Diabetes And Healthy Eating by Peter Azzopardi

Happy New Year guys, I hope you all had a good Christmas?

I’m looking forwards to working with you all in the Upbeat classes in 2018, as I’m sure the other Exercise Instructors and Nurses are!

Now that it’s the new year, I thought I’d write an article on diabetes, for those who may wish to learn a bit more about this condition and how they can avoid it and for those who already have diabetes and would like to know more about the guidelines for managing your symptoms effectively. If you’d like to know more, then please read on!


Diabetes mellitus is one of the most common diseases in the UK. This disease can have major effects to health including potential damage to the kidneys (nephropathy), neuropathy (damage to the nerves), retinopathy (damage to the eyes) and peripheral vascular disease (limbs) as well as the increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Consequently, it is a major contributor to renal failure, blindness, stroke heart disease and even amputations.

Features of diabetes
The glucose in our bodies needs to be transferred from our blood to our tissues and this is done by the hormone insulin. Diabetes is where there is a lack of insulin which may be a lack of insulin production (type 1) or a resistance to the action of the insulin being produced (type 2). As a result, the amount of sugar increases in the blood and excess glucose can pass into the urine. This can lead to:
• Increased levels of urine
• Thirst
• Weight loss that cannot be explained

Type 1

This is where the pancreas completely or partially fails to produce insulin. It can develop at any age and accounts for 10-20% of cases. It may be caused by genetic factors, autoimmune disease or certain viruses, although the exact causes are still not well understood. It is treated through lifestyle changes and insulin replacement by injection or pump therapy.

Type 2

This is where insulin is produced but it is either insufficient or an ineffective form. It accounts for 80-90% of cases and is the much more common form. The development is much more closely associated with obesity and genetic factors and it tends to develop in middle age however it is recently now being seen in younger adults and children. It is managed with lifestyle changes, reduced food / energy intake and taking more activity and exercise. Most individuals also require hypoglycaemic medication which increases insulin production or enhances its effectiveness. In some cases insulin injections are required.

Diabetes and cardiovascular disease

Diabetes greatly increases the risk of premature death from cardiovascular disease, especially in women. Those with diabetes are at least twice as likely to develop heart disease as non-diabetics. There is also a two- three fold increase in the likely hood of stroke. Outcomes of myocardial infarction (heart attack) or strokes are also detrimental in people with diabetes. Hypertension (high blood pressure) is particularly strongly associated with cardiovascular risk in this group and long-term blood pressure control in type 2’s can significantly reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease. Modifying other risk factors such as smoking, high cholesterol, obesity and physical inactivity are also important.

Dietary modification

The guidelines are very similar for those with diabetes to the general population and should be based on healthy eating principles with specific aspects relevant to the diabetes, in terms of food choice and meal timing. There are many other issues which must be considered:

Meal pattern

In most people, carbohydrate intake will need to be fairly evenly distributed throughout the day. Individuals with erratic eating habits or those who go for long periods without eating will need to adopt a more regular meal pattern to ensure a better and more consistent balance between supply and usage.

For many people, a meal pattern of three evenly sized meals and three smaller snacks per day is ideal, but this will vary according to demands of medication, lifestyle and individual preference. The important aspect is that an appropriate meal pattern remains consistent each day.


Bread, cereal foods and potatoes:
These are an essential basis for every meal

• Quantity and timing: These need to remain fairly constant from day to day.
• Good food choices: pasta, rice, bread, chapattis, potatoes, breakfast cereals (especially oat-based).
• Reduce the amount of fat added to these foods: including fat spread on bread, chapattis or used in pasta sauces should all be kept to a minimum.
• Wholemeal/wholegrain bread and cereals are high in fibre and have advantages in terms of satiety and preventing constipation. Fruit and vegetables A variety of 5 servings a day
• These foods have major health benefits for people with diabetes.
• 1-2 servings of vegetables (excluding potatoes) should be eaten with main meals.
• Fresh fruit can be chosen as a snack or dessert
• Frozen or canned fruits and vegetables are useful alternatives to fresh varieties.
• Fruit juice should be regarded as a sugar-containing drink and not consumed only with meals.
• Have salad or vegetables with manufactured convenience foods or ready meals. Milk and dairy products 2-3 serving a day
• Low/reduced-fat varieties of milk, yoghurt, fromage frais, etc. should be chosen.
• Full-fat cheese should be used in moderation especially by those who are overweight. It is more helpful to use it as a main meal component rather than a snack.
• Cream should only be used as an occasional treat. Meat, fish, pulses and alternatives 2 servings a day
• Greater use should be made of pulses (peas, beans and lentils), either as an alternative to meat or as a way of making a smaller quantities of meat go further. Fresh, canned or dried pulses are all suitable.
• Ideally at least two portions of fish should be consumed every week, one of which should be oily fish.
• Fat avoidance is important, e.g. meat should be lean; visible fat should be trimmed or drained off after cooking.
• Consumption of meat products e.g. burgers, pies, sausage rolls or high-fat meat mixtures (mince) should be kept to a minimum.
• Poultry is a low source of fat if the skin is removed and fat, which appears during cooking, is discarded.

