By David Saunders, Health Editor | UPDATED: 08:28, 08 July 2020
We’re all guilty of occasionally being lazy and enjoying a good Netflix and chill session but teens who sit for hours watching TV, using the computer or playing video games while eating unhealthy snacks are at increased risk for metabolic disorder, according to new research.
Metabolic disorder affects nearly a quarter of adults and is associated with heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Our expert, Dr Sarah Brewer working in association with the type 2 diabetes supplement CuraLin (www.curalife.co), is here to help clarify what this means for our health and how we can start to live a more active lifestyle…
80% with metabolic syndrome go on to have type 2 diabetes
Just because you haven’t been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes doesn’t mean you’re in the clear – Scary I know! “Many people with type 2 diabetes first go through a stage in which their insulin levels are high (due to insulin resistance) and their ability to handle glucose is poor.
Their glucose levels are higher than ideal (between 6.1 mmol/l but less than 7.0mmol) and not yet within the diabetes range. If they also have a cluster of other features, they may have metabolic syndrome: central obesity (waist circumference greater than, or equal to 94cm in men and 80cm in women), raised blood levels of triglyceride fats, high blood pressure (140/90mmHg or higher).
At least 80% of people with metabolic syndrome will go on to develop type 2 diabetes if they don’t take steps to avoid it by losing excess weight, exercising regularly (which can lower glucose levels, blood pressure and blood fat levels) and follow a healthy Mediterranean style diet that does not cause spikes in blood sugar levels.”
Switch up your sedentary lifestyle to a more active and healthy one by following these 10 steps…
1. Exercise for a minimum of 60 minutes per day
Regular exercise is key. We’re all guilty of binge watching our favourite series, laying horizontally scrolling for hours on our phones, or playing ‘just one’ more level of our favourite game, but there are hundreds of just as interesting hobbies that don’t involve sitting – “Children and teens need at least 60 minutes activity per day. Limit sedentary activities such as watching TV, playing video games or surfing the Internet. Find out if there are any healthy after school activities your child could join to make new friends and learn a new skill such as jazz dance or softball.”
2. Good all rounder
Ask yourself this – Is it really worth driving two minutes to the nearest convenient store to buy the milk or newspaper? “Walk or cycle local distances, such as to and from school or work, and to buy the paper, milk, bread and fresh vegetables. It’s good for both your health and the environment.”
3. Food coma doesn’t have to be a thing
Rather than flopping down after a meal, go for a walk – even if it’s just around the block. “Exercise after a meal reduces the usual rise in blood glucose and fat levels that promote weight gain, furring up of the arteries and glucose intolerance.
Encourage kids to run round and burn off excess energy (and frustrations) after school, where they’ve been sitting down most of the day. And have family fun at weekends through enjoyable activities such as cycling, swimming, walking in the park or playing ball games.”
4. Eat dinner together and talk about your day
Dinner is a time to come together and reflect on the day, whilst enjoying good food and even better company. “If you have children, eat together as a family when you can. Discourage eating in front of the TV as mindless shovelling of food means you don’t fully enjoy the flavours, and tend to continue eating even when you are full.”
5. Get up 10 minutes earlier
It’s easy to snooze your alarm clock for another ten minutes and as a result spend your entire morning rushing around making sure everything gets done. This often leads to neglecting what our bodies really want – BREAKFAST! “Families used to sit down together for 3 meals a day, without fail.
Although flexibility is important, sticking to regular meal times helps curb unhealthy snacking habits. A good breakfast is especially important to fuel the body and brain. Low sugar cereals, toast, natural yoghurt with chopped fruit, or a glass of unsweetened fruit juice take little time to prepare and really set you up for the day.”
6. Variety is key
Challenge of the day – Try something that you haven’t had in years. “We all know the 5-a-day message is important, but kids often turn up their noses at healthy greens. Keep serving a variety of veg, prepared as you like it, and eventually they’ll start to eat them.
Research consistently shows that children’s willingness to accept unfamiliar foods depends on the number of times they’re offered. We have an understanding in our house that we taste everything, but if we don’t like it we don’t have to eat it. It’s surprising how often one of my kids discovered they suddenly liked something they thought they hated. Mushrooms were a memorable breakthough!”
7. Motivate one another
When you settle down with a partner, you will tend to adopt some of their habits too – Unfortunately the good and the bad. “According to psychologists from the University of North Carolina, once a couple start living together, they’re three times more likely to become obese than those who live separately. This is probably down to sharing obesity-related behaviours such as choosing unhealthy snacks and watching TV or playing computer games instead of exercising.
Rather than encouraging each other to follow a healthy diet and lifestyle, they are more likely to encourage negative behaviours so they won’t feel so bad about over-indulging alone. Apparently this tendency is strongest once a couple has lived together for at least two years.”
8. Treat yourself the healthier way
Try switching up your unhealthy snacks to healthier alternatives. “Select dark chocolate as a treat. Dark chocolate and cocoa powder contain antioxidants that improve insulin resistance to help lower glucose levels, protect against heart disease and have beneficial effects on the circulation to reduce diabetes-related side effects. Ensure your chocolate contains at least 70% cocoa solids to minimise sugar content.”
9. Incorporate spices in your cooking
If you’re a fan of spices then we have some good news for you, “Numerous spices such as cinnamon, ginger, fenugreek, turmeric, cumin, coriander, mustard seed and curry leaves all have evidence for improving glucose control” – Time to jazz things up in the kitchen!
10. Consider Ayurvedic medicine
If you’re struggling to control you blood sugar levels opt for CuraLin (£59.00, www.curalife.co), a nutritional supplement that can be taken alongside medication. It is made from a mixture of eleven natural ingredients, which are derived from Ayurvedic medicine, that work with the body to help balance blood sugar levels of those suffering from Type 2 Diabetes.
It can also help reduce cravings for sugar and processed carbohydrates. CuraLin also restricts the absorption of sugar and other carbohydrates, boosts insulin sensitivity and production and supports daily energy levels.