There seems to be some confusion about diabetes. Let’s discuss. Type 1 diabetes is a childhood disease where the body cannot produce insulin, a hormone produced by your pancreas that aids cells in their absorption of glucose or sugar. Your body needs insulin to fuel your cells where they store energy.
Type 2 diabetes differs in that your body’s cells become insulin resistant. The end result is the same. You cannot fuel your cells without the absorbed glucose you get from foods. Type 2 diabetes is considered a lifestyle-related disease that typically comes on later in life. But, we are now seeing a spike in the incidence of Type 2 diabetes in children. This too is widely believed to be lifestyle related.
A diet that largely consists of highly-processed foods leads to obesity, which is one of the markers for the onset of Type 2 diabetes, especially the presence of belly fat. Waistline fat is more detrimental to your health than fat you carry in your appendages or your hips and buttocks. A fatty abdomen crowds the major organs making it more difficult for them to function properly.
I’ve already talked about my Pharma experience with drugs to treat lifestyle-related illnesses. So, you know that those drugs are also the most lucrative for Pharma. If you have been diagnosed with “prediabetes” understand that this is not an actual disease. Prediabetes, also known as, Metabolic Syndrome, is a collection of comorbid symptoms that are precursors to Type 2 diabetes. They are not diabetes per se. They are markers for the inevitability of Type 2 diabetes.
UNLESS you make some lifestyle changes. Don’t you hate that? Again, I’m going to tell you that you need to lose weight around the middle, clean up your diet, and increase your exercise level. Are you seeing a pattern here? Concentrating your focus on these areas will markedly improve your overall health. High blood glucose levels that accompany high cholesterol, hypertension, and a bloated waistline are the precursors to a diabetes diagnosis. But, rather than start taking oral diabetes medications, know that you may be able to avoid Type 2 diabetes through improved diet and lifestyle choices.
But, your doctor is not trained to help you change your lifestyle to reduce and or eliminate the symptoms of Type 2 diabetes. Doctors are trained to prescribe drugs.
Just like surgeons are trained to perform surgery. Like prehypertension, prediabetes has an outlined protocol for the medical community to follow that sanctions docs to write you an oral diabetes prescription BEFORE you actually have diabetes! No, I’m not kidding.
If you’re wondering why doctors would write prescriptions for elevated blood sugar before recommending lifestyle changes, you need to remember their business model. Doctors rely on your office visits for their living. If you are on prescribed drugs, you have to come in regularly to be monitored. Doctors get your co-payment and that is supplemented by the reimbursement from the claim they submit to your insurance company. As it is the lab who does your bloodwork, and a nurse who draws your blood, your doctor only needs to review your numbers and write you a prescription. Seeing the pattern here? The doctor gets paid. The drug store gets paid. The drug companies get paid. Everyone profits but the patient. Prediabetes patients who don’t alter their lifestyle are ensured to stay on that medication for life. Is that really what you want? Taxing your body with drugs that you may not need because the system is gamed to play you – unless you take control of your own health?
I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt by guessing you want to control your health and your quality of life. So, what are the lifestyle modifications that would change your blood sugar levels and take you off the fast-track to Type 2 diabetes after you’ve received a prediabetes diagnosis? If you currently take a statin to reduce your cholesterol, know that elevated blood sugar is a side effect. Yes, statin use can lead to diabetes.
Eat a whole foods diet that is heavy on fresh organic fruits and vegetables and low on processed foods. In fact, I’m going to come out and recommend that you eliminate ALL processed food from your diet. Try it for two weeks. While you’re at it, for the same two weeks, eliminate white flour products, and all animal products like dairy, meat, and fish. Two weeks, people. It will not kill you. Then measure your blood sugar level. It will be lower. It’s okay to reintroduce some of these foods back into your diet. But, stick with organic animal flesh and dairy products from small independent farmers. And, limit the frequency of these foods in your diet to 1-2 times a week at the most. It’s okay to include starches as long as they are not overly processed like white bread or whole wheat bread that has been sweetened or has trans fats or GMO ingredients. To prevent diabetes, eat a diet of foods that are recommended for diabetics.
Yes, it’s going to take a bit of an overhaul on your shopping and eating habits. Yes, it’s going to be a bit less convenient than a drive-thru fast-food meal. BUT! We eat to live. Why not eat the absolute best ingredients you can while you’re on this planet?
Don’t have access to fresh healthy produce? Look into farmer’s markets. Think you can’t budget for healthy foods? Think again. All over the country, community gardens are springing up along with community CSAs who distribute fresh produce to low-income families. There are choices out there if you really want to live your best life. Choose health.
Are you exercising? No? That does not require a gym membership. There are plenty of things you could be doing to increase your metabolism. If you spend more than one hour a day in front of the television then I don’t even want to hear that you don’t have time to move your body. JUST DO IT! Literally, your life depends on it. Make the time to do this for yourself and you will not regret it because you will feel the positive effects in all areas of your life.
Finally. Got belly fat? It’s got to go. With changes in your diet and an increase in physical activity, you should see some weight loss almost immediately. But! You need to reduce that spare tire around your middle to lower your risk of developing diabetes. Find physical activities that engage your core. By strengthening your abdominal muscles, you will reduce fat in that area. I’m not saying you need six-pack abs to be healthy. I am saying you need to take a few inches of flab off that area of your body. Find a friend to work out with and to challenge you. It’s the best gift you can give each other.
So, go ahead. Have your blood work done. Find out what your numbers are and if your doctor diagnoses you with prediabetes, you know what to do. Take your health back into your own hands and try my recommendations. I’d love to hear how your body and your numbers respond to a healthy lifestyle makeover. Please write to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) in a couple of weeks and tell me how you are doing.