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Diabetes Diet

The Rest Trap

Learning that you have diabetes can be overwhelming. All at once your life has changed.

In fact that is really good. Now you can be healthier than you ever were — if you get more active, lose weight, take your medicine, and cut your stress.

Those are the essentials. The rest are optional tweaks and theory.

Like this one today. The journal Medical Hypotheses deals only in theory, as its title implies.

This journal has an “article in press” that it will publish soon. It’s not online yet.

One of the authors, Alexander Dynyak, M.D., lives and works in Almaty, Kazakhstan. If you don’t know where that is, join the crowd. But Kazakhstan is in Eurasia and is the ninth largest country in the world in land area. It is also the world’s largest landlocked country.

Another author, Andrey Dynyak, is currently pursuing his M.D. degree in Ukraine. Andrey also publishes their research findings on diabetesnewfrontiers.org and sent me a copy of the Medical Hypotheses study.

The study has the usual technical title: “Diabetes mellitus: Hypoxia of the islets of Langerhans resulting from the systematic rest prone on the back after a meal?” In plain English, that means that the islet cells in our pancreas might not get enough oxygen and cause diabetes if we lie down in the two hours after we eat.

Who would have thought of that! I certainly never did. But the islets are especially susceptible to oxygen deficiency. This study investigated whether the pressure on the pancreas of food in the stomach after a meal might be related to diabetes. To test their hypothesis, the authors surveyed people with diabetes compared with a control group. The people with diabetes numbered 91 and those in the control group numbered 20. Every one of the people with diabetes had been resting after eating at least three or four times each week. But only 2 of those in the control group, or 10 percent, did.

Then the researchers attempted to get the people with diabetes to change their resting behavior. The researchers recommended that the people with diabetes not lie down within two hours of a meal. That’s because this is the average time it takes for food to pass through our stomachs.

But only 20 percent of the people with diabetes were consistent in not resting during those two hours. Of those, however, the researchers found general improvements, an increased capacity for work, better blood glucose control, and less need for diabetes medication.

The article indicates that resting during the two hours after a meal might lead to diabetes. I wondered if this might, however, imply that people who already have diabetes should also avoid resting then.

“Yes, that is basically what it implies,” Andrey Dynyak replied. “In general, a passive rest within one to two hours after a meal in a recumbent position should be avoided. However, being more specific for diabetes, a passive rest after a meal prone on the back or reclined is what should be avoided.

“Unfortunately, it is becoming such a common and usual behavior that by many is regarded as normal. Fortunately, it is easy to test, and positive results can be seen shortly after changing this specific behavior.”

I think that these far-off researchers might be onto something. It’s definitely worth testing if you have been lying down during the two hours that it takes for your stomach to digest your food. It won’t make your life worse, and could well make it a lot better.

This article is based on an earlier version of my article published by HealthCentral.

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  • Tianshi at

    The state of your living is also important.Loneliness is a bed for diseases,learn how to break it by joining community.Naturally exercise helps abudantly

  • David Mendosa at

    Dear Sarah,

    Great idea! Walking after meals also prevents your blood glucose level from going too high.

    Best regards,


  • Sarah at

    wow — I recline after meals every chance I get. I always thought this was a result of health conditions (especially hypothyroidism — digestion takes a lot of energy when energy is in small supply!), but I never imagined it could be a cause. I’ve heard that taking a slow walk after meals is best; maybe I’ll be trying that out from now on?