Leslie Beck’s 7 Ways to Lower Your Blood Sugar

Leslie Beck Headshot

Leslie Beck is one of Canada’s leading nutritionists.

While she still works in private practice as a registered dietitian, you may know her better for her weekly column in The Globe and Mail or her appearances as a nutrition expert on Canada AM. She is the author of 12 books on nutrition and healthy eating, including her latest, The Plant-Based Power Diet. She also has consulted for businesses and food companies around the world and has served as a nutritionist for the Canadian International Marathon and the Toronto Raptors.

Obviously, there’s no one better to ask when it comes to strategies for lowering your blood sugar if you live with Type 2 Diabetes, something important to us because a Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis can greatly impact your insurance rates or even your approval for insurance in general. You could receive a rating, which could give you a rate that’s practically double what other policyholders are paying.

However, if you’re able to lower your blood sugar and get your diabetes under control, it can do wonders for both your health and your ability to qualify for cheaper insurance.

“When I see people who are pre-diabetic or newly diagnosed with Type 2, ideally I recommend we change the diet to lose weight if they’re overweight and see if making lifestyle changes alone will help lower their blood sugar. If that doesn’t work, the person’s doctor will discuss medication,” says Beck.

So if you’re trying to make diet and lifestyle changes to help control your blood sugar and halt the effects of Type 2 Diabetes, Leslie Beck recommends seven ways to make that happen:

1. “Lose excess weight” – Losing weight will help lower your blood glucose levels and reduce your dependence on medication. Losing weight can recover the pancreas’s ability to produce insulin and drop insulin resistance in their body. Of course, this is mostly dependent on keeping the weight off.

2. “Exercise regularly” – “This will help burn excess sugar in the blood,” says Beck.  She recommends finding an activity you enjoy and make sure you’re raising your heart rate and breaking a sweat at regular intervals. Always consult your doctor and let them know what you plan to do. Always check your blood sugar before and after exercise, so you know when you may need to replenish your energy with a carbohydrate-rich snack, such as fruit.

3. “Cut refined carbohydrates”   “These are foods with added sugars and white, starchy foods, says Beck. “It’s important to lose these foods from your diet because they have what we call a high glycaemic index and they spike blood sugar and insulin. You want to choose healthy, low glycaemic carbohydrates that don’t spike your blood sugar and insulin like quinoa, rice, steel-cut oats, and some fruit.”

4. “Control the size of your portion for all carbohydrates” – “Even if you’re eating complex carbohydrates with a low glycaemic index, a large portion of these foods will still spike your blood sugar, says Beck, who recommends that only one-quarter of your plate be filled with a high fibre, low glycaemic carbohydrate while the rest of your plate be half vegetables and one quarter protein.

5. “Introduce cinnamon and omega-3 fatty acids into your diet” – Though Leslie Beck cautions that there is no proven superfood for lowering blood sugar, she does say that researchers are currently looking into cinnamon’s blood sugar lowering properties and that Omega-3 fatty acids are also beneficial. “I always recommend to my clients Omega-3 fatty acids that come from oily fish and even the plant-based fatty acids that come from flax or chia seeds,” she says. “Research has shown that people with high blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids have a lower risk of developing high blood sugar and Type 2 Diabetes.”

6. “Start taking magnesium supplements”  Leslie Beck says that one of the most important minerals needed to prevent diabetes is magnesium. “Magnesium is an important mineral for lowering blood sugar because it’s integral to insulin production. Studies have shown that people who have more magnesium in their diet are resistant to developing Type 2 Diabetes. Magnesium-rich foods would be things like leafy green vegetables, nuts, beans, lentils, and avocados.”

7. “Stick to a Mediterranean Diet” – Research shows that those who eat a diet mostly consisting of fish, olive oils, and whole grains are able to slow the progression of Type 2 Diabetes.” According to the studies, the Mediterranean diet actually slowed the progression of diabetes faster than just restricting fat alone,” reports Beck.

LSM Insurance’s Take: We’re big proponents of a lot of Leslie’s health and lifestyle tips. We have done our best to incorporate healthy living into our workplace. We have been strong proponents of the 4-Day Work Week and how it reduces stress levels and our team’s commute, which leaves more time with family. We also have done our best to incorporate a healthy work environment. Most of our team brown-bags their lunch and utilizes the Vitamix and Magic bullet in our office to up energy levels, create healthy alternatives and more dietary variety.

Being healthy can also save you big money on your life insurance. As we said above, diabetics pay a higher premium than non-diabetics and those in really good health with good family health history can also qualify for preferred rates.

But even if you are in poor health, we still have you covered. We offer a wide variety of no-medical life insurance solutions.

One key point LSM insurance stresses for diabetics is to have your broker submit a preliminary inquiry before submitting a formal life insurance application. The reason being that if you are declined, this significantly limits your No-Medical Simplified Issue Life Insurance options.

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  • Lucas Young
    August 21, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    Does the amount of premium you pay depend on the type of illness you have? What are the standard requirements you must meet to get a preferred rate? or what the company considers good health

    • LSM Insurance
      August 21, 2014 at 2:43 pm

      Thanks – yes your current health does influence your premium. Generally for someone to qualify for preferred rates they need to be in very good health and very good family health history

  • James
    August 19, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    Good point about exercising regularly and magnesium supplements. However, what if diabetes is genetics…will exercising and taking this supplements actually prevent the disease from occurring? Diabetes is hereditary in my family, does that mean i’ll still have to pay a high premium even if I myself don’t have the disease?

    • LSM Insurance
      August 20, 2014 at 4:56 pm

      Exercise will definitely minimize your chances of getting diabetes. Family history plays a role in your insurance premium but if your are in good health you should still be able to qualify for standard rates even with poor family health history.