The Vicious Circle of Diabetes

By John Kannenburg

A few years ago, I was chatting with two sisters in their 40's who both had severe Type II diabetes. It was so severe that they already had lost much of their kidney function. In fact, they both were on dialysis with one of them going in twice a week and the other about once a week. This is a sad state to be in! My heart really went out to these two women.

I posed a question to them about what they knew about diabetes. For so many years of them being sick, I was interested to know what they had learned about their condition on their own or from their health care providers. Knowledge is power. Knowledge is life. Perhaps there was a chance that something had been missed?

Specifically, I asked, "What is insulin? What does it do in the body?"
I was shocked at the response I got. They said, "insulin works as a regulator of glucose in the body, working as a key to allow it to enter the cells. You see, when the glucose can't get into the cells, it's called decreased insulin sensitivity." This is all correct what they said up to that point.

And now for the shocking part. I continued, "Does insulin do anything else? 

"No. Nothing else as far as we know."

Uh-oh! See, the relationship to glucose in only PART of what insulin does. And knowing what else it does it THE big key in preventing and reversing diabetes.

Insulin's second function is to take excess dietary fat, the fat that you eat, and store it away as fat in the body. Now, why would insulin do that do us, you're asking!!! Well, let's think about it. The body has a natural survival system. In times of plenty and excess, it stores it away for times of famine, winter, and as a reserve for when ill. Unfortunately, our modern diet is all about excess so it's no wonder we are fighting expanding waistlines! But there's more to it than this. Fat on the cellular level works to actually inhibit the efficacy of insulin regarding the absorption of glucose in the body! It DECREASES insulin sensitivity. And so with fat intake at the same high levels ( most Americans get 45% of their calories from fat), insulin doesn't work well. So more insulin is given to boost effectiveness. And what does this do? Pack on more fat into the body! That fat further decreases insulin sensitivity. And the process is repeated. Do you see now the vicious circle I'm referring to? 

And what is the usual diet prescribed for diabetics? Low carbohydrate. Why? "Because" carbs turn into sugar (glucose) and high glucose levels can't be handled by the diabetic. But note, in this diet fat levels aren't mentioned!! Instead of 45% of calories coming from fat, they need to be in the 7-12% range. This is true "low-fat". 
I saw one study that said low fat diets don't work. Their definition of "low fat" was actually "lower fat" but still at a level of 33% of the diet! Ridiculous. This is still a high fat diet.

The key is to eat a diet HIGH in complex carbohydrates (the key is whole food carbohydrates, no doughnuts, white bread, or soda pop) with little to no added fat. The result we see is blood sugar levels drop even up to a 100 points the first week using diet alone. It's nothing short of amazing. 

But is it all really worth doing? Isn't it work to eat well? Perhaps. But what are the consequences if we don't change? Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness. And then there's eventual kidney failure, even amputations of extremities from poor circulation. I can't tell you how many people I worked with who were like this when I was at the old UND Rehab Hospital. And studies show that diabetics die earlier from the other diseases such as heart attack and stroke than the general population. 

Look, it's not a fair fight. Everywhere we are encouraged eat all kinds of foods that are exceedingly high in fats, sugars, and even proteins. Advertisers know how to get us to eat and drink just what they want. And it's all so convenient too!

Make a stand today that you will get educated on this important topic.

John's Hot Tips:

  • Eliminate simple sugars/carbs from your diet.
  • Increase complex carbs like brown rice, whole grain bread, beans.
  • Get 20 minutes of exercise a day.
  • Be happy and live for others.