Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sugar Nation

I've been reading a book I just got from the library. It is called "Sugar Nation". I am not even half way through the book and I am more shocked than ever before, even frightened perhaps with what I am reading. Perhaps being frightened is a good thing in this case. O'connell states "Your bloodsteam is supposed to contain a teaspoon or so of glucose at any given moment. Tissues begin suffering damage when this small amount rises by even one-fourth." He continues; "Sugar gunks up the works".

He also makes it clear that it's not just sugar to be concerned about but insulin levels as well. If you are a type 2, you most likely have plenty of insulin already in your blood trying desperately to push the excess sugar into the cells. It just isn't working because the cells have no room for more sugar. The constantly high insulin levels are also causing damage to the heart and storing more fat. The blood sugar spikes and crashes, according to the author, cause damage to the inner walls of our arteries. Three out of four diabetics will eventually succumb to heart attack and we are more than twice at risk for a stroke. We are aging twice as fast as someone who doesn't have the condition and we've most likely had it going on for years before diagnosis. Millions still don't even know they have it. Many die even before they are diagnosed with diabetes. They were on their way to it but they had a coronary heart attack before they were ever diagnosed.

This is scary stuff! Why do I post this? Because we all better start thinking seriously about our own lives. The book talks about the denial of the seriousness of diabetes. People rate the threat level of cancer and heart disease at about 9-10 on a scale of 1-10. They tend to rate the threat of diabetes at 4-5, even though diabetes leads to heart disease, stroke, blindness and loss of limbs!

There is hope though. Consider it a bit of a blessing that you at least were told that you have diabetes. You have the opportunity to make changes and manage, even reverse this and save your organs. Again, O'connell, a type 2 himself says that diet and exercise is key! It is diet and exercise that stops the cycle of high's and lows. If you don't feed your body as many carbs, eventually, your cells will open their doors and let the insulin do it's job. Your insulin levels also come down because you are not in a constant state of sugar highs and lows. Your body begins to normalize. Regular exercise is a key to get the cells to start using the sugar that is in them. But we have to stop eating the 35-60+ carbs a meal that the mainstream tells us to eat. As O'connell says "Spoon feeding more sugar to a disease whose main symptom is high blood sugar doesn't make a lick of sense. Would you feed someone who is lactose intolerant... lactose?"

There seems to be a lack of serious concern about diabetes in this country and around the world. Oh, there is concern! You see the headlines all the time. But the diet that is recommended by the ADA and other health organizations keeps increasing the carb levels allowed for diabetics. Diabetics are urged to eat many times more carbs today than they were allowed to eat 3 decades ago. "They deserve to eat what everyone else eats" they say. If you were horribly allergic to strawberries would they tell you that you deserve to eat them and just shoot yourself with some epinephrin after you eat them? Of course not! But this is what they recommend to treat diabetes. Eat lots and lots of carbs and just cover the sugar surge with medication. That will only work for so long!

This book is a wake-up call and it should be read by every doctor and diabetes educator in my opinion. I'm sure that there is much more to learn since I am only half way through it. Reading it has motivated me even more! Find a way to read this book! Find it at your library if you wish but read it!

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