Diabetes and Pre-diabetes
Globally, an estimated 500 million adults are living with diabetes, compared to 108 million in 1980. Pre-diabetes rates are even higher, with an estimated 50% of adults displaying growing insulin resistance. Type 2 Diabetes is a dietary disease. Doctors try and reduce the symptoms with medicine, but they they should be treating the cause via diet. Diabetes is NOT a progressive disease, as it has a very simple cure.
- Type 1 diabetes. People who have type 1 diabetes cannot make insulin. So when a person with type 1 diabetes eats carbohydrates, there is no insulin present to stop the blood glucose levels soaring. Glucose stays in the blood without insulin allowing the cells to process it.
- Type 2 diabetes. People who have type 2 diabetes blood have glucose levels rising higher than normal (hyperglycemia). Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. If you have type 2 diabetes your cells resist the insulin produced by the pancreas. This is called insulin resistance. Insulin injections are often used to try and reduce glucose levels.
- Pre-diabetes. Many cells in your body have insulin receptors including muscle cells, fat tissue and the liver. These cells often start to fail in their response to insulin, which results in glucose levels rising. This cannot happen so the pancreas pumps out more insulin to compensate. When insulin is high for a long time, the body begins to ignore it. The cells will become resistant to insulin. This is called pre-diabetes. Being fat does not cause insulin dependency. But being insulin resistance will make you fat. Pre-diabetes will likely progress to diabetes if the warning signs are not heeded.
If your are fat and try a calorie controlled diet, you can statistically be sure of two things: firstly you will put the weight back on and secondly, you will develop pre-diabetes at best, leading to full type 2 diabetes. If you have fat children, they could very easily develop diabetes at an early ages, something that was virtually unheard of a generation ago.
The NHS, along with many other countries health organisations, specifically recommends not skipping breakfast and eating small meals all day long. It also recommends less fat and salt with an emphasis on meals based around foods with starchy carbs (bread, pasta, rice and potato). The NHS describes diabetes as "A lifelong condition that causes a person's blood sugar level to become too high" they go on to say that "if you have diabetes, your body is unable to break down glucose into energy" .....this is completely wrong. So, for diabetes:-
- Doctors will give you the wrong advice.
- Doctors will put you on a dangerous drug called metformin.
- You will need to measure blood glucose for life.
- You could eventually be given synthetic insulin.
- Your condition will worsen (leading to weight gain, sight-loss, amputations and other metabolic diseases).
- You will have a terrible old age.
If you look back at the dietary advice given by governments over the last 50 years (low salt, low saturated fat, more cereals, frequent eating, low calorie diets, low cholesterol, less red meat, less eggs...) we would be healthier now if people had done the exact opposite!
Your pancreas produces insulin whenever it senses an increase in glucose. Your blood can only hold around a heaped teaspoon of sugar, so when the blood sugar starts to rise the insulin triggers your cells to take in the glucose to be used as energy. Insulin also triggers the storage of glucose (as glycogen) which is stored in the liver and muscles. This acts as an "energy battery" as the glycogen can be converted back to glucose easily. When your glycogen storage is full and you are not burning off the calories via exercise, your liver will convert the glucose into fat for longer term storage. When insulin levels are high we go into fat storage mode. High insulin levels also stop the conversion of fats into energy - in other words, your fat stores are locked.
Humans evolved to eat one or two big meals per day (catching animals and eating them) so insulin was produced infrequently. We evolved without, refrigerators, supermarkets and convenience foods. In western societies we now ingest calories (food and drink) pretty much all day and night, so our pancreas is constantly pumping out insulin. This causes constant insulin spikes. Not only do most people eat all day, they also eat highly processed foods, carbs and sugars that are easily digested (they have a high Glycemic Index).
