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High-sugar diets could lead to health problems for drivers

High-sugar diets could lead to health problems for drivers

In a recent coaching session with a new driver who was referred to me, I was reminded why I’m such a strong advocate for driver pre-screenings. This driver went in for his normal certification exam and was shocked when the doctor told him his blood sugar count was over 300.

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This gentleman weighted 155 lbs. and had no previous indicators. I’ve seen this happen numerous times with
elevated blood pressure readings as well.

You don’t have to weigh 300-plus pounds to be a potential candidate for pre-hypertension or pre-diabetes. Either of these health conditions can attack anyone at any time. A diet consisting primarily of foods high on the glycemic index —those with high amounts of quickly digestible carbohydrates, or sugars — can increase a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease.

As we know, these conditions don’t happen overnight. They happen over time, especially when you live the lifestyle of a professional CDL driver. Each of the challenges that new driver and I talked about — finding better food options on the road, adjusting crazy sleep patterns and, of course, the ability to get into a workout routine — all contribute to the driver’s condition.

A common thread I’ve seen between drivers is a lack of consistent medical evaluation. For many drivers, their last visit to a doctor for anything, including a preventative checkup, was their last DOT re-certification exam. Growing up in a trucking family, I get it. After being on the road, who wants to go sit in a doctor’s office a Saturday morning? (Back in the day, when you could see a doctor on a Saturday.)

Slowly — and I do mean slowly — carriers are starting to offer screenings and are installing self-check health stations so drivers can stay on top of their health. However, this movement is slow-moving, so I urge you as drivers to take control. Visit www.higi.com to find a self-check station so you can work toward managing your health.

Also please check out this article, International Tables of Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load Values, which can be found online at care.diabetesjournals.org/content/31/12/2281. Here you will find information on food values, as well as suggestions for products to stay away from.

Please, peek under your personal hood to see what’s going on in your own engine room.

Bob Perry has spent nearly the past four decades on a mission to educate professional drivers and share life-changing products and services to help them live healthier lives while on the road. Recognized throughout the transportation industry, from bus drivers to over-the-road professional drivers, Bob Perry has played an important role in creating a paradigm shift helping regulatory agencies, private and public sector entities, and consumers understand the current health challenges of the professional driver. He has participated as a wellness advocate in several roundtable discussions, large audience groups and small forums as well as going "curbside" through a national truck stop tour. Bob’s articles have been featured in The Trucker and a number of other national transportation industry publications and is the host of a weekly wellness call produced by Rolling Strong. Bob has been a regular guest on RedEye Radio and Land-Line Radio, and is often an invited guest on Sirius radio shows. He has been featured in the New York Times, Men's Health Magazine, Drug Store News, American Road Magazine, WSJ, NPR, ABC National Radio, as well as hundreds of daily newspapers. He has appeared on television news shows across the nation, including a featured TV segment on ABC NightLine News.
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