Anita Beckwith

Episode 108 – Are you at Risk of Diabetes? With Anita Beckwith

Episode Highlights

00:02:36 Guest’s Background
00:03:13 Why there’s a huge rise of type two diabetes
00:12:42 Eating a nutrient dense diet
00:16:22 Elements of Diet
00:20:58 What affects our dietary choices?
00:24:43 How to deal your cravings at night
00:32:03 Symptoms of Diabetes
00:34:47 Prevention of Diabetes
00:41:42 Top 5 key takeaways
00:43:31 Importance of movement

Links

Transcript

Welcome to the Fitter Healthier Dad Podcast, where you can learn how to improve your diet, lose fat and get fitter in a sustainable and fun way without spending hours in the gym. Here’s your host, Darren Kirby.

Darren: Welcome back to the podcast, guys. This is the number one podcast for men in their 40s who want to improve their health through nutrition and fitness. This is Episode 108. And on today’s episode, we’re going to be talking about the risk of diabetes and how to know if you are borderline diabetic. Joining me is Anita Beckwith, who’s a dietitian at King’s College London and who specializes in diabetes. Anita has been in this field for over 20 years and is going to help us understand diabetes and why Type two diabetes is related to lifestyle choices. But before we get into today’s episode, I want to take a moment to mention the show’s sponsors, Athletic Greens. Athletic Greens was created by its founder after years of gut health issues that left him facing a health crisis with no solutions in sight. Despite his best efforts to maintain a balanced nourished diet, Chris’s body struggled to absorb and synthesize nutrients. Chris developed athletic greens with a mission of creating a high efficacy, bioavailable and nutritionally complete supplement to help your body function as it’s supposed to. Now, as many of you know, I’m a big advocate of getting our vitamins and nutrients from our diet. But with the stresses and strains of busy lives, it’s not always possible to eat the most optimal diet. And so athletic greens for me specifically are a bit like insurance policy. It means that I can get all of the vitamins and minerals that I need even when I am busy and I’m unable to get all of the right diet choices. And so for listeners of the podcast, Athletic Greens is offering a 10 percent discount off your first order. So if you head over to athleticgreens.com/fitterhealthierdad, you can pick up your discount. Now, let’s crack into the episode.

Hi Anita thanks very much for joining me on the podcast today. How are you?

Anita: Hi, I’m good, thanks. Thanks for inviting me. It’s great to be here.

Darren: Thanks very much for taking the time out. So, Anita, for people that haven’t come across you and what you do, can you give us a bit of background into Anita and how you’ve come to where you’re at today?

Anita: Yeah, So I’m a clinical dietitian in London. I’ve been practicing now. It’s 21 years, actually. This month, I’ve realized that I qualified and finished uni so qualified as a dietician and a four year degree then and then I’ve been practicing in the NHS and have my own private practice and I’ve specialized in diabetes, particularly in the last 17 years. So. Yep, so both in the NHS and in private practice. So I’m very familiar with working with people with Type one diabetes, type two diabetes, gestational diabetes and a few others. There’s a few other less common variants that I see sometimes as well.

Darren: Yeah. Yeah. So you’ve worked with it for a long time then. And it’s interesting from my perspective, we’re only starting to see this kind of thing really being brought to the fore now. But clearly it’s been an issue for many, many years. But what do you see has been a distinct change over the last kind of 10 years? Because for me it appears there’s been a huge rise in type two.

Anita: Yeah, there’s been a rise in both actually, both Type one diabetes and type two diabetes have a genetic link. So Type one diabetes is where there’s the destruction of the cells that produce insulin. They’re called beta cells, which are situated in the pancreas. So there’s absolutely no insulin being produced. So you need to use artificial insulin replacement. So whether that’s injections or a small device called an insulin pump to replace the insulin, and there’s no other way without that. And actually this year, it’s one hundred years since we were able to use insulin in that way. People had a very poor existence. Basically without insulin, you have no metabolism, basically. So it would literally be a few days of life, really. So it’s massive what’s changed in that time. And with Type two diabetes, type two diabetes is either to do with beta cells dysfunction. So they’re the cells that produce insulin, but they’re not working properly or something called insulin resistance, which is actually where the body is producing more than enough insulin and it’s just not working effectively. So the body produces even more than it needs.

So when you were talking about sort of in the last ten years, I mean, in terms of everything in diabetes, both Type one and type two have increased. Type two has definitely increased more because there’s increased risks of and it’s associated with lifestyle factors and body weight. And we know of. Food environment and the general environment that we’re living in is becoming more convenient for us to sort of move less and eat more, and that’s not particularly an individual’s responsibility. There is some of that there. But when we look at it sort of globally in population level, there’s more dynamics there, which I can talk about in terms of government policy and how that fits with our general population. So that’s definitely affected, affected things. But in terms of managing it in those 10 years, the technologies, the types of insulin, the medications have come a long way into how we can manage it. But with that comes obviously quite a great cost to the NHS, to the society as well, with the effects of what diabetes, what diabetes causes and what comes with it.

