There are lots of websites that talk about type 2 diabetes of course, and a lot of them promote some popular myths about the disease. There is a lot of myth out there for sure, and by myth here I mean claims that don’t correspond with the science we have about it. Often times this just involves just making some assumptions about what is going on with us without really thinking about them or looking into the matter too much.
So today I paid a visit to type2diabetes.com, and a site with a domain name like that has been around a long time I’m sure, as this would have been one of the first ones they grabbed when the internet was younger. In the about us section they mention the American Diabetes Association as one of their prime sources of information, so that tells you a lot right there. They do also suggest that they look at at least some research, but there’s just so much of this out there of differing qualities that this really doesn’t tell us much.
Anyway, let’s not prejudge them on this and instead jump right in and see what they have to say, so we’ll look at an article of theirs called What is Type 2 Diabetes? They start by saying that diabetes is a disorder of how we use our food for energy. That actually spills the beans right there, where does this even come from? It turns out that while diabetics do tend to suffer from various degrees of mitochondrial damage, this is really just an effect of over nutrition, where over time the excessive level of nutrients that our cells take in takes its toll.
This manifests in things like low energy. Just about any disease has low energy as a symptom because diseases cause hormonal changes that will divert resources away from everyday activities and toward looking to deal with the disease. There are other reasons as well for low energy with disease, some diseases themselves disturb energy homeostasis, like for instance low thyroid hormone function.
Diabetes is a condition of excess here, and we could say that we use the food we eat too well if anything. The food we eat does contribute to this but it does so if anything because we both eat too much of it and use too much of it as well. This is how we develop glucotoxicity and lipotoxicity, excesses of cellular glucose and fat, if we actually had deficiencies of these, we’d be less not more prone to cellular damage, in the way that eating less tends to create greater health and longevity, because cells become exposed to less nutrients, where ours become exposed to more.
This is especially the case with fat intake, and it’s fat toxicity, lipotoxicity as it’s called, that does the most damage to us. This does not mean that we eat too much fat, it’s actually due to too much getting into our cells, or more specifically, the toxins in fat that disrupt our cellular metabolism.
Too much glucose plays a role in this as well though, glucotoxicity, which damages our cells, but do people think that both these toxicities are a result of too much or not enough of these things getting into our cells? Have they even stopped to think about this a little even?
So when this site says that the disease of diabetes is a disorder of not being able to take in nutrients, we know already that they have been off reading fairy tales of it, because this makes no sense at all. So many beliefs about diabetes run completely counter to reality though, as this one does.
They say that all forms of diabetes are characterized by high blood sugar, but that will be the case if we define the disease that way, but we know that this is just a symptom of it and not the disease itself, and there are things behind it that go awry prior to the manifestation of hyperglycemia, so this is a very poor way to define and understand diabetes actually.
They then tell us that the body loses the ability to use insulin properly, resulting in insulin resistance. This part is true and everyone agrees on this. Oddly enough, insulin resistance often just gets lip service, and people don’t even consider that if this is the problem, then maybe this is what we need to fix.
Then they talk about the loss of beta cell function that we see in type 2 diabetics. So they say we therefore have a deficiency of insulin. Someone might think that if they just stop there and think, well if our capacity to produce insulin is reduced, then we must be deficient, right? Inquiring minds though may look into how much insulin we actually produce and see that we produce a lot more than normal people, in spite of this.
So jumping to the conclusion that we are insulin deficient is pretty dumb, and to be honest you only see this in sites that are really out of touch, but this one gets that golden seal right here, without going any further.
There are a lot of people though who call themselves scientists who are infatuated with beta cell function in type 2, to the extent that they don’t even bother looking into the net effects of insulin secretion with us, what our levels are, and that they are typically several times higher than normal, not less.
So they have lost me when they mention insulin deficiency as a major factor in T2 diabetes, this does not correspond at all with what happens in real life. On the contrary, type 2 diabetes is a disease of excess insulin production. So if we get this wrong that’s going to lead to some very serious problems, if it’s too high already and that’s what is making us sick, and that’s exactly how we become insulin deficient, and we make it worse, what will happen?
So this is why I say that so many people just give lip service to insulin resistance. They will say, diabetes is either a deficiency of insulin or insulin resistance, and as it turns out, we can become insulin deficient, from autoimmunity, this is your type 1 or type 1.5.
No matter though, the next step needs to be to test us to see which one it is, and if our insulin levels are below normal, low enough below normal to be pathological, a disease state of insulin deficiency, then there you have it, and we can proceed accordingly.
If it’s too high though, then we certainly do not have an under secretion of insulin, we have an over secretion. Hardly anyone bothers with this, Dr. Joseph Kraft did, and found that 90% of people with diabetes produced too much insulin, and that corresponds to what percentage of diabetics have type 2. The other 10% are actually type 1 or type 1.5, because under conditions of hyperglycemia, beta cells will produce excessive insulin levels unless they are really destroyed, far beyond the amounts that they speculate we have “lost.”
Beyond this, the site discusses the disease of type 2 diabetes as if it is just high blood sugar, so they are talking about just hyperglycemia here basically.
The rest of the article isn’t really noteworthy, although the part that many type 2 diabetics can still continue to enjoy what they’ve been eating is odd, what they have been eating has done them in to some degree anyway, and in any case, it is extremely likely that they can no longer tolerate these foods without having them put their blood sugar up.
So high blood sugar isn’t the disease but it is a symptom that we might want to try to manage, and you would think that they would be telling us to eat to our blood sugar, but they really don’t.
So finally they tell you that your doctor and other members of your medical team will guide you to the promised land, this truly is a story based upon a fairy tale, but a pretty popular one.