Fat-rich and sugar-rich foods:
These should be kept to a minimum

Sugar-rich foods:
• The diet does not have to be sugar free, but sugar-rich confectionary and drinks will impair glycaemic control if consumed at inappropriate times or in addition to meals.
• Low-calorie ‘diet’ soft drinks are good alternatives to their higher sugar counterparts.
• Ordinary jam, marmalade or reduced-sugar varieties can be used in small amounts on bread.
• Small amounts of sugar-containing biscuits or cakes can be eaten as scheduled snacks, but higher fibre, lower sugar choices are best, e.g. tea breads, fruit cake, English muffins, plain cakes and biscuits. Those who are overweight should be encouraged to make more use of fruit as snacks.
• Intense artificial sweeteners should be used if sweet-tasting drinks are required. Fat-rich foods:
• Source of fat should be avoided as much as possible.
• Food should be boiled, baked, grilled, dry roasted or micro waved instead of fried.
• Minimum amounts of fat should be spread on bread, added to food or used in cooking.
• Reduced-fat monounsaturated spread and small amounts of monounsaturated oils (olive or rapeseed/canola) are the best choices.
• High-fat snack foods such as crisps and biscuits should be eaten less often and replaced by healthier alternatives such as fruit, low-fat yoghurt or whole-wheat crisp bread.

Other advice to prevent diabetes

1. Check food labels to check whether there is a high amount of sugar.
2. Do not miss breakfast and avoid high calorie lunches. Skipping breakfast will lead to the blood sugar going really low.
3. Keep hydrated and avoid alcohol intake.
4. Exercise 4-5 times per week, for a healthy weight and encourage good blood sugar levels. 5. Replace normal potatoes with sweet potatoes, which can be eaten with skin as this has a lower glycaemic index which means it prevents blood sugars rising as quickly and keep them stable for a longer period of time.
6. White bread with wholemeal bread or ideally with soda bread, crisp bread or rye bread.
7. Replace pasta with Quinoa, Spellt and Millet. All of these have a much higher nutrient density, with much more vitamins and minerals and they will help maintain blood sugars.

before making any changes to your diet or medication, please speak with your GP or a Registered Dietician.

For individuals who may need extra help with non prescriptive diet advice and behaviour / habit changes or if you would simply like to fit in some additional activity to the Upbeat classes, I can offer you Personal Training, straight to your home. Please visit www.pmapersonaltraining.com for more details and please feel free to contact me for further details.

Thank you very much for reading and I wish you all good health in 2018!