Darren: Yeah, I mean, I heard a crazy statistic of quite a few actually, that there’s like 20 amputations done a day in the NHS due to diabetes, and there’s 16 billion a year spent in the NHS to try and manage diabetes. But there’s like 300 well over 400 million globally have type two and 350, which I think this is more of a scary statistic or prediabetic. So their blood sugars are outside the normal ranges, but they don’t they don’t know. And I think a lot of guys that I work with, you know, we all laugh and joke around the midlife spread and the dad bud and all the rest of it. But that is kind of almost like a precursor to potentially diabetes, isn’t it? Because we store a lot of fat around the middle guys and our life like you say, specifically lifestyle and access to food and the way that it’s produced is a huge problem.

Anita: Yeah, yeah. For sure. So certainly men are at higher risk. And you mentioned abdominal fat and where fat stores are Manjit and actually have that distribution more in terms of that. And then as we say, and yet activity wise, food availability wise, we’re able to access things a lot more easily and readily with less effort. And we probably saw this through lockdown. We were able to order anything and everything all the time without leaving our seats. And interestingly, with Covid, what we’ve seen is that people with diabetes have had much higher risk comorbidities. So that’s with extra effects of what’s happening with diabetes, if they have those already. And also mortality rates as well in diabetes were much higher. So a third, a third of the deaths that happen in the UK were people who had diabetes. So it’s and the effect of having high blood glucose levels, which is what diabetes is about, meant that these people had more severe forms and perhaps they needed more ICU admissions. But certainly, as you’re saying, the environment that we live in and the movement and the society we’re living in, where we are able to access things makes it harder.

And that’s a really key part, actually, when you’re mentioning those mind blowing figures and how it’s just grown and grown and grown is because we the all the campaigns that come out for looking at either obesity or diabetes and obesity, Type two diabetes is very much related with body weight. And living with a higher BMI is very much about looking at the individual making a change. But when you look at those population numbers, when you look at it as a whole you’re looking at people who aren’t haven’t all got the accessibility or money to be able to buy certain services or buy certain foods. So when you look at those stats, what I am really keen on looking at with that, and I’m part of a group called Ideal Diabetes that are a multidisciplinary group that are looking at improving a quality of care is when you look at, say, social deprivation. People who are living in a higher social deprivation area are 2.5 times more likely to develop Type two diabetes. So in a bigger scale of looking at those stats, we need to think about who are those people and where does it fit for those people and then thinking about it in terms of accessibility for everybody.

And one part is that perhaps advice isn’t tailored, particularly individually. Myself, as a dietician, we’re trying to be able to provide the support we’ve been doing for a long time for this sort of nutrition. It was sexy, really. You know, it’s very sexy nowadays, but so people understand it a little bit more and more interested, which is brilliant. But the message and the can be mixed. So if people are going say to their GP or seeing somebody, they might not be able to tailor that advice for them. And unfortunately for us as dieticians, we’re a very limited resource. So we need more funding to be able to support. To be able to provide the care. The great thing that’s happened actually and really supported three Covid is that there’s a big explosion of digital health companies coming to support either diabetes prevention, as you just mentioned, or Type two diabetes. And that’s actually been a really impressive explosion of care, really, and being able to provide that support in a timely manner. So that’s been a really positive thing. But it’s how we continue to provide that as the numbers are growing and growing, as you just described.

Darren: Yeah, yeah, I agree. And I think, you know, there’s been a complete explosion in blood glucose monitoring loads of companies that have come out now and that they’re kind of making that a little bit sexy in some ways. I actually used to type one meter last year to test myself so that I could understand what goes on. And it’s fascinating. The various different foods that change your blood sugar like coffee for me would spike my blood sugar because obviously it spikes cortisol and that has a blood sugar response. But one of the things that I wanted to ask you about, Anita, and this is just my view on what I’ve seen, and that is, you know, often there’s a common misconception that people that are overweight, it’s all you eat too much. But I don’t believe that’s the case. I believe that we have lost the understanding of what food is. And what I mean by that is that, you know, we just kind of we’re very busy in life. We’re very busy with other stuff. We go into the supermarket and we buy whatever’s on the shelf. Right, because it’s either known to us from what we’ve been brought up with in our childhood years or something that we like or it’s just we just need food. Right. And unfortunately, even with the stuff that’s healthy, when you actually take the time to look at the ingredients, it is really shocking. And I’m very troubled by this because I had this situation with my son this week, funnily enough, and he has ham and cheese sandwiches. And I bought this ham and I turned it over and I had a look and I was blown away by the amount of sugar that was in this ham and various different types of sugars. So I don’t believe that  it’s necessarily a case of people just eating too much. I think, you know, there’s a lot of work that needs to happen to raise awareness of what’s on the shelves and how eating a nutrient dense diet needs what it needs to look like. Really?

