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November 14th: World Diabetes Day Prevention, a key role to play!

In an era of over-sedentary lifestyles and ultra-processed foods, the prevalence of diabetes in our society is on the rise. On World Diabetes Day, we felt it was important to talk about diabetes, and, more generally, to talk about metabolic health.

What is diabetes? Diabetes is a chronic disease characterised by an excess of sugar in the blood. This hyperglycaemia is caused by a malfunction in the secretion or action of insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas.

There are two types of diabetes:

- Type 1 accounts for 10% of all cases, and mainly affects children and adolescents. Insulin production is low or non-existent. Nothing can prevent or cause this type of diabetes.

- Type 2 accounts for 90% of all cases and mainly affects people aged over 40. Insulin production is low or ineffective, due, in particular, to an excessively rich diet, excess weight or a sedentary lifestyle.

How should it work, in normal conditions?

Our stomach converts the food we eat into glucose, which passes into the bloodstream. Our pancreas then produces insulin, which helps to regulate glucose levels and maintain them at a normal level. Insulin has another key role: it transports glucose to all the cells in our body so they can produce energy.

Therefore, sugar is essential for our bodies to function properly, but (there's always a but!) everything needs a balance. And often our diet is too sweet, with sugar hiding everywhere. We suggest you watch the very interesting Arte report (2020) or conference of Professor Castronovo from University of Liège (2015).

Over-consumption of sugar leads to two significant issues (among others, because there's more of it):

  1. Under strain, our cells and tissues become resistant to insulin: our body uses sugar less efficiently, our blood sugar levels rise and our pancreas tries to compensate by producing more insulin.

  2. When we consume more sugar than we need, it is converted into fat, and it is this excess of fat mass that can (once again: among other things, but not only) increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Nowadays, diabetes is a disease that can be treated but not cured. So it's important to maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout our lives, with a healthy, balanced diet and regular exercise. This advice applies to everyone, including people who do not suffer from diabetes or other metabolic disorders. And speaking of other metabolic disorders, are you familiar with the 5 pillars of metabolic health?

Metabolic health

Metabolic health is based on 5 pillars, glycaemia being one of them.

A combination of excess visceral fat and at least two other metabolic disorders is known as metabolic syndrome. Alarming fact: in the USA, only 12% of the population are thought to be metabolically healthy. This syndrome also affects almost 23% of men in France.

Excessive visceral fat

Apart from aesthetic considerations - which are none of our business - an excessively large waistline can be a real health concern. Indeed, excess fat inside the abdomen, particularly around our organs such as liver, stomach, intestines, etc., considerably increases the risk of developing cardiovascular, liver, kidney or even gynaecological diseases over time.

Although all the mechanisms have not yet been discovered, many studies seem to indicate that adipose tissue is essential to our metabolic health because it communicates with the other internal organs. When there is too much visceral fat, this communication is impaired, leading to dysfunctions in the storage of sugar and fat, as well as inflammatory phenomena that can lead to a state of chronic inflammation detrimental to our blood vessels.

Visceral obesity is therefore the key factor in metabolic health, but attention must also be paid to other pillars of metabolic health.


Everyone has heard of cholesterol. But do you really know what it is?

Cholesterol is a fatty compound produced by our body and found in our food. It plays a central role in a number of biochemical processes essential to the proper functioning of our body. In particular, it makes up the membranes of our cells and is involved in the manufacture of certain hormones such as testosterone and cortisone.

It is transported in the blood by lipoproteins, the main ones being:

  • Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL), which fix cholesterol in our arteries, encouraging the formation of fatty deposits which, over time, block our arteries (bad cholesterol).

  • High Density Lipoproteins (HDL) clean our arteries by capturing the cholesterol accumulated and transporting it to the liver, where it is eliminated. Therefore, this 'good cholesterol' has a protective effect against cardiovascular disease.

A deficiency in HDL cholesterol is therefore a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.


We cannot talk about cholesterol without talking about triglycerides.

These are also lipids. Manufactured by the liver or supplied by the diet and stored in the body's adipose tissue, they are an important source of energy. However, high triglyceride levels can lead to cardiovascular disease. It is also the most frequent cause of acute pancreatitis.


Mechanically, the accumulation of fat in our arteries puts them to a severe challenge.

Hypertension is abnormally high blood pressure in our blood vessels, arteries, etc. In France, it is estimated that 1/3 of adults are affected by this disease. How does it work? Our heart pumps blood by contraction to send it to the aorta - the largest artery in our bodies - which itself distributes the blood to the peripheral arteries. An excess of cholesterol/triglycerides in our blood can lead to a fat accumulation in the arteries, which harden and narrow. As our blood has to pass through a smaller space, blood pressure rises.

High blood pressure weakens our arteries and blood vessels, leading to serious illnesses such as stroke, heart attack and kidney failure.

Prevention is better than cure

If you've got this far, you may think we're being a bit alarmist. But (there's always a but 😉 ) there are simple ways (easier said than done, granted) to prevent metabolic disorders. And our advice is always the same!

  1. Eat healthy, if possible local (that's for our planet), and 'raw', i.e. as little processed food as possible. Couldn't we take 1 hour of our time on a Sunday to make this homemade soup instead of buying it ready-made in the shop? What's more, it cooks itself, all you have to do is blend it. Or not, depending on your preferences and desires. Let's fill up on fibre, which is full of virtues: it helps control blood sugar levels, has a satiating effect and is full of good nutrients.

  2. Do regular and adapted physical activity. There's no point in forcing ourselves to run if we don't like it. If you prefer badminton, table tennis, climbing or walking, it works just the same. The important thing is to get moving, and to enjoy it. A little bonus: regular physical activity fills you up with endorphins and dopamines (the happiness hormones), so you feel better in your body and your head.

  3. Stress less. Certain stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol increase blood sugar levels. This is the mechanism that enables the body to produce the energy it needs to get through a stressful period, but if you're in a state of chronic stress, that's no good!

So, eat (healthy), move and relax. And if you'd like a soup recipe, you can also contact us 😉



Pour s’éviter un bide – C’est quoi le syndrome métabolique ? Inserm, 24/03/2022

Obésité : des antihypertenseurs pour éviter la dysfonction du tissu adipeux ? Inserm, 29/03/2019

Lefranc C et al., 2019


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