Due to the large quantities of not so good food within reaching distance over the Xmas and new year period, as well as the volume of parties and other social events, this part of the calendar is a difficult time to maintain bodyweight. As such, the purpose of this article is to suggest some tips to avoid sabotaging your diet over the festive period.
During this time, most people usually fall into one of two categories. The first type of person (the obsessive type) carries on the way they did the other 300+ days of the year and doesn’t gain an ounce of fat. They felt miserable and deprived over Xmas, but at least they still have their six-pack! The other type of person, completely caves into temptation and eats everything in sight, and more. They end up gaining a significant amount of body fat in as little as a couple of weeks, which can often take a few months to shift with anything but extreme dieting. This type of person has a great time over Xmas but pays the price come new year. These type of people are also seemingly responsible for the sudden January ‘spike’ in gym memberships.
For those of you who want to have your cake and eat it (no pun intended), this short article will hopefully give you some tips that will allow you to have a certain degree of flexibility within your diet and enjoy the festivities, without the unwanted fat gain. Nothing in this article is new, in fact, many of these ideas have been discussed in detail elsewhere; I can remember Lyle McDonald even writing a similar article a few years ago on this very topic. You won’t find things like “keep your eye on the prize”, choose to lose” or “Just say NO” here. What I’m attempting to achieve is to combine some science and a little common sense, to allow people to eat more of what everyone else is having without worrying too much about the consequences. Contrary to several claims in recent years, ingesting more energy that is expended over a protracted period is basically what fat gain boils down to. Therefore, the following strategies all work by minimising the chances of overeating.
1. Eat lean protein and vegetables prior to (or at) the event before tucking into more calorific food. Given the satiating power of lean proteins such as chicken, turkey and some fish (e.g. cod and tuna), consuming some protein will curb hunger somewhat before you move on to more calorific mains and desserts, leaving you less likely to overeat. Adding some veg to this protein snack/meal will add to the satiating effects of protein.
2. Try intermittent fasting. Though there are many approaches to intermittent fasting, arguably the most popular interpretation is that of Martin Berkhan from LeanGains. His approach involves fasting for 14-16 hours everyday, leaving the person with an 8-10 hour window to consume all their food for the day (typically to the tune of 2-3 larger meals). Assuming the party will be in the evening, an individual would fast (or only consume lean protein and veg) during the day then consume all of (or the majority of) their calories that evening. If they will be eating the bulk of the food during the day there is no reason not to fast (or just consume protein) for the rest of the day, or even the following day. Using this protocol, unless the person eats everything in sight, it is unlikely that they will consume much more than their maintenance caloric needs, if at all.
3. Employ a degree of ‘damage control’. Lyle McDonald used this term in relation to dieting in his book A Guide to Flexible Dieting. It ties into the previous point about not eating everything in sight, or until you feel like you’re going to burst. Oftentimes, when people eat something they think they shouldn’t, they gorge on whatever they were eating until they consumed the whole thing. They see themselves as a failure for breaking their diet and somehow rationalise to themselves that “If I ate one piece of cake, I might as well have three”. If you go to a party or meal, eat what you want, but stop eating when you’re satisfied. There is no point going eating beyond hunger just for the sake of it, you’ll probably just regret it in the long run. Basically, eat what you fancy, enjoy it, don’t feel guilty, and don’t be a pig about it.
4. Eat out. This ties in with the last point about damage control. If you’re at a friend’s party it is much easier to eat several pieces of cake or whatever else takes your fancy. However, if you’re at a restaurant, you can only imagine the awkwardness of ordering three desserts.
5. Go deplete some glycogen. In addition to increasing fat oxidation, depleting glycogen prior to an event or meal will increase the likelihood that the carbs you consume will be stored as glycogen instead of being used for energy or possibly being stored as fat; it’s almost like you are getting those calories for free. To deplete glycogen, you’ll need to increase your training volume leading up to the event. This can be achieved by performing more reps (our kettlebells, ViPR and Boxercise sessions are perfect!) (8-12 per set) and more sets (4-8 depending on how many body parts you’re training). Something akin to German volume training should do the trick. Otherwise you can simply get more running or cycling miles in at a decent enough intensity (two or three extra hard 60 minute efforts should almost empty muscle glycogen stores, assuming you aren’t compensating with food intake).

6. Go for the low calorie option. Again, this ties into point 3 about limiting the amount of damage. Go for low fat versions of cakes and other desserts. For alcohol, opt for spirits with a diet mixer to get as drunk as you desire while consuming the minimal amount of calories. If these options aren’t feasible you could always host your own party.

In conclusion, these are some simple strategies that anyone can employ to ultimately prevent overeating over Xmas, or in similar situations at other times of the year. Though each point will work alone, they can be combined to increase their effectiveness. For example, performing depletion work, while intermittent fasting, followed by eating out will almost guarantee that you won’t overeat. In fact, chances are that you’ll lose body fat with this approach. There are other things you can do, but for the most part, I feel that these are the most effective without being too restrictive. As a final pointer, it would be best to steer clear of the bathroom scales since bodyweight tends to fluctuate independent of actual fat mass due to variations in sodium and carbohydrate intakes. This water retention may lead you to believe that you’ve gained 3kg of fat in a couple of days, however, such a feat would require a daily energy surplus in excess of 11,000 kcal! By following some of these principles, the worst/least common case scenario is that you gain a pound or two of fat, which is far better than ten. This isn’t a bad price to pay for an enjoyable Xmas, and you can be back to your pre-Xmas body composition by mid-January.