Anita: Yeah. Yeah. And I think when I was mentioning government policy, what needs to be considered is that we are thinking like the sugar tax and that actually has had quite a great effect, is thinking about actual policy. So rather than going downstream to the individual, looking upstream to the food manufacturers, how things are provided, thinking about the architecture, when you go into a supermarket like you don’t need, sweets are closed or pierrepoint. But all of these things are put there and, you know, so it’s very difficult. And, yes, it’s changing behaviors. And we know that’s very complex. But as you said, it’s looking more at the wider food industry and what goes into there. And certainly there’s definitely additives and things put into food to make them more hyper palatable and which often have more calories in them. And we actually can give signals more in parts of our brain that reward systems that will make us want to have more of those things and have that sort of dopamine release of feeling good about ourselves. And that’s something that comes with things. And as you were mentioning, it’s great if we can choose Whole Foods and we can and we have the ability to be able to do that just to try and prepare and cook things and know what’s in things for sure.

And that’s another thing that’s come about with all of this is looking at you know, one thing a lot of people do know about education. They know the education part, but it’s actually maybe the facility. So maybe it’s cooking skills. People are time poor. You just mentioned that. So how can we look at providing support for people that they’re able to choose the right foods? And still often things will still take the same amount of time as heating up? Know. I mean, yeah, it won’t make any difference. So those things are really important. Also people’s cooking facilities. So it might just be education more in that part than the actual education of the messaging of which foods to have, because a lot of people know they need to have more fruits and vegetables and also how those messages are delivered. So we’ve learned that rather than saying more fiber to somebody, you need to be saying more nuts and seeds, more whole grain. But you need to be very specific about what the messaging is. And sometimes that’s very confusing. And we just need to make it more appropriate to the types of foods that different people in different populations are having to make it more usable. And User-Friendly.

Darren: Yeah, and I think it’s like you say. Stripping it back and making it simple, because, you know, with the guys I work with, a lot of them don’t even their general kind of default response to me is I eat healthily. I suppose that can mean a whole raft of different things. And from what I see, unfortunately, the Western diet has evolved so much that is generally carbohydrate based. Now, with all the clients I work with, I keep a food diary seven days before they work with me. Okay. So I can say and I’ve yet to have this disproven, but ninety nine point nine percent of the guys I work with, more than 50 percent of their macronutrients are carbohydrates and just don’t the body needs that 100 percent. But we don’t need it in the volume in which the Western diet is about to give it in. And we need more fats and we need more protein. But I am always amazed by the amount of people that don’t know what they are. They don’t know what carbohydrates are, they don’t know what protein, and they don’t know what the right fats are, all because fats have been demonized. So it’s like staying away from fat. We shouldn’t have fat, which is not the case. And then what? Protein and carbohydrates are so, so particularly, guys, they tend not to go in the kitchen some time. So what would you say for people listening to this, how they could just start to get that level of understanding of the various different elements of a diet?

Anita: Yeah, yeah. So yeah, I think everybody, if they have the ability to be able to go into the kitchen and break things down, that that would be a great thing to do. And I’m just thinking of your audience and thinking that’s a great thing to do with children and to do with a family. So you’re all doing the same thing. And I think one of the shames of not understanding is maybe educating yourself and either that’s looking online. It could be speaking to a professional reading and understanding the difference between, yes. Carbohydrates, looking for the slower release carbohydrates that we’re talking about, blood glucose levels. So the ones that are like more whole grains. So the brown pastas, the whole grain breads, those kinds of things that are going to be more slow release, more pulses and lentils and those kinds of things as well, if possible. But Trying to introduce those into the family diet early is quite a helpful thing to do, if possible, because they start to become something they accept a little bit more. Not with all children I know, but sometimes they can be rather than being left to later on in life if they start to be introduced in early years. So bringing those things in and making it a family event is helpful protein. So fish, meat, eggs, tofu and actually having more of a plant based diet is definitely more beneficial. So try to have maybe 50 percent of your meals, if you can, certainly reducing red meat, maybe having that like once a week.