The glycemic index (or GI) is a ranking of carbohydrates on a scale from 0 to 100 according to how much they raise blood sugar (glucose) levels after eating. Foods with a high GI are those which are quickly digested, absorbed and metabolised and result in fluctuations in blood glucose levels. Low GI carbohydrates cause smaller fluctuations in your blood glucose and insulin levels. Low GI foods take much longer to break down and metabolize. High GI foods are basically "easy sugars" that will immediately spike insulin production. These types of calories never give your endocrine system a rest. The endocrine system is the collection of glands that produce hormones that regulate metabolism, growth and development, tissue function, sexual function, reproduction, sleep, and mood. So it pretty much defines who you are.
Things That Lower Insulin
- Apple cider vinegar.
- Glycine is a non-essential amino acid, which means our body can produce it on its own. Our recommendation for a healthy dose would be 5g before your first meal (glycine blunts the blood sugar response) and 3g before bed (glycine is great for winding down to a deep sleep).
- Fermented foods (yogurt, kefir, pickles, blue cheese, sauerkraut).
- High potassium foods (Avocado, pomegranate, kale, cabbage, spinach, banana, sweet potato, watermelon, beets, tomato puree).
- Vitamin B1 (Green peas, asparagus, herring, black beans, brown rice, sunflower seeds, pistachios, spinach).
- Fibre (avocados, beans and lentils, peas, broccoli, celery, dark berries, coconut, chickpeas, quinoa).
- Fatty foods.
- Lowering cortisol & estrogen.
- Sleep well.
- Walk and move more.
- Plenty of vegetables. Stop being sedentary and move at every opportunity.
Obesity is up and diabetes levels are through the roof across the western world. It is the Western diet packed with sugars and simple carbs that has caused this health crisis. Governments have pushed the "calories in - calories out" model for controlling weight (or "eat less - move more")
- All calories are not equal, because different foods are metabolised in very different ways.
- When you eat is just as important as what you eat.
- Some foods are better than others from a micro-nutrient point of view.
- Some foods are better for our gut bacteria. The health of our gut microbiota is central to our weight and overall health.
- Some foods are bad for your health (inflammatory or containing chemicals and toxins).
The big food companies and many governments are saying that it's about 2 things, calorie intake and exercise. They also say that calories from a carrot are the same as calories from a coke, and that any calorie can form part of a balanced healthy diet. Consider two people eating 2500 calories a day:-
- Diet 1: Low fibre, processed foods and drinks plus snacks. Eaten throughout the day and night (with a wide eating window).
- Diet 2: Natural foods with a high concentration of micro-nutrients and no added sugars. Eaten in a tighter eating window.
The same calories but with very different results. The typical person eating processed foods and snacks all day (grazing) will be spiking insulin throughout the day, so the body never have a rest. There will also be no 'fat burning' as the glycogen stores are never depleted. Insulin resistance will increase which could become type 2 diabetes. Diabetes should really be called the "processed food disease". When you eat and what you eat matter more than simply calories counting. Counting calories does not work. You wouldn't say to a person who is suffering from hay fever "just breath less".
According to the American Diabetes Association, an average person will need 40-60 grams of carbohydrates each day. Your body actually needs zero carbohydrates. You may have heard of essential fatty acids or essential amino acids, but there is no such thing as essential carbohydrates. Carbohydrate is not needed by the body because it converts fats and proteins into glucose to meet it's energy needs. Your body can also produce ketones when in a fasted state or on a very low carb diet. Ketones are made in the liver and are a great energy source.
Sugar in carbohydrates stimulates hunger, especially the fructose element. So you’ll have the tendency to eat more and still crave more. When you spike your carbohydrate intake, you also spike your insulin intake. It can then crash down low, because your insulin has pushed all that sugar out. You’ll end up on a glucose roller coaster. In the last 50 years, fat was eliminated in the average diet because of the misconception that it causes obesity and diabetes. So fats were replaced with carbohydrates (mainly processed sugars). But this only worsened the situation as obesity and diabetes have rocketted.