*Credit to Joseph Agu at Elite Nutrition Coaching for original article

Does Meat REALLY Cause Cancer, As Reported On ‘What The Health’ Recently?

Hi Guys,

One of my pescatarian clients was genuinely upset by the recent documentary ‘What The Health’ which promotes the message that ‘all’ meat increases risk factor for cancer, to the point that she is seriously contemplating becoming a vegan.
After all it was ‘Doctors’ who were being interviewed and giving the ‘facts’ so it must be true right?
From watching a review on the documentary by a PhD Nutritional Scientist, it would appear that the Doctors in the documentary also owned companies which sell vegan products and so profit directly from their cherry picked ‘research’.
This is always the danger when the media report and make sensationalist claims and is why we must always be skeptical with what we read about nutrition or watch on TV . If you wish, you can view the documentary review here, it may make you question the media and the motives of some of the so called experts in future, regardless of their paper credentials 🙂

For help with your diet and behaviour change, we have personal trainers in Norfolk and Suffolk who are able to offer evidence based advice without the usual bias you see in the media. Contact us today to find out how we can help you on your weight loss journey!


Are you looking for a home personal trainer in Norfolk or Suffolk to help you shift a few inches for a holiday?

Do you dislike gyms and would like a more personalized approach to your fitness and weight loss?

Here at PMA Personal Training, we have personal trainers with over 16 years in the fitness industry.

Our clients tell us that we offer the most comprehensive service they’ve come across of all the personal trainers in Bury St Edmunds, Newmarket and Thetford.

This is because we offer activities that go beyond the scope of the average personal trainer. How do we know this? Well we offer Boxercise Speed Pads, Yoga, Kettlebells, pre and post natal exercise, cardiac rehabilitation and diet coaching and behavior change at a more advanced level than most personal trainers.

All this means that you will get a much more professional and rounded approach and therefore much better results as you will see yourself losing inches from your clothes size, muscles toning up and a feeling of general fitness and well being, all whilst having the most fun in your sessions!

We have offer personal training across Norfolk and Suffolk and cover areas such as Downham Market, Thetford, Bury St Edmunds, Newmarket and surrounding areas.

So please get in touch today and we will provide a friendly and professional service, straight to your home!

You can email us on pmapt@aol.com or call 07961 551874 and speak directly to a personal trainer in Norfolk and Suffolk!

We look forwards to hearing from you.

Best regards Peter – Master Personal Trainer, Yoga Teacher

Hey Guys,

I hope you are all well and enjoying this great British Summer? (Enjoy it while it lasts!)

Great news for clients who do Boxercise with me:

I’m so pleased to have passed 1st time the ‘Boxercise Advanced Instructor’ certificate by completing 3 courses – Boxercise Instructor, Advanced Skills / PT and Speed Pads with over 80% on each (only 30% of Instructors who try for it earn it).

I have to thank you all – my awesome Personal Training clients who have been patient and worked so hard with me whilst I have also developed my coaching skills with them.

By jointly working on our techniques together, our sessions strive not just to be good, but to be perfect!

By utilizing the correct technique, you will inevitably be burning more calories, becoming fitter and also improving your skills, which has a cross over effect into other sports and activities.

Really looking forwards to our up coming sessions together and thank you very much for your continued custom.

Best regards

Peter – Personal Trainer

Speed pads is the use of focus pads in reactive drills to improve punching hand speed, defensive reactions, especially head movement and counter punching. Speed pads looks really ‘flashy’ which is why you’ll often find world class trainers using this technique to showcase amazing punching combinations with their boxers, most notably Floyd Mayweather Jr.
You can learn this style of pad work to bring an unprecedented level of excitement and effectiveness to your workouts! PMA Personal Training will show you all you need to know and the ‘system’ behind it.

• By using kettlebells, you will note many benefits to your appearance, including weight loss, toning, fitness & core.