And lean red meat, oily fish for a meager three. So it’s really good for joints, really good as not natural, anti-inflammatory rather than ibuprofen, really good for our joints and things. As we get older, we need a little bit more lubrication, our joints and then loads of veg because I’ll give lots of antioxidants. And as we age, naturally we are exposed to free radicals, which just damage all the time and everywhere in the environment that damages parts of our body. So having lots of colored fruit and veg helps with increasing the antioxidants that we’re having in our diet. So in terms of just breaking down to the food groups and looking at the fats and particularly you mentioned fats of the healthy fats, particularly olive oil based off rapeseed oil, avocados, those are the best types to be having. And then the whole grain, carbohydrates and the protein and lots of fruit and veg and breaking down just the food groups thinking about on the new plate of food, making sure you’ve got components of those. And then you mentioned activity and things. So it might be variance. So you might be thinking of putting your carbohydrates more around your activity, depending on what type of activity you’re doing. And that’s also why it’s so important to tailor it, isn’t it? Because not everybody needs it, sometimes people will be slightly active and think I’m following the diet of an athlete and it’s just not the case. It really depends on how that balance is to your lifestyle to depersonalizing. Not entirely.

Darren: Yeah, absolutely. Because, I mean, also an infographic from a few weeks ago, which breaks down how the body burns its calories throughout the day. And if you exercise only five to 10 percent of your calories are burned through exercise, the rest of it is just burnt through general existing living, right? Yeah. So that’s that. I think you make a very good point there. People go to a gym or they go and work out. They go for five K rather than I can eat whatever you call. You’re lucky if you go for a five K run, you’re lucky if you burn the equivalent of a Kit Kat. You know when that’s a hard runner, a five K pace. So, you know, to burn off a whole Domino’s Pizza you would need to run a marathon. Yes. That’s to net burn off the amount of calories. So I think that’s where the confusion lies, isn’t it? People don’t really get the kind of gauge as to how much they’re burning versus how much they need.

Anita: Yeah, for sure. And I think, you know, you mention about the food, if you’re looking at body weight and you’re looking at wanting to make changes to that, what your food intake will more affect your body weight than any activity you do. What we know from research is, you know, looking at the quality and quantity of what you’re having is really important and different people have different pathways that suit them. To do that activity is really important. It’s important for so many other reasons, apart from body weight. But that will help you maintain the body that you want, really. And at that, you know, the weight loss maybe that you’ve achieved and your wanting to maintain and also because it’s quite healthful behavior is a helpful behavior. We know that that obviously can really positively influence the food choices. So if you’re active, be thinking a little bit more mindfully about what you’re putting into your body because you are more active. So you’re wanting to maintain that positive behavior that you’ve taken on.

Darren: Yeah. And so when you’re working with someone in an eater, what kind of areas of their lives are you looking at? Because the defo approach is exercise and diet isn’t there, but there are lots of different areas of life that we can look at that would affect our dietary choices.

Anita: Yeah, so one thing I always look at is sleep. I often like to look at the foundation of sleep. I know people really talk about this much more in our wellbeing, but if you can really see a pattern, you often see eating behaviors with that. We know there’s lots of evidence for if people are broken sleep, they might be eating through that time where the calories are coming from. And sometimes that foundation of looking at how we can support having more consistent sleep and trying to regulate patterns. And there’s lots of information out about sleep hygiene and trying to get off our phones and get off the screens and get away from the TV. And just taking that time, that’s a key part that you can build everything else in the other part or relocate as well as people’s relationship with food over time because we’re all so different. So and that’s transient. It’s never black and white that that will stay the same. But if you’re having a fairly unhealthy relationship with food. A diet plan or any of these things won’t help and might even drive that behavior worse. So I’d really look into the main two things I’ll start to investigate and understand from somebody, because that then leads and sort of paves the way to which direction we’re going to go in and what we’re going to sort of work on first.

Darren: Yeah, I think that’s a really important point. I think it definitely stems from childhood and I think a lot of people are unaware of this. And I can speak from personal experiences. So when I was a child, I distinctly remember when we were kids. I would love a packet. Chris and I go towards Chris, but my parents restricted me from that, quite rightly so. Yet when I got to an adult, if there were crisps around, I would do a six pack. I will eat as much Crisp as I can. So I think it’s that, like you say, our relationship with food is very key to how that comes along in adult life. And having that awareness or just reflecting on that can really, really help.

Anita: And I think, you know, through sorry, through through lockdown that that’s really been magnified for people. So identifying and knowing that’s really a key source of importance really to help you move on and also not to fail, which is really associated with food behaviors, is the guilt and shame of it, because actually it’s been quite normal through this time that people have done that. But it’s recognizing it and then thinking, as you said, reflecting on it and thinking, where do I need to get support from this? Or looking at your pattern and thinking, how can I change that to be more positive?

