Yesterday marked the 24th annual American Diabetes Association Alert Day, encouraging Americans to take the Diabetes Risk Test to assess their potential risk for type II diabetes.
Type II diabetes, formerly known as Adult Onset Diabetes, underwent a recent name change because the disease is now pandemic afflicting an estimated 26,000,000 (twenty six million) adults and now children. Twenty-five percent of that number don’t even know they have the disease and more than three times that amount, approximately 79,000,000 (seventy-nine million) Americans of all ages are considered to be pre-diabetic and at high risk.
The reason for the epidemic rise is self-evident; poor nutrition, inactivity and chronic stress.
I ask you to consider the following rhetorical question:
What if the greatest advancement in the science of human health and prevention of diabetes was actually a step backwards…into the past?
History provides clear evidence of what I believe is the greatest contributing factor to type II diabetes: carbohydrates
For the first 3.5 million years of our existence man thrived on a diet high in protein, fat and exceptionally low in carbohydrates. It is noteworthy that carbohydrate sources were limited to health promoting highly fibrous fruits and vegetables because most of the foods we know and consume today did not exist.
It was only 10,000 years ago… a mere blink in time in the scope of human history that agriculture entered the scene. Genetically speaking the overnight shift in diet reversing the essential nutrients of protein and fat in favor of non-essential grains had devastating consequences. Man became shorter in stature, bones more brittle, tooth decay and diabetes.
The surge in diabetes today is a result the post agriculture industrial age of even greater consumption of grains in particular highly processed grains coupled with the detrimental consequences of physical inactivity.
Our pre-agriculture ancestors had it right… we have it wrong.
Here is the long answer:
To make matters worse the duplicitous nature of the USDA supporting the big business of agriculture and all foods regardless of nutritional inadequacies- while simultaneously telling Americans with bias what they should eat… especially the ubiquitous message sponsored by the USDA “eat more whole grains” only exacerbates the problem.
Add the USDA’s endorsement of milk to the equation and it is easy to see why diabetes now exists in epic proportions amongst our youth. Populations with the highest consumption of milk share the highest incidence of insulin dependant diabetes.
We are the only species that consumes milk past the critical breast-feeding stage of life. The gene that produces the enzyme to tolerate lactose (the form of carbohydrate or sugar found in dairy) is turned off as we shift to solid food. While the dairy board lobbyists and the USDA have convinced the public that milk is somehow a necessity and natural. I ask you to instead question the past… Aren’t you just a little curious how we survived robustly for well over 3 million years without the aide of another species lactation?
On the issue of grains, while whole grains are better than processed grain products, humans are not designed to consume copious amounts of carbohydrates… period. We just do not have the genetic capacity and when you add sedentary lifestyle into the mix – diabetes is the obvious result.
The USDA’s nutritional advice just doesn’t make any sense… and is more likely the cause of type II diabetes. The USDA deliberately points out the relationship of obesity to diseases like diabetes but does somebody really need to point out to the USDA that people with diabetes really need to carefully monitor blood sugar… and sugar is uniquely synonymous with carbohydrates.
Yet the USDA stands by the ridiculous recommendation that up to 65% of a “healthy” diet should consist of the non-essential category of carbohydrates. If we continue on this idiotic path, without change and reducing carbohydrates especially whole grains, processed grains, simple sugars and lactose from milk…the entire planet is well its way to becoming both obese and diabetic.
The USDA advice, which purports to be based on the latest and greatest science, fails to mention to the consumer the direct likelihood of diabetes, heart disease and obesity to consumption of simple sugars and high carbohydrate processed foods.
But then it would be difficult to suggest that 65% of your diet should be in the form of potentially life threatening and non- essential carbohydrates wouldn’t it?
What the previous USDA pyramid does state: consequently it is important to choose carbohydrates wisely. And further admits:
Consumption of added sugars provides calories while providing little, if any, of the essential nutrients. …
The Pyramid then goes on to completely contradict itself by then stating: Choosing plenty of these foods (meaning carbohydrates), within the context of a calorie-controlled diet, can promote health and reduce chronic disease risk.
Then a few sentences later flip flops yet again with…
However, the greater the consumption of foods containing large amounts of added sugars, the more difficult it is to consume enough nutrients without gaining weight.
So which is it – eat plenty or eat sparingly?
In laymen’s terms, all carbohydrates can be identified as a sugar… with the exception of indigestible fiber. Sugars cause the pancreas to release insulin – exactly how much sugar… and the source, meaning the greater the glycemic impact of the carbohydrate the more insulin that will be released.
All nutrients pass through the liver, when sugar arrives, the liver initially and quickly converts the carbohydrates to a storage form of glucose called glycogen – glycogen is only capable of being stored in the muscle cells and in very limited amounts in the liver.
The glycogen flows through the blood stream and once the muscle cells are full the excess carbohydrates / glycogen is returned to the liver to be converted into triglycerides and stored as fat.