Increase fat intake
If you have diabetes or a pre-diabetic conditions and want to solve your problem with your insulin, you should increase your fat intake. Eating a high-fat diet actually lowers you blood sugar level. Fats also suppress your hunger and give you the fuel you need. Combine fats with vegetables and other nutritious natural foods.
While there is no total cure for diabetes (it will come back if you revert to processed foods), you can still correct and maintain a good sugar level. Start by trying to drastically reduce your carb intake. You can eliminate diabetes if you cut sugar out. Make good judgments on what to eat. So eat more of your meat, fish, eggs, dairy and other natural fats like butter. If you are a vegetarian, eat more vegetables. Avoid sugar and starchy foods like bread, pasta, rice and potatoes.
Can Diabetes be reversed?
The NHS is the UK describe diabetes as a "lifelong chronic and progressive disease, with medication eventually being required, usually in the form of tablets or insulin injections'. This is only true if a person continues along the same dietary and lifestyle path that caused the insulin resistance in the first place.
Sugar is the cause and elevated blood glucose and insulin levels are the symptoms. But throughout the world doctors treat the symptoms via drugs and low calories diet advice. It's big business of course, in the US alone insulin sales are are at 30 billion dollars per year. Illness is big business, especially the epidemic of hypertension, obesity and the metabolic syndrome, diabetes, kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease. Most people who present symptoms are destined to take drugs such as metformin (which improve the bodies sensitivity to insulin) and eventually lead to insulin injections.
There is an alternative and type 2 diabetes can be reversed and 'cured'. Diabetes is a dietary disease that should be treated by a good diet rather than drugs. The bad news is that your body has adapted to burn sugars, the good news is that this is easily reversed. When you eat sugars all day, you quickly become hungry again and want to eat more carbs. Your body has loads of fat that it does not want to burn (in fact it cannot burn fat due to insulin). Blood sugar can return to stable levels without medication, here's what you need to do......
- Start fasting. This will get your insulin back under control.
- Immediately ditch processed foods with hidden sugars and switch to real foods that promote hormonal health and have lots of micro-nutrients. You need to take a QUALITY based approach rather than a QUANTITY approach. See the foods that will help with diabetes below.
- Men should get a testosterone & estradiol test and switch to a testosterone boosting diet.
- Look at our heart disease page and assess your risk of heart problems.
- Don't start counting calories. Low calorie diets are bad and low-cal diets don't work.
- Do a HIIT exercise routine every day.
- Buy some quality scales and start monitoring your weight. If you don't lose weight you may be adding muscle and losing fat through exercise (Muscle weighs 1.1KG/litre and fat weights 0.9KG/litre).
- Take some body measurements (waist, gut, neck, thighs, calves etc).
- Look at your alcohol intake (switch drinks and reduce consumption).
- Reduce stress by doing breathing exercises and avoiding (or confronting!) stressful things in your life.
Do this for 1 month and re-test for diabetes, you will be shocked at the great results. It is very important to not fall back into your bad old ways. Keep getting educated about food, exercise and lifestyle.
Any reversion to processed foods and a sedentary lifestyle will cause type 2 symptoms to come back. The choice seems to be a lifetime of drugs and worsening health or a lifetime of eating properly and good health.
Your fat intake does not increase your blood sugar levels. Protein may, but when the right amount is taken, it will not increase your insulin. The one thing that makes your insulin level increase is the high level of carbohydrates you consume, particularly sugar (and the hidden sugars in processed foods).
Foods that help with diabetes
People with diabetes and pre-diabetes tend to lack food that are high in micro-nutrients. Diabetes is caused by insulin resistance, this is why treating type 2 diabetes with malformin or insulin does not resolve the problem. Diabetes can be reversed by eating these foods and practising some form of intermittent fasting or fasting. A fasting focused lifestyle is the #1 way to get complete control of insulin and reverse diabetes. Forget the drugs and get fasting, it's easy and free with no side effects,other than positive ones!