Darren: And just talking about that. It sounds really basic and really simple, but it’s really often hard to recognize. I mean, I just released the podcast today because a lot of the guys I work with, they are very they think that you remember the All Whites advert, the secret lemonade drink, and I do. Oh, yes. This is what made me recall. This episode was a lot of guys in the evening when they talk to me in confidence, they say that the secret snackers and they think they’re the only ones that do it. Most guys that I work with, particularly after meals at night, they’ll hit the sweet covid or the chocolate covered in the rest of it. And I think that, you know, it’s the serotonin, the dopamine hits that all happen as a result, isn’t it? And I think, you know, that it’s from a mindset perspective is recognizing that behavior and habits and trying to change your environment or change something to kind of counter against it. So what kind of advice do you give people around when they say to Anita, I really am snacking on craving stuff at night? What’s you on that?

Anita: So normally, if you have a craving, it’s normally likely to do with either denying yourself or something. So you’re really wanting it all or often it’s an irregularity of eating. So whether someone has diabetes or not, there will be an effect on blood glucose levels. So if you’re not eating, a classic thing that people do is not eat for a very long period of time, wait till the evening and eat all their calories and nothing more, actually, research shows it’s generally more than they would have if they’ve broken it down a day. So it’s really starting to get better again. It’s that habit and putting those sort of pillars in place. So the sleep pattern, where does that fit with their meals and their timing and how are they doing things? And as you were describing earlier about being so busy, so particularly looking at being in a family and this is very difficult. It’s changed so much from when I was a kid, but we were never allowed to sit in front of telly anywhere we know, my dad was very vigilant about that. But it’s very difficult nowadays because there are screens and entertainment and things everywhere.

So sometimes people find some way of at least regulating one part of the day and then starting to build on that can really help. And if people are having certain foods that they are trying to reduce, but they’re finding they’re bingeing more on them at certain times of day, then I’d be looking at what I always look at. The bottle is like 80, 20. So if you 80 percent of the time try to follow healthy behaviors and healthful food choices, it’s OK to be doing those other things within everything. And it’s when normally you’re completely denying yourself and it’s this all or nothing approach of behavior which a lot of us do. It’s quite a perfectionist approach to doing it. You have to do one hundred percent, one hundred and ten percent. But if you sort of break it down and look at that, it’s OK to do those things that you can sort of plan those things in a little bit more and allow yourself, because it’s normally when you restrict that you binge. So it’s thinking, how do you balance it out through the day?

Darren: Yeah, I agree. I think the restrictive nature and this is why I have a big problem with diets is it is a restrictive framework, isn’t it? It’s like we can have this many calories or you can’t have this, or if you’re paleo keitai, whatever it is, you know, it’s restricting certain food groups. And I never think that that’s a good way to approach food, nutrition and fuel. We need balance. You know, life teaches us we do need balance in our lives. And so by just completely stripping that out and just not having it like you say it, then. When the wheels fall off because they do and life gets stressful or you’ve had a bad day, you lot, you’re all in on you and that is just such a bigger negative impact than it would if you were just consuming it gradually.

Anita: Mm hmm. Definitely. Definitely. It’s definitely about that balance. And also it’s fitting in with everyone else, isn’t it? So you’re eating something completely differently to the rest of your family. And also it’s that it’s that part of modeling. We children learn from copying. We learn from doing something as adults. We learn from doing and making mistakes, learning from them all, learning from positive behavior. That’s adult learning. Children learn from copying. So also that dynamic and that behavior will be brought into the next generation for thinking how we manage food, how we approach foods, our viewpoints. It’s all picked up. As we know, children absorb everything as a sponge and they can have a lot more than you think so. So all of those behaviors really instill into the next generation. So it’s really important to start to place places as you can, you know, to provide some structure, I guess, as much as possible.

Darren: Yeah. So I want to I want to ask you if there’s some guys that people listen to this, who they realize that they know that they’re slightly overweight and they’re perhaps their diet is not that great and they are consuming either a lot of inflammatory fat, so a lot of fried food or a lot of sugar. What would your approach be? Because 10 again, with guys, we tend to go all or nothing, don’t we? And it’s a case of right on. I mean, but I’m going to cut it all out. I say on day one we start and we cut it all out. But what would you do? What would your approach be to that would be the best approach, would you recommend?