• Just recently, a qualified Podiatrist has been attending my kettlebell classes and has reported significant improvements to her ankle stability and overall balance.

• And in the media, Dr Chatterjee has published that weight training is ‘Ridiculously good for your health’

To achieve these unique benefits, contact us today and begin your journey at home to a leaner, fitter & more toned you!

Best regards Peter

Maintaining strength later in life “seems to be one of the best predictors of survival. When we add strength…almost…

Posted by Dr Chatterjee on Thursday, June 15, 2017

Are you looking for more excitement in your workouts? Would you like to burn over 1000 calories per hour? Do you love the idea of burning fat, toning up, getting fit and working core?

Boxercise does all of this and more!

Boxercise is regarded as ‘The only name people will ask for in boxing fitness’ and for good reason. Andy Wake, the founder has been a professional boxer and coach and he was even trusted by Muhammad Ali to produce a training course based on Ali’s techniques in his prime. The Speed Pads course is a result of this, although it’s no longer named this way as Boxercise chose not to spend a further £50,000 over a 5 year period to retain the title.

I’m so excited about this course as I’ve spent the past 7 months learning the ‘Advanced PT course’ techniques with clients and the feedback has been amazing, people who normally do not enjoy exercise tell me that they love it! Speed Pads is the next step and the most advanced Boxercise Course offered.

In the meantime, please check out the video here of Andy in action, demonstrating techniques which I’ll soon be using with you in your workouts! https://youtu.be/V6DMI2YA6XQ

Keep punching! Peter

Hi Guys,

Are you having trouble shedding those unwanted pounds of body fat and inches and would like to reduce a few inches in clothes size?

It’s been a while since I’ve sent out a newsletter – mainly due to the large volume of clients I’m training at present and also the success of my Kettlebell class (not that I’m complaining!).
So thank you all for your continued loyalty 🙂
Your diet and activity levels are equally important so here represents a proven formula to optimise both and thus begin losing between 1 and 2 pounds of body fat per week:

Use the formula attached to calculate your calories needed to lose weight (note the formula for gaining or maintaining weight is included here as well as a guide for calculating calories depending on how active you are):
This provides a rough estimate of how many calories you need to lose weight so I’d advise tracking your intake, using a phone app such as My Fitness Pal, for a couple of weeks so that you get a good idea of the quantities needed to sustain weight loss.

You’ll know if you are on track as you should lose between 1 and 2 pounds per week. If not, then reduce your calories intake by 10-25% and wait another few weeks to re assess.
Fat should make up 25% of your calories with just 10% of that from saturated fat and the remainder made up of healthier fats such as avocado, olive oil and oily fish. Fat contains 9 calories per gram.
Carbohydrates should make up around 55% of your calories and should be from mostly whole grain varieties such as porridge, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, potatoes, fruits and vegetables.
Protein should be around 20% of calories and should be from lean sources such as chicken, fish, skimmed milk or vegetarian sources such as beans.

Carbohydrates and protein provide 4 calories per gram (alcohol is 7 calories per gram).
How much activity do you need for weight loss?
Again this can vary from one individual to another but an excellent guide is to be active for at least 5 hours per week with half of that being fairly intensive (my Kettlebells, Vipr and Boxercise sessions are excellent examples here). The remainder can be ‘active living’ with excellent examples being my Yoga sessions, brisk walking, gardening, house work and washing the car.

A fitness tracker app for your phone or a Fit bit can be great ways to input this information, 10,000 steps a day can greatly move you towards this goal – if you are not there yet then aim for a 5% increase in steps per week – I suggest keeping a diary and tracking your progress to become much more mindful of this.
So there we have it – no ‘magic formula’ for weight loss but some scientific principles which can be fine tuned for each individual.

If you need any more help with your diet, including a full report on your current food diaries and activity levels and access to the ‘Lean Man System’ (designed to re educate you in diet success), please feel free to let me know in our next session or email: pmapt@aol.com.
Please visit our website for further details:


Good luck with your weight loss and see you all very shortly!

Best regards

Peter 🙂

Kettlebells Charles Burrell

Hire a Personal Trainer twice a week and gain FREE entry into our weekly Kettlebell Class in Thetford – Three sessions of high intensity training per week for exceptional results!

Call: 07961 551874 for more details
Email: pmapt@aol.com