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!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

What you don't know can hurt you!

I have been very concerned lately on how to educate friends and family about insulin resistance and carbohydrate consumption. I learned most of what I know now because of my diabetes diagnosis nearly two years ago. I have become educated although not in time to protect myself from getting diabetes. Knowing what I do know now, I just cringe when I see others eating things that I now consider to be poison. That may seem like too strong a word to use when we are talking about food but that is how I've come to see much of what most of us eat today.

Insulin resistance happens because for many years we eat more carbs than our bodies need. Carbs become glucose and glucose must be dealt with. It can't be left running around in the blood because it is toxic and causes all kinds of damage. So, insulin comes to the rescue! We need insulin. Obviously if we don't produce it we will be in trouble because there will be no way to process the glucose and transport it into our cells or to store it for later use.

The problem is that we were never meant to have insulin levels up all of the time. Prior to agriculture and processed foods our bodies only took in carbs from vegetables, fruits and nuts. Insulin took care of it easily. Not any more! When we eat our western diet of cereals and grains and breads etc. our insulin is working overtime, all of the time in fact. This is not good! We were not meant to have insulin levels high all day long. Over the years the insulin just can't keep up, the pancreas becomes less efficient at producing it.

Not everyone gets diabetes from this cycle of bodily abuse but there are many studies that now show that insulin resistance and too much insulin in the blood all the time is the cause of other diseases like heart disease, strokes and Alzheimer's. There are articles that cite studies which show that it may be hyperinsulinemia that causes heart attacks and not high cholesterol at all!   So, although a person may never be diagnosed with diabetes the constant high insulin may cause their death anyway or bring about their dementia.

If the food pyramid or the "newer" plate idea is really the right way to eat then why is it that we are all getting fatter and sicker? We all need to wake up to this epidemic and help our family and friends to understand it as well! Please go to my facebook group and get educated! The link is at the top of the page.