Anita: Yeah. So it would be I always look at like two or three changes that that individual can do. So if we are specifically looking at food, it’s difficult to generalize that. I want to generalize with people, but it might be switching to, let’s say protein. Protein is a classic thing. So it’s starting to look at different ways of preparing food or reducing the amount of fatty cuts of meat. So perhaps having more lean red meat if you’re going to have it. We’re trying to reduce having more chicken, having more. Some sun differs. Some people can go more plant based. Some people take a little bit more into that. So it might be starting to look at more fish and chicken if people are able to switch rather than total changes and cutting things out completely. And then with the carbs, again, it’s trying to switch. Yeah. If there are more refined products, trying to say if you’re having them all the time, trying to have them say half the half the time of the week, you’re trying to go for more whole grains. You mentioned pizza and things like a Domino’s, if that’s going to happen. It’s trying to think how often do you have, like, those take outs? And it’s not just one type of take out, it’s all of them.

Because often, you know, if I speak to somebody that’s so I have Domino’s, they use the example once once a week. But then if you go into each other, take out, that could be every night of the week. So it’s thinking, OK, if I do that for seven days, let me try and have that at least and build on that to start to get into it. And it’s about habit forming, isn’t it? It’s about going day on day, week and week and realizing you can manage without those things. And then if it a simple swap because you don’t have time, because you’re busy working, there are like ready made meals, have different viewpoints, but were already made meals in supermarkets that actually you can see the fat content, you can see the content there, you can look at it and think that’s a better alternative. Like I can have that type of the food that I would have got as a takeaway. But I can have that as an alternative if I’m talking poor. I’m unable to do this right now. And then it’s starting to pick up from there of starting to prepare these things. And a lot of the time, as I said earlier, the readymade meal takes as long as preparing a meal in itself. It’s becoming more confident. I guess we’re doing that.

Darren: Yeah, I agree. And I think there are a lot of alternatives you can have. For example, we know we’ve been talking about pizza. You know, there are a lot of alternative pizza bases that you can make at home. You know, you can make a mozzarella pizza base or cauliflower pizza if some people listening might think, oh, that’s disgusting. But if you get the recipe, it’s really basic and straightforward and you can make it in the same amount of time as you would wait for. I have to have one made in the local takeaway. So I think that that’s the other case. It’s not about, well, I’m eating healthy so I can no longer have that. You can like Beef Burgers free zone where you can quite easily make a beef burger at home. It’s quite easy to do and then you can put a lot of other healthy stuff with it or stay healthy, more balanced nutritionally food. So if we guys are concerned about, you know, that they think that they’re kind of heading towards type two or could have, what kind of symptoms do people kind of start seeing when that starts to happen?

Anita: Yeah, it’s tricky, this one, because the symptoms can be quite vague and the symptoms often can be so. With aging, you might be going to the just vague things you think. I’m just getting a bit older, so maybe that’s happening. So you might be paying more through the day and at night you might have slightly blurred vision. So actually, Optician’s often pick up Type two diabetes before the person knows because they will notice when they’re having their eyes checked. You may lose some weight and it may be more gradual with type two diabetes. So actually, you might want to lose weight. So you’ll feel like I’m not doing anything different. This is great. I’m losing weight. And the other part that happens with that is people compliment you, which actually can make it a hard thing to recognize because it feels like it’s a positive thing that’s happened. And also, if you haven’t been doing anything different, it’s great because you haven’t made any difference to your life to have to get such results. So many people are thirsty as well. And that’s a good thing. Again, you just think, oh, am I just a bit more thirsty than usual? And that can happen. So they can be quite gradual and not really noticeable. Another thing is actually switching. So I’m just to say like thrush as well as a thing to mention, I know people shy about talking about these things, but I’m so yeast and sugar and bacteria love that environment, so that can happen as well. So I want to say, because it’s something that we sometimes don’t talk about.

So all of those symptoms can gradually happen. And often with Type two diabetes, somebody has had Type two for 10 years before they’re diagnosed. So Diabetes UK do campaigns sometimes like looking for the missing million because there are people who are on that trajectory of having Type two, but it’s been very vague. So, you know, if you’re not sure and certainly if you’re over 40, you have over 40 to check up on, please don’t miss it. Go to the GP and have all those checks because they’re looking at risk factors for cardiovascular health, diabetes, stroke, all of these things are super important to go. Also on Diabetes UK website, they have a risk factor chart. So you can just fill in your date, like your ethnicity, your age, gender, all race things. And they give you an idea to look at to have those things checked. If you never, if you’re really not sure when you’re starting to feel it, go to your GP, because now we’ve got great evidence that we can support people going on that trajectory to Type two diabetes, which we’ve never had before. And I’m sure people have heard in the media the soups and Shites diet were the big headlines that came out last September. And so that’s looking at total diet replacements. So that’s the extreme part. Well, more of an extreme diet, something that’s very effective. And if people are in the early stages of diabetes actually going into remission, some people call it reverse. What I like to call it remission because it doesn’t go away.

