The beach was beautiful and Mitch and I had a great vacation day. Blaze is doing well and life is good! But…but…there is something I need help understanding. When I was growing up, I remember knowing a few kids that had Type 1 diabetes and everyone’s heart broke for them. While it wasn’t the end of the world, they would have to take injections and alter their eating, activities and so much more for the rest of their lives. They were at risk for all kinds of premature illnesses as a result of their disease. How my heart ached in adulthood for a friend (who happens to share my first name) who’s brilliant child would be cursed with this burden of juggling his day to life with this illness.
But a day cannot go by without hearing about how Type 2 diabetes is on the rise in disproportionate rates! Just yesterday I read that by 2050 one 1 out of ever 3 people will be diagnosed with the disease. WHY IS THIS OK? Why, as a society, are we sitting back and gorging ourselves on the wrong foods and shunning exercise only to risk the same life complications as those born with the disease? Is it that we feel once we reach adulthood we are “supposed” to come down with certain illnesses? Age, in and of itself is NOT a reason for illness!
While I do think many of us become complacent as we get older, I think, in many cases we THINK we know how to avoid this illness, but perhaps our information is dated, or at best, we are getting only some of the information we need to know to keep our glucose levels in tact. As an example, most of us know that keeping our sugar intake low is a good way to keep our insulin stable. Did you know, though, that the countries with the highest intake of animal protein and animal fat are the same countries with the highest rate of diabetes? Conversely the countries with the lowest rates of diabetes live on a diet that is relatively lower in protein (particularly animal protein), fat and animal fat.
In fact, Dr. James Anderson, one of the most prominent scientists studying diet and diabetes today, got fantastic (and surprising) results in a study that examined the effects of a high-carb, high-fiber, low-fat diet on 25 Type 1 diabetics and 25 Type 2 diabetics. It is important to know that none of these 50 people were over-weight and all of them were taking insulin shots to control their blood sugar levels. The first week they ate mostly plant-based foods and just a little bit of cold-cut meat. Then the doctor switched them over to a an experimental “veggie” diet for the following 3 weeks.
He measured their blood sugar levels, weight and medication requirements. The results were very impressive, especially with regard to Type 1 patients, as they are UNABLE to produce insulin and one would think it difficult for dietary changes to impact them. After just 3 weeks on the plant-based diet, the Type 1 patients “were able to lower their insulin medication by an average of 40%.” Needless to say, the Type 2 patients had even better results as they are much more treatable. On the high-carb, high-fiber, low-fat diets, after 4 weeks, 24 out of the 25 Type 2 patients were able to discontinue their insulin. That means all but one had basically reversed their disease. One of the men in the study had been taking 35 units a day of insulin, with a 21 year history of the disease. At the end of 4 weeks he had decreased his medication to just 8 units a day, and after 8 more weeks of following the “diet” at home, his need for insulin completely vanished.
Many people still praise the effects of a high-protein diet for weight loss. Clearly, reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is the best way to avoid disease. This causes a bit of a dilemma in many minds. How can we possibly lose weight on a high-carb diet? We need to be clear about which carbs we are talking about as many of us say we are on a low-carb diet, but what we really are on is a low-fat, low-sugar, low-crap diet!!! Yes, we all agree we need to cut out the cake, cookies, sweets (these are bad for us because they are high in fat and sugar and have NO nutritional value). We know that the “whites” like pasta and bread are also quite empty foods and should be deleted (or eaten minimally) on a weight-loss diet. CARBS ARE NOT THE ENEMY THOUGH! Veggies all have carbs in them (they also have protein and lots of other nutrients) as do grains and beans (also nutritionally dense) and fruit. These are NOT the carbs that are making us fat and sick!!! Eating huge portions of animal protein may cause some chemical reactions that make us lose weight but in the long run, this way of eating is making us sick and even killing us!
I realize that for many of us changing our lifestyles radically is not easy or practical. I, for one, don’t think it’s easier or more practical to be sick, take medication daily, risk heart disease, stroke, blindness or even amputation. As Dr. Colin Campbell says so well “Radically changing our diets may be impractical, but it might also be worth it.” I can’t imagine one of us that would rather be sick when we can CHOOSE healthy.
For more excellent studies on how you can maintain or regain your health, I encourage reading The China Study, by Dr. Colin Campbell. It will probably change your life, and maybe even save it! It did just that for Bill Clinton (and if it was good enough for him, it’s good enough for me!) Though I love to “spit” it about health and wellness, I don’t often have an “in your face” attitude. In this case, it is so frustrating to me to see friends, family, students, etc., daily battling demons that they CAN control.