Undiagnosed pre-diabetes is one of the most common causes of persistent feelings of mental and physical fatigue. It’s estimated that 100 million Americans have some form of pre-diabetes.
In addition, three out of every four American adults are overweight or obese, and diabetes and being overweight go hand in hand.
Obesity increases the chances of developing type 2 diabetes by eighty times. And every year 1 million Americans go from pre-diabetes to full blown type 2 diabetes. The root cause of these conditions is primarily dietary, too many sugars and carbs.
Fortunately, in most cases, these forms of diabetes can be completely reversed with improved eating habits.
After years of regular spikes in high blood sugar levels, the body’s cells stop responding to insulin, the hormone that transports glucose out of the blood and into cells where it’s either burned for energy or stored as fat.
Those blood sugar spikes occur after eating meals rich in sugar or sugar like carbohydrates. Immediately after the meal, energy levels drop drastically.
Several years ago, researchers discovered that high blood sugar levels turn off the brain’s production of Orexins, a family of chemicals that normally keep us alert. This causes people to mistake their tiredness after a meal with low blood sugar, so they respond by craving something sweet like desert, which exacerbates the fatigue.
Pre-diabetes related fatigue is also one reason why many people struggle with waking up in the morning — especially when they eat a meal or snacks late at night, which causes their blood sugar to stay elevated during the night. By the time the alarm rings, they feel tired.
This also contributes to waking up not hungry and skipping breakfast — which as we all know sets the stage for overeating later in the day. It becomes a vicious cycle.
To break out of it, lifestyle changes need to be made. Start with being more active, especially through resistance training, because this will naturally increase the rate at which glucose is taken up by the muscle cells, resulting in less being converted to fat.
Equally important: eliminate all sugars and sugar like carbohydrates from your diet. This usually includes soda, bread, pasta, rice, chocolate, potatoes, or fruit juices.
If you’re unsure of which foods to avoid, the glycemic index can help. Avoid all foods ranked above 70 and consume foods between 56 and 69 in moderation.
Other helpful tips are to always eat a well-balanced breakfast, do not eat within 2 hours of going to sleep, and avoid processed foods as much as possible.
All our clients have access to speak with our nutritionist, who can identify any poor habits in your diet that may be contributing to fatigue and suggest healthy alternatives and a game plan to get your energy levels back.