So the risk is still there. You’re still at risk of those risk factors, but you have changed that trajectory and it seems in the early stages of Type two diabetes. So if you’re under sort of the six year mark of having Type two and the weight loss of going on those diets, which are about eight hundred calorie a day diets for 12 weeks, it’s not forever. That’s the other thing in the media and social media. It’s like it’s for life. It’s certainly not for that. But it’s a nutritionally complete diet that is just for those 12 weeks. And then you go on to going on to starting having a normal diet. And actually the long term data on that, that’s five, six year data now is still showing great improvement. We’ve had nothing like it in Type two diabetes. Right. To actually be able to say you’ve gone into remission and obviously the long term effects of diabetes can be obviously quite disabling. So anything you can change, something is also important in that to say it’s not forever and it’s also not for everybody. So again, when that was something that was ever suggested for you or you thought about, you’d be screened and certainly talk about to your health care providers if that was something you’re interested in in terms of diabetes prevention, lifestyle factors are really important that we’ve mentioned. Now, being more active is more important to prevent that. And this, as I mentioned earlier, digital programs and face to face programs. Once we’re able to do more face to face that are available, that have really nice structure to them to support people with what we know is this stuff’s hard and what we know for all the research and and from people on a day to day is that if you have accountability and you have support with other people, it’s much easier to be able to achieve those things.

So there are programs out there. So if you’re feeling like this is something I want to change, there are things to support you. And it’s key when you’re doing things because you will read things on the Internet. There are books available on things. But for some of this stuff, if you want medications, you need a health care provider to support you, because if you are losing weight, those medications are going to change and just decide for the definition of remission. The definition of remission is having a long term blood glucose level, which is called an HBO. You want to see your hemoglobin less than six point five percent or forty three per mole. So that’s a normal sort of like a normal blood glucose level for at least six months. That’s what mission means. And that’s the agreed sort of terminology for that. So we certainly know that. That’s possible, so certainly if you’re thinking there are things you could change in a day to day with your your lifestyle and diet and your feeling that maybe you’re starting to pick up on those symptoms or you’re worried about it, certainly go to your GP and speak about the options for you to support you.

Darren: Yeah, yeah. And I think the other thing as well is a lot of people will get impacted quite significantly by the fact that they might be pre or actually, you know, type two diabetes and be quite a big impact for them. But I think it’s important to remember that you won’t again, you’re not in the minority, unfortunately. And to have that support, have that accountability, you know, not necessarily going to be an easy path to kind of remission, like you said. And I think that’s an important point you make about me being in remission and not kind of a complete cure, if that makes sense. And having that support there just kind of, you know, if it doesn’t also doesn’t mean that you have to stop living. You know, it’s just it’s just this process you need to go through in order to optimize your health. And if you think about it from that perspective, you’re optimizing your health to become the healthiest you can be at the age you are. If you take that approach, it becomes way, way easier. And I think yeah, I think you say like you say, there are so many resources out there. And I think you and I have talked a little bit about the technology that’s coming out. One thing that I do want to sign and begin to get your thoughts on this is that they are great. But the bottom line is we’re not doctors and we’re not medical practitioners. And whilst they might come with support from, you know, from these companies is always you definitely need to have it double checked by a medical practitioner.

Anita: So you talk about the technologies and the support.

Darren: Yeah, because, I mean, I’ve used I’ve used to talk to on myself so I can understand what happens to my blood sugar. I’ve had blood tests. I can understand what my HPI onesies and all that kind of stuff. But I’m also Dice’s amazon you need a medical practitioner to be able to kind of help me decipher it and then put things in place.

Anita: And we and that’s what I do day to day, all the time. So like looking at data and supporting people and certainly, as you said, like, it’s not for everybody. Some people feel very overwhelmed, like you’re mentioning, I think, with the device where you’re scanning all the time, your blood glucose levels. So for some people, they find it most people find it super helpful. What they would describe it as is like turning on a light in a darkened room and suddenly understanding their diabetes. But at the same point, the data can be overwhelming for some people because there’s so much information there. So as you’re saying there, it’s getting the support of a health care professional and understanding how to use it. And there are a lot more online tools now available if somebody does use them. We’re always directing people to settle online like videos and training and education and certainly working together with somebody, as you said, to understand what it all means, because some of the data is very helpful and some of it you don’t need to worry about too much. And when I’m working, I’m going to talk about Type one diabetes, type one diabetes clinic.

