This is indeed turning into quite a few segments, but even with just talking about the basics of diabetes there’s a whole lot to talk about here, as you have seen thus far and as you will see as we proceed further.
We left off talking about the first of my five most important things to focus on as a diabetic, in contrast to Dr. Hite’s 4 M’s which we are looking at in this series, as a backdrop for making further comments on. I actually sort of like his, with some refinements which I’ve provided, but I decided to see what I would come up with if I had to put together such a list of 5.
My first one, measure, is pretty close to his one of monitor, but I take a broader approach to the concept, speaking about having quite a few things measured instead of his just telling us he wants us to monitor our blood sugar. That’s part of it, but just part of it. Information is knowledge, and while the benefit we get from it depends on how well we use it, a lot of these things are simply good to know.
I’ve been saying that the biggest danger in diabetes management is just focusing on your blood sugar, so if that’s all we’re told matters as far as what we measure, that’s not a good thing at all, and we need a broader perspective because high blood sugar is but one of several manifestations of diabetes, symptoms if you will, and we’ll never get to the heart of the problem or even address it at all if we don’t look to address what is behind it. You can’t get there from just testing your blood sugar.
My second one is manage, and this one encompasses his meals one but there’s more to manage than just your meals. His goal is primarily to eat what he calls a healthy diet, and it turns out this means what conventional authorities believe is a healthy diet generally, and it is quite debatable whether or not this is a healthy diet for anyone, but it is not a healthy diet for diabetics because it ignores our condition.
We have to speculate a little as far as why the diets they tell us to eat as diabetics simply ignores our disease, there are a number of reasons, but there is a lot of stupidity involved here. Perhaps it’s big medicine wanting us to ignore the use of diet to help us so we can sell more meds, but the people who prescribe these dietary approaches do mean well, they are just clueless, brainwashed perhaps.
We could speak of managing one’s diabetes with diet on a strategic or tactical level, and you actually need to be aware of both of these approaches. An example of using this strategically would be looking at how a certain diet may help or hurt us long term, and a good example of this would be how it would affect our insulin levels, whether they seek to normalize them or keep them high depending on the composition of the diet.
You do need the right strategy in the first place though, in this case the strategy of looking to normalize the levels of this hormone, a sound strategy indeed and one that is backed by science, but if your strategy is to look to increase insulin levels further, with the twisted thinking that we somehow have a relative deficiency because we are resistant to it and require more and more to control our blood sugar, well that strategy is going to just lead us down the path to our diabetes becoming worse and worse.
On the tactical side, well this is the day to day measuring of your blood sugar in reference to what certain foods do to it, the eating to your meter approach. So if you eat meal A and you go too high, and you eat meal B and you are better, you go with meal B. After all, this is what we’re after, to use diet to control our blood sugar.
So once you’ve tweaked things and are eating to your meter more, well you do want to make sure that you get adequate nutrition at the same time, and they will tell you that you need a certain amount of carbohydrate, but people generally can get by on very small amounts indeed and do great. Some diabetics only consume 10 grams a day of carbs and do amazingly well.
This doesn’t mean that we should all shoot for this, and many would not want to eat a diet that only has 10 grams of carbs a day in it, and perhaps the most important facet of a successful diet is being able to sustain it, because if not, well you’re just wasting your time seeking unrealistic goals.
We do want to cast off all of the myths out there concerning what a healthy diet is, such as it’s high in carb, low in fat, high in grains, low in salt, and so on. Not one of these things are desirable actually, even the low in salt one, and it’s been proven that salt restriction only lowers your blood pressure by a meaningless amount but increases mortality significantly. So as a person lies there dead after a heart attack we can say well at least we lowered his blood sugar by 3 or 4 points when he was alive, may he rest in peace.
I don’t want to go into all these myths here as that’s a topic for another day, and I do talk about these things elsewhere on the site, but what we need to do, must do, is question these things and go and learn about them more, look at the actual science out there, like the fact that they actually studied the correlation between salt intake and mortality rate and discovered that those who consumed the highest amount of salt lived the longest, the top quadrant, and the bottom quadrant, those who consumed the least, had a higher mortality rate.
Conventional medical thinking claims to be science based, and it is, but the science here they are talking about is economics, how to most efficiently promote sales, and that involves making our health worse, not better.
Once this data came out on salt intake and mortality, one prominent medical authority came out and said that we should rethink this, but in the end nothing changed, and salt restriction continues to be promoted as shamelessly as ever.
The truth is, salt restriction increases the level of a couple of hormones secreted by the adrenal glands that are strongly associated with cardiovascular disease, and this is the main reason people die sooner on low salt diets, so if we can get these hormones up by telling them to restrict salt, we can then tell them, wow your aldosterone and renin are up, that’s bad, let me write a prescription for you for that, or maybe several while we are at at.
When it comes to their dietary recommendations for us, salt restriction actually plays a more prominent role than carb restriction, they do tell us to tone the carbs down a bit, maybe put down the twinkies, but continue to eat a diet high in starch though, and starch raises blood sugar even more than sucrose does. Make sure you watch your salt intake though, and the diet itself is constructed around low salt and low fat, who cares if it puts your blood sugar up too much, we have meds for that actually, a bunch of them.
I’m only telling you this to give you a taste of why you can’t always believe what you read, especially from conventional medical authorities, who get many things wrong, and in many cases, doing the opposite of what they tell you is the right path.
Managing one’s diet is a big part of managing one’s diabetes, but it’s only a part, and we’ll discuss this further in Part 9.