
In this time, the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin may have been become irreversibly damaged, and so not only is your body resistant to the action of insulin but it’s now also incapable of producing enough insulin to process the sugar in our bloodstream.
Considering that sugar, is the fuel our organs and muscles (especially our brains) primarily run on, not to mention all the health risks that come with prolonged high blood sugar levels, type 2 diabetes is certainly something we should aim to prevent.
So where does this sugar in our blood come from?
Are we just eating too much cake and chocolate? Not so much.
Sugar, or glucose, is the end result of the digestion of carbohydrates. Apart from meat, eggs, nuts, and a few non-starchy vegetables, most foods we eat contain some quantity of carbohydrate.
Which is actually a good thing, as it’s our main and most efficient energy source.
The issue of high blood glucose in IGT occurs generally in two situations.
1: When you’ve eaten a high glycemic index (GI) food:
A type of carbohydrate that is very quickly digested, and so a large sugar load is deposited into your blood stream from your gastrointestinal tract all at once.
High GI carbs include things like white bread, white rice, and simple sugars. Even a relatively small quantity can elevate blood glucose levels because of how quickly it enters your blood stream all at once.
2: You’ve eaten a large quantity of carbohydrate:
You may have chosen the “good” low GI type of carbohydrate (with a GI value of 55 or less) which is digested slowly and therefore enters your bloodstream gradually over a longer period of time. Good work! But… if you have had a large quantity of this carbohydrate, say a giant bowl of pasta, your blood sugars will still become elevated.
What do we aim for then?
Choosing low GI carbohydrates in moderate portions, e.g. two slices of bread rather than four, one cup of cooked pasta rather than a salad bowl full, a quarter of your plate of low GI rice rather than a mountain. Have them evenly spaced throughout the day, three meals a day minimum with a small snack such as a piece of fruit in between.
Secondly, we want to make some lifestyle changes that help to gradually bring your weight down if you are overweight. Even a 5kg weight loss will produce incredible health benefits, so don’t get disheartened if your ideal healthy weight seems out of reach.
Lastly, get moving! Start off small- park your car 5 mins away from work and walk in from there. Take the stairs. Become a clean freak at home- vacuum daily, scrub those showers. Start small and gradually increase things over time, choose activities you will enjoy and can see yourself maintaining long term, and that are appropriate for your fitness level.
Do you really want to reverse your Impaired Glucose Tolerance?
You have an opportunity right now that many people would be extremely envious of, the chance to reverse your insulin resistance, potentially preventing diabetes, to change your habits and live a life where your health and happiness is your top priority.
Your carbohydrate intake is only one element in your lifestyle change journey.
Being in the right mindset for change, and understanding not only the reasons why you have failed at getting healthy in the past, but also having strategies to stay on track in the future is vitally important.
Having the knowledge of nutrition and portions, as well as knowing how you can eat healthy foods that you enjoy (without having to cook elaborate meals three times a day) or spend a fortune on expensive ingredients will prevent you developing diet burnout.
Lastly, knowing how to exercise safely and effectively, how to work around any old injuries or pains, and what types of workouts you really enjoy will bring about better energy levels and health benefits than you could have ever imagined.
This winning combination what has made us Australia’s No. 1 Weight Loss and Fitness Retreat. Our proven track record shows that hundreds of our guests just like you have not only lost their weight, improved their blood sugars, and made their doctors very happy, but learned how to make lasting lifestyle changes for health. No fads, no gimmicks, no diets.
Find out about what makes our program different here. Learn what a typical day at our Sydney Central Coast & Torquay, VIC retreats is like. See what our guests had to say about their time with us here.
All shapes, sizes, ages and fitness levels are welcome, and results are 100% guaranteed. If you still want to find out more please don’t hesitate to talk to us about any questions or concerns you may have. Call 1300 949 144 or enquire online.
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