I've spoken a lot already about carb intolerance, and deservedly so, as this is something that we do need to pay attention to a lot more as far as how we look to treat our diabetes. However, some people tend to go way too far with it as well, seeing carb intolerance as our disease rather than just a symptom of our disease that we need to pay attention to.
So this topic certainly deserves its own article. We really need to look at what carb intolerance really is in type 2 diabetes, and what is behind it, and what we need to be thinking about here apart from just looking to eat to our tolerance.
That last part is still extremely important, as if we don't eat to our tolerance level, at least generally speaking anyway, we will make ourselves sicker, without a doubt. Using medication to try to fix this problem isn't just a poor solution, it's a disaster, and this is by far the leading cause of accelerated progression of type 2 diabetes, in fact we'd be better off just ignoring our diabetes completely rather than using the strategy of using medication to treat our diabetes and not making the proper dietary changes to accompany the therapy.
I generally think that anti diabetes medications are a bad idea period, and I'll be going into that more and more as the site evolves, but there are people who do use them without too much harm, and those are the people who restrict their diets in concert with the medication.
The problem with medications is that they seek to lower blood sugar in the short term while ignoring the long term effects on our disease. A perfect example is the use of insulin, where too much insulin is the problem with most of us, not the solution.
So sure, more insulin will lower blood sugar temporarily, and that's what the body does as well in the earlier stages of the disease, but too much insulin increases insulin resistance among other things, and therefore it makes the disease itself harder and harder to treat, in other words it makes our diabetes worse over time, and significantly worse at that.
So the benefit of carb restriction is actually that it lowers our insulin requirements, and too much insulin is at the heart of the problem with type 2 diabetes, as I've been discussing in many articles and posts thus far. So it does tend to ameliorate our disease rather than progress it, and that should be what we are after.
If I'm starting a therapy or seeking one, what I want to know is what the long term effects of it will be, which means not over the next few months or even over the next year or two, I want to know what the road looks like beyond that.
This is what we do when we look at things like blood sugar and A1C by the way, we're looking long term, things happen years later with diabetes, the harm happens then. However it doesn't make sense to just look at these results in the short term without looking to where we are headed, and if someone told me that a certain medication will only help you for a year or two and then it will fail, and you'll be worse off in the end then you are now, that wouldn't turn me on too much.
Anyway, hyperinsulinemia, as important as it is, isn't at whole story here, we also need to talk about levels of another hormone, glucagon, and high glucagon is actually much more at the heart of the problem than high insulin is, although high insulin causes high glucagon and vice versa. We've spoken about glucagon a few times already, but I haven't even come close to saying enough about this.
So we tend to be able to tolerate less carbs than non diabetics, but why? It's not because they have more insulin then we do, as the opposite tends to be true. It's also not even because we have more peripheral insulin resistance. It's actually because we have too high glucagon levels, and in fact if you reduced our glucagon levels to normal and kept them there, we could eat whatever we wanted and have normal blood sugar, that's how central high glucagon is.
In fact, if we could manage glucagon levels, we'd be cured of diabetes, period. Now that's not easy to do by any means, in fact it's challenging enough just to reduce glucagon at all, but it can be done, and it's a task that's vital if we want to manage our diabetes as well as we can.
In fact, the reason why standard approaches fail and make us worse and worse over time is exactly because they not only don't improve our high glucagon problem, they make it worse. The overconsumption of carbs does this as well by the way, at least in of itself, which by the way doesn't mean that we are doomed to be on a carb restricted diet all of our life, and we might even be able to put ourselves in a position where we can eat more carbs and maybe even eat a high carb diet again, if, and only if, we can manage our glucagon levels better.
At the time of this writing, this is something I'm working on with myself, and let me tell you this is all the challenge one could hope for and then some. The goal of this, with me, and I'm not recommending this to people generally at this point by the way, is to get myself so I can eat whatever I want and not only not see a rise in blood sugar, but a reduction in it.
So how's that for a challenge? Actually it's been going pretty well lately, I'm eating things I never dreamed I could tolerate again, and I'm tolerating them now. This isn't what you think though, it's not about indulgence at all, that part is nice though, but the goal here is actually to lower my blood sugar, and I'm finding that as I bring up my AMPK levels, my body doesn't have the same need to oversecrete glucagon, and with that lowered, well it's the glucagon that drives us way up, not the meal, not even a huge plate of macaroni, and this is what I'm seeing with myself.
Now it took me quite a while to get this down to the point where I can now do this, so this is not just a matter of saying let's eat what we want, and if you don't get this right then you'll be doing yourself lots of harm. I'll be speaking more about some of the things I'm taking and some of the strategies I'm using, and digestion by the way is a big part of this, which will probably surprise a lot of people.
Anyway, high glucagon is the real beast here, the one we have to slay, the liver provides the lion's share of our blood glucose, much more than our diets do, and glucagon is the evil prince that is guiding it to do it's dirty deeds. Control glucagon, and you control not only type 2 diabetes, but type 1 as well, which will come as a real shock to just about everyone.