Paul New Physiotherapy

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A Spoonful of Sugar?

Published: 22nd Feb 2016   

What has happened to our culture folks? How did it get to be that anybody working in the British drinks industry could think it OK to serve a drink with 26 teaspoons of sugar in it? Equally how can we all be so unaware as to think we can regularly consume such high levels of sugar and our health be OK?

This month research campaign groups reported in the main stream media that shocking amounts of sugar are in some hot drinks sold in coffee shops and cafés. Some speciality coffees and hot chocolates contain more sugar than a can of coke, which is a staggering 9 teaspoons. This sent our alarm bells ringing in the Stubbington Natural Health Clinic, because at the same time Diabetes UK revealed that the number of people living with Diabetes in the UK has reached more than 4 million. That is an increase of 65% in the last decade and most cases are late onset or Type 2 diabetes. Therefore, we've decided it's time for action at the clinic.

Type 2 Diabetes is caused by persistently high levels of blood sugar, resulting in high levels of insulin (the hormone secreted by the pancreas to force glucose from the blood into the cells and lower blood sugar). If insulin levels are high for a long period of time the body becomes insensitive to it or insulin resistant. The pancreas then has to deliver more insulin to reduce blood sugar and the body becomes even more resistant.

Diabetes is best viewed as a diet and lifestyle issue and not a chronic and progressive disease that you have to live with for the rest of your life. If managed appropriately and recognised early enough the impact of diabetes could be minimal. It is important to realise that the condition is modifiable and can be reversible through making diet and lifestyle changes. However, changing old habits is never easy and this is why we are here to help. If you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or have been told you are at risk of developing it there is lots you can do to modify, improve and even overcome the condition and it is not through taking medication alone.

Diabetes requires a lifestyle prescription of a low calorie diet (e.g. cut out sugar) and a sensible exercise programme. Diet and exercise are considered essential in the management of the condition, however, despite this information being widely published in all national guidelines 60% of the diabetic population do not take part in any regular physical activity. This maybe because people with diabetes do not understand how exercise can help them modify the disease process.

Regular physical activity increases metabolism and burns off carbohydrate to fuel movement. This lowers blood sugar and overtime the cells become more sensitive to insulin again and thus insulin resistance reduces. Regular exercise improves the control of blood sugars and helps to reduce the risk of long term diabetic complications. In combination with proper dietary control, regular physical training can even reverse the effects of diabetes and eradicate the need for medication. Being active also increases cardiovascular fitness and helps to lose body weight to further improve health.

Current diabetes guidelines recommend an assessment of your fitness followed by an individualised, gentle and progressive activity plan, supervised by a medical or exercise specialist. This should involve 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise and 2 sessions of strength work per week. We recommend a special diabetes check over at the clinic, and being a fully qualified Physiotherapist I can then devise an exercise routine specific to your needs and can set you goals to keep you motivated. The plan can be checked at regular intervals and progressed as your fitness levels improve. For an appointment or more information contact SNHC on 01329 665871.

Source Material:
Stewart, K. (2004). Exercise training in type 2 diabetes. Br J Sports Med

Mendes, R. et al. (2015). Exercise prescription for patients with type 2 diabetes. Br J Sports Med

Dr Jason Fung. (2015). The impact of diet and obesity on type 2 diabetes. BMJ Podcast. Br J Sports Med


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