In the last blog post I commented on a very good video on diabetes by Dr. Sarah Hallberg, part of the Ted series actually, and one post wasn't enough to do this justice so here's part 2 of my discussion of it. I invite you to watch the video as well, it's only 18 minutes and is way better than videos that you normally see on diabetes.
We left off talking about the pathogenesis of diabetes and how high insulin causes higher and higher degrees of insulin resistance, and how a high carb diet causes this, and especially if you already have insulin resistance, and especially if you have enough insulin resistance where the body is no longer able to control your blood sugar even with high amounts of insulin, which is what type 2 diabetes is actually.
So at this point, we become very carb intolerant, and eating too many carbs has at the very least accelerated the progression of our diabetes, and now we can't consume carbs in anything but modest amounts without their raising our blood sugar to unacceptable levels, so you would think that anyone with a brain would suggest that we restrict our carb intake to what we can tolerate.
This is not the case at all though as we're still told to consume carbs in fairly high amounts, with no regard whatsoever to what this may be doing to our blood sugar or our diabetes. This is all pretty unbelievable actually.
So we are told to eat too many carbs, and then take medicines, and not only does the eating of too many carbs make our condition worse, the medicines themselves do as well, so it's no wonder why diabetes is seen as so progressive.
Reversing diabetes isn't even a treatment strategy, and how could it be actually when the goal is to worsen it over time, and they do a fine job of that. I don't think there's any other disease where we ignore the long term effects of it, perhaps we might be mistaken as far as how to do that, but this is like telling people with heart disease, well a heart attack is inevitable, there's nothing you can do, just keep listening to us, and all the while they increase your risk of the heart attack and don't even care to look to see what happens in the long run when their advice is followed.
Dr. Hallberg points out that the requirement for carbs is zero, although I have to say that I don't think that this is necessarily true when it comes to optimal health, and if you've been following along with this site you'll know that I do have some reservations about carb restriction, but I am convinced that a lot of diabetics overdo the carbs and that point is pretty obvious when you look at how they do on higher versus lower carb diets, not just their blood sugar control but their overall health, and that's what we need to be shooting for with a diet, improving overall health including blood sugar.
It is true though that we make lots of glucose from gluconeogenesis, and diabetics are particularly good at this, and that has to be accounted for when we look at how much glucose we need.
Cutting carbs just makes sense, and it's not just in improving blood sugar, other things are improved as well, like cardiovascular disease for instance, and she points out that insulin resistance has been shown to be the number one cause of cardiovascular disease, from the excessively high levels of insulin that eating too many carbs causes.
We also have some pretty dramatic examples of how people's diabetes is improved by carb reduction, and many patients even come off of high levels of medication including insulin. Conventional medicine doesn't care about this though, they want you on more meds, not less, and certainly not none, that's their stock in trade, they are glorified medication dispensers.
Perhaps the saddest part is that we aren't told to modify our diet properly even when all the medication they dare give you still results in your diabetes being way out of control. This is actually the end game for a lot of diabetics, the medicine may work for a number of years but eventually fails to provide even minimally acceptable control, leaving patients very exposed to risks of diabetic complications.
Dr. Halberg references a patient of hers who came to her with blood sugar way out of control in spite of being on 300 units of insulin per day. All that insulin is harmful actually, which she doesn't mention, but once on a lower carb diet, the patient was able to maintain normal blood sugar on no insulin or other medications.
So when you cut carbs, well you have to add something. Dr. Halberg says that a low carb diet isn't high protein, it can be, but it's true that you can only add so much protein. You are going to have to add fat and a fair bit of it, and the more you need to cut carbs, the more fat you will have to add.
She recommends that people eat "real food," although that isn't really related to diabetes, this is another issue and some people feel better about eating so called real food but that's another debate for another day.
She recommends people eat no "GPS," which stands for grains, potatoes, and sugar. I don't think we necessarily need to go that far but we certainly need to restrict these things over eating all we want, all we want tends to add up to a lot actually, and generally way too much.
She recommends that all people with insulin resistance pay attention to carbs and that's very good advice, you don't want to wait until your blood sugar goes to hell before you wake up to this, and the real disease is high insulin, it's just that the symptoms get worse as you go along.
She also points out that there are a lot of good studies on low carb which show the benefits of such a diet. Lowering carb intake is very beneficial in fact to diabetics, and this only makes sense as well.
Most importantly, low carb both reduces insulin levels and reduces the need for insulin. This is extremely important if you realize that high insulin is behind diabetes, and increasing it to control blood sugar is a real bad idea and this causes the disease to worsen over time.
So the authorities have it all wrong, and listening to them will certainly make your diabetes worse, but this isn't about our health, it's about making money, and it does a lot of that.
Dr. Hallberg concludes with the recommendation to stop using medicine to treat food. That's exactly what we do, give people the wrong food and then give them medicine to make up for our error. That doesn't work well at all though and we're clearly left worse off for it.