So we have a working definition of diabetes now, which is more than just high blood sugar by the way, which is actually just a symptom. Diabetes is a essentially breakdown in glucose homeostasis, that's the definition I want to use actually as it encompasses the problem pretty nicely.
So the first thing that we notice is that this doesn't necessarily involve high blood sugar or even higher than normal blood sugar, when I say breakdown in glucose homeostasis, which is another word for proper regulation, well our blood sugar can be perfect but we can be suffering from some pretty serious breakdowns in this, for instance if we have insulin resistance, or high insulin levels, or high glucagon levels, or high adrenal hormone levels, or what have you.
So the problems start long before we see high enough blood sugar levels to merit the diagnosis of diabetes, and even long before pre-diabetes is diagnosed. The body is pretty tough actually and it's pretty clear that as type 2 diabetics we spend many years suffering from glucose regulation problems before it gets bad enough that our blood sugar starts to rise at all.
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes already though, none of this matters, it's way too late for that, but diabetics do tend to worry about these things too much, thinking that if they had done this or that differently then maybe they wouldn't have gotten the diabetes. It doesn't even matter if that is true or not, it's all water under the bridge now and if we care about our health we don't want to let misplaced negative thoughts cause us stress needlessly and worsen our diabetes.
If you haven't been diagnosed with diabetes yet, well conventional medicine doesn't really care about you, especially if you don't have high blood sugar yet, which is what they see diabetes as consisting of.
So we don't screen people for diabetes properly, and we don't even give them any good advice either, other than some real simple things such as reduce your intake of sugar, which is something everyone should be doing anyway, and keep in mind that as a non diabetic you are part of the everyone crowd anyway, since we don't test for risk factors like high insulin levels generally.
So if you go to the American Diabetes Association (ADA) site, they do provide you with some advice here on how to reduce your risk of diabetes, and sorry to say, most of it is laughable.
A lot of the advice here actually has nothing to do with diabetes, like cholesterol and high blood pressure, that's a totally separate issue actually and although a lot of diabetics do have high cholesterol and high blood pressure, neither of these raise the risk for diabetes.
Obesity is definitely a risk factor though, and they do get credit for mentioning that one. They also cite unhealthy eating as a risk factor, but their idea of healthy eating is a low fat diet, the worst diet for both increasing the risk of diabetes and managing it.
The ADA diet, and the recommendations of conventional medicine in general, is famously stupid, as it seeks to limit things like calories, sodium, and fat, and carbohydrate restriction gets thrown under the bus here really, as it must when you preach a low fat diet. Even with diabetes though, even with suffering from a disease of carb intolerance, low fat trumps this, even though the evidence is clear how harmful low fat diets are, which they ignore.
So anyway, here we are, with diabetes, now we get their attention. So they now want us restricting fat, calories, sodium, cholesterol, don't worry about carbs too much, just eat healthy, their idea of healthy that is. If this diet was actually healthy then it would be better, you'd be neglecting your disease but at least you'd be eating healthy, although sadly, this is an unhealthy diet, you're you're both ignoring your condition and worsening health overall at the same time.
Diet doesn't really matter as far as blood sugar goes anyway, they have medications for that, and so if you eat a diet that drives up your blood sugar, well they can give you something to fix that. In the end, this poor dietary advice no doubt sells a lot more medication, both for diabetes and for other conditions as well, especially the ones they are trying to treat with this diet, cardiovascular diseases.
Dietary control is at the heart of good diabetes management though, and you can't just make up for a bad diet with diabetic medication, you may control blood sugar for a time but it will require unnecessary amounts of medication, and especially when you elevate insulin levels and insulin resistance too much with diet, elevating these further with meds just makes the situation worse over time, and more and more aggressive medication therapy is needed until things eventually get too out of hand and you may be forced to settle with both being over-medicated and not achieving adequate blood sugar control as well.
I'll have a lot more to say about all of this in future articles, but this is certainly not how to manage diabetes properly.