Insulin is the hormone released when we eat carbohydrates. It overpowers all other hormones and is in fact the only hormone responsible for keeping blood sugar from elevating too high.
Conversely there are a handful of hormones that insure blood sugar does not dip too low. Glucagon for one is the hormone released when we eat Protein – And has opposite powers and abilities – instead of storing fat like insulin…Glucagon from protein is responsible for the breaking into or the spending the contents of the cells.
Together there job is to balance blood sugar levels, which consequently keeps you from biting the big one and dying.
Excess sugar is toxic – without insulin blood sugar would rise so high – that the condition of metabolic acidosis would occur. This was the unfortunate fate of diabetics before the discovery of synthetic insulin… unable to produce enough natural insulin they would fall into a diabetic coma and die.
Can you imagine the carnage that would exist in the world today had insulin not been discovered. And I remind you insulin is not a cure, there is no cure for diabetes once you have it.
Being insulin dependant for the rest of your life may be a great retirement plan for drug company executives, but at best insulin slows death, it is not a cure…diabetics continually risk incidence of a coma and as the disease advances expect glaucoma, blindness, kidney failure, amputations and death. Diabetes is currently the six leading cause of death in North America.
I believe more than any other factor – managing insulin naturally through the foods we eat can determine your overall health, the rate at which you physically age and ultimately how long you will live.
Prevention is another matter entirely, reducing or eliminating consumption of what is likely the root of the cause…highly processed carbohydrates, high fructose corn syrup and please stop eating highly processed cereals that are the equivalent of eating candy for breakfast.
Managing insulin is not only paramount to controlling body composition but can also significantly reduce the risks of diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and obesity related diseases.
Insulin is the hunger hormone… and if you are unaware of insulin’s addictive powers a vicious cycle can easily ensue… here’s how. When we eat high glycemic carbohydrates like the kind commonly found in processed foods – Insulin goes to work, and does its job of lowering blood sugar so well… that blood sugar can drop so low – that it then causes a junky like reaction triggering cravings for more high carbohydrate foods – and the cycle can repeat itself over and over again – raising blood sugar, causing more insulin to be released … with no where for all this sugar to go, the liver gets taxed and now too is in grave danger. The liver tries to keep up converting all the excess carbs into triglycerides and storable form of fat. And its just that easy…But obesity isn’t the only problem, it’s just one of the symptoms.
Eventually this can lead to a condition known as insulin resistance – the glycogen in the muscles cells remains full – especially if you are sedentary… your not moving so your not spending the muscles contents. In laymen terms, the muscles get tired of being asked if they have room and become resistant to the persistence of insulin.
Your triglycerides levels rise… as does your levels of insulin because the pancreas keeps on producing insulin to deal with the excess sugars.
The fat cells then become a homeless shelter for all the excess sugar that gets sent back to the liver to be converted to triglycerides to be stored as fat and body fat accumulates.
Modern day humans’ inability to deal with modern day diets and lack of exercise has resulted in a newly named pre-cursor to diabetes disease called metabolic syndrome… sugar literally runs out of places to go – the liver gets tired of producing triglycerides and fat begins to accumulate around mid section and the liver begins to fail.
If blood sugar continues to rise beyond the capacity of your ability to produce insulin…that will result in type II diabetes and in the process your liver becomes a French delicacy serving of fois gras. – Which if you didn’t know, literally means fatty liver
Pate’ or fois gras is yet another animal feedlot nightmare analogy. Considered a delicacy in some… parts fois gras is a carbohydrate-induced destruction of the liver made by force-feeding high glycemic carbohydrates to geese…
Interesting … don’t you think…whether we are looking to fatten cattle as quickly and cheaply for slaughter or we are trying to engorge liver with fat to create a plate of pate’ excessive amounts of whole grain carbohydrates are the feed of choice.
Yet for some reason government sponsored nutritional advisers fail to see the relationship of excessive carbohydrate consumption or what I suggest is essentially factory farmed sedentary humans. Obesity rates have steadily continued to climb ever since teh low fat – high carbohydrate diet has been advocated by the USDA …Maybe it’s because Insulin resistance can also affect the brain and the ability to focus – so they don’t actually know how stupid the advice is.
Take the American Diabetes Association Risk Test to access you risk and consider the idea of revamping your diet and including exercising into your lifestyle.
While I disagree with one aspect of the American Association Diabetes Risk Test – BMI is substandard indicator compared to knowing and maintaining a healthy body fat percentage – that is a rant for another day or you can review the history of my blogs – and their I will reveal the shortcoming of BMI and why body fat percentage must abolish and replace the antiquated system of BMI.
Going Against the Grain:
Choose carbohydrates wisely – the best choices are real foods – nothing processed that comes in a box. Fiber rich fresh fruits and vegetables are in line with history – enjoy them with ample amounts of protein and essential fats.
© 2012 – Copyrights Grant Roberts, All Rights Reserved
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