The Diabetes epidemic is accelerating along with the obesity epidemic. What was once called Adult Onset Diabetes, it is now called Type 2 Diabetes, since diabetes has increased over 1000% in children during the last decade. One in three children born today will have Diabetes in their lifetime. Currently worldwide, there are nearly 100 million people affected by Diabetes and over 20 million Americans.
Unfortunately, the conventional medicine community tells us that diabetes is not reversible and controlling your blood sugar with drugs or insulin will protect you from organ damage and death. This is not correct. Diabetes is an entirely preventable lifestyle disease. In a report in The New England Journal of Medicine, Walter Willett, MD, PhD, and his colleagues from the Harvard School of Public Health demonstrated that 91 percent of all Type 2 Diabetes cases could be prevented through lifestyle and dietary changes.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes first starts with insulin resistance (or pre-diabetes), when the body is insensitive to the effects of insulin in response to a diet full of empty calories, abundant in easily digestible and quickly absorbable sugars and carbohydrates (bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, sugar, etc.). Consequently, the body needs more insulin to do the same job of keeping your blood sugar even. Higher insulin levels are the first sign of a problem. The high insulin leads to out of control appetite and increasing weight gain around the abdomen. Often people experience fatigue after meals, sugar cravings, high triglycerides, low HDL, high blood pressure, problems with blood clotting, as well as increased inflammation. These are the signs and symptoms or metabolic syndrome which is associated with insulin resistance. Metabolic syndrome can be identified decades before you get diabetes, thus helping you prevent diabetes entirely. The complications of insulin resistance and diabetes, such as heart attacks, strokes, amputations, blindness, kidney failure, nerve damage, dementia, cancer, and impotence, are detectable decades before and totally preventable. In fact many people with pre-diabetes never get diabetes, but they are at severe risk just the same. If you have a family history of obesity (especially around the belly), diabetes, early heart disease, or even dementia you are even more prone to this problem. Unfortunately, most people do not know that they have reached this stage until it had evolved into diabetes.
Diabetes and Insulin Resistance are Reversible! Get Diagnosed Early
It all starts with too much increased blood sugar levels, which causes the release of too much insulin in the blood. High insulin levels are the first sign of a problem. The higher the insulin levels get, the more insulin resistant your cells become. As your insulin levels rise, your body starts to age and deteriorate. You experience increased, out of control appetite, increasing weight gain around the middle, which causes inflammation and oxidative stress, as well as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, low HDL, high triglycerides, increased clotting of the blood, and increased rates of cancer, Alzheimer's, and depression. These changes are the result of too much insulin and insulin resistance. In this stage, you do not need more insulin in your blood to lower your blood sugar. Instead, you need to make your cells more sensitive to insulin.
There is a continuum of risk from slightly abnormal insulin and blood sugar to full blown diabetes. Therefore, it is important to diagnose pre-diabetes state early, because the damage begins with the slightest changes in insulin and blood sugar. Doctors can and should diagnose pre-diabetes decades before diabetes occurs, and before any damage is done to your body. In a recent study, anyone with a fasting blood sugar of over 87 was at increased risk of diabetes. The lowest risk group had a blood sugar less than 81. Unfortunately, pre-diabetes remains often undiagnosed until very late, when it has become Type 2 Diabetes. Most doctors are not concerned until the blood sugar is over 110 mg/dL or worse, over 126 mg/dL, which is diabetes. Therefore, I recommend early testing for anyone who has a family history of Type 2 Diabetes, central abdominal weight gain, or abnormal cholesterol. These blood tests are covered by all insurances. Do not wait until your sugar is high, get tested for insulin resistance and diabetes if you have any of the following signs and symptoms:
- Belly fat
- Fatigue after meals
- Sugar cravings
- High triglycerides
- Low HDL
- High blood pressure
- Problems with blood clotting
- Increased inflammation
I recommend that you eliminate the risk of the long-term complications of diabetes by getting tested for insulin resistance or pre-diabetes and addressing the cause of your symptoms as early as possible in the process.
Why is Something so Tasty so Bad for Us?
Humans are highly adapted to a nutrient-dense, low-sugar, high-fiber diet rich in omega-3 fats. But, very few of us are eating this way now. Consequently, when our food is not in harmony with our genetic requirements, we turn on genes that promote diabetes. Yes, our genes are not our destiny. We can turn off bad genes and turn on good genes. However, through poor dietary choices, we can turn on detrimental genes and suppress beneficial genes. This adds a whole new dimension to food, not just a mean to achieve satiety but as a controller of your genetic destiny. But it does not stop here. These genetic changes that occur in response to our lifestyle choices are transmitted you our children and our grandchildren. Is this the inheritance you want to leave them?
Dietary Recommendations to Reverse Insulin Resistance and Diabetes
In order to prevent and reverse insulin resistance and diabetes, you must begin by balancing your blood sugar, reducing inflammation and oxidative stress, and improving your liver detoxification. You should eat a low glycemic whole foods diet, high in fiber, rich in colorful fruits and vegetables, and low in sugars and flours. This way of eating includes anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, detoxifying foods, plenty of omega-3 fats (or fish) and omega-9 fats (avocado and olive oil), soy products, beans, nuts, and seeds. All these foods help prevent and reverse diabetes and insulin resistance. By eating this way, it will turn on all the genes that promote a healthy metabolism and prevent aging and age-related diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease. All of my patients receive customized dietary recommendations and, when appropriate, I recommend specific dietary supplements to restore their insulin sensitivity.
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