What we know is looking at our data, the data of people 60 to 70 percent of the time. If their blood glucose is in range, that’s great. They’re going to get to where they need to get to. We’ve looked retrospectively. We’ve got hundreds and hundreds of people in our clinics. So that’s amazing to help people to think I don’t need to be in range all the time. And it’s really dependent. And that’s something you need to work out with your health care professional and practitioner of what that means to you. But it’s also very much diabetes, a numbers game. And not all of those numbers are something that you’re going to be able to be responsible for because certain things affect numbers that, you know, the stress and things like this, which you can’t. You can limit stress to a point, but you’re not always in control. Right. So certainly there’s no way to be super helpful. But, yeah, having the support of somebody to understand them and also take away the burden of them sometimes if it isn’t being is helpful for yourself.

Darren: Yeah. Also now I completely agree. I think. Yes, support in numbers. Definitely. You can’t do this stuff on your own and nor should you really. I mean, having that support there and that encouragement, accountability really, really helps. You know, studies have shown the accountability element in anything we do in life is very, very helpful to keep on track. So I need support. Before I let you go, what would you say? The top five things you would recommend to people listening to this who are perhaps concerned about just general health and diet and maybe prediabetic or diabetic what? Five things could you recommend today?

Anita: Yeah. Yeah. So one thing is to not to look at what was going to work for you at this time. So if there’s lots of different approaches and you’re feeling overwhelmed to talk through with a health care practitioner of the options for you and not to feel pushed into one way of doing things, because there is a different way of doing things. And you don’t have to also stick to that thing, which is the other thing for life. If one thing suits you for a certain period of time and it changes, that’s OK. So that’s the key. To find something that works with your family and works with the people around you, try not to do something that’s not going to be something that you can do together, because whenever I talk about food, food is so enjoyable to have. Yeah. It’s so important that the cultural aspects and the community aspects of eating are so important. It gets lost. And certainly on the diet in the first 12 weeks, it probably will be you during that bit. But as you go on to eating normally, that’s really important. With my family, I think about food preparation and cooking. So if you’re not so familiar with those things, you may start to spend a little bit of time looking at those sorts of things. Again, getting the family involved as well in terms of, I’d say a food choice. I’d be saying vegetables as much as you can have very low calorie loads of vitamins and minerals. You talking about information and things as we age, really, really important. And the other part is movement. And I know we say it, but any movement, if you want the stuff that you enjoy doing it and try to do it daily. And I know we had like Mental Health Week recently and their connection, their theme with nature this time around and getting outside and again, the whole family aspect, being a dad and going out and doing things with your family and trying to get that community and togetherness with the people close to you really is really important.

Darren: Yeah, I couldn’t agree more with the movement side of it because, you know, we all think about exercise where I always use the term movement now because there’s so many more different facets to it, isn’t there? You can go for a walk and actually go out for a walk without headphones, just ties in nature, appreciate nature and things like that, you know, and it doesn’t have to be a massively long marathon and all the rest of it. And then things that I discovered through injury or functional movement, being able to move in a certain way, being able to squat down, stretch your body out. That’s all movement. That all helps, isn’t it?

Anita: Yeah, definitely. Definitely. It’s nice to be the fastest and the strongest, but you don’t always have to be there. There’s nothing you enjoy on a day to day. Yeah.

Darren: Yeah, definitely. And I think the final thing I wanted to touch on there was around food preparation and particularly men. Listen to this. Get in the kitchen with the kids and bake something. Kids love it. Honestly, they love getting involved. And it’s a way to kind of, you know, subliminally educate them, isn’t it? You know, this is flour and this might be a carbohydrate or this is sugar and this is what will happen to our bodies when we just do it. And, you know, that might sound a little bit over the top, but it’s just a way to educate all of us.

Anita: Yeah, so true. Sometimes we don’t know what actually goes into making something. So I keep putting it into its component parts. It is education for everyone. Yeah.

Darren: Yeah, absolutely. Awesome. Well, thank you very much for coming on the podcast today. I really appreciate your time. And for people to listen to this. How can I connect with you? What, you’re socials, your website.

Anita: Yep. Yep. So I’m on social media. I’m Anita_RD. So @Anita_RD and that’s on Twitter and on Instagram. And then my website is coming soon. It’s a bit of a pause at the moment, but it will be. I’ve got the domain and it’s just my name, www.Anitabeckwith.com and I’ll be out in a couple of months.

Darren: Awesome. Well, thanks very much for your time again and I’ll speak to you soon.

Anita: Thanks so much. Thank you. Bye.Darren: Thanks for listening to the Fitter Healthier Dad Podcast. If you enjoyed today’s episode, please hit subscribe and I would really appreciate it if you could leave a review on iTunes. All the things mentioned in the episode will be in the show notes and a full transcription is over at fitterhealthierdad.com

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