A new study found that 1 out of every 3 people over the age of 34 who are hospitalized in California have diabetes (and only a small percentage were hospitalized due to their diabetes…it was largely for other health issues). Let that statistic sink in for a moment.
The study cites not only that diabetes is a growing health epidemic, but it also cites how our healthcare system is being completely overwhelmed by the costs associated with treating patients with diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is a “disease” that is completely preventable via lifestyle changes. Yet 1/3 of Californians (and I suspect 1/3 of the rest of America is similar) have this debilitating illness that drastically shortens life span and is heavily correlated with heart disease and cancer.
People are dieting and exercising now more than they ever have been. How many people do you know that are either on a diet or have and use gym memberships?
So, what gives? Why then, is everyone getting fatter and sicker?
Well, it could be that American yearly sugar consumption has skyrocketed from 2 lbs. per year to over 160 lbs. per year per person over the last 100 years. Think about that the health impact of that.
This study analyzed the incidence of type II diabetes and rates of sugar consumption in 165 countries and found “A strong positive correlation coefficient (0.599; p < 0.001) was observed between prevalence of diabetes mellitus and per capita sugar consumption using data from all 165 countries.”
So, in summary: a completely preventable lifestyle-based condition has become an epidemic that is making our country sicker than ever and is single-handedly going to take down our healthcare system over the next 20-30 years.
It’s funny, I see so much panic and concern from people (mostly parents of young children) about the 130-200 yearly cases of the measles we see in this country. They are concerned because “measles is a preventable disease”. Yet, those same parents allow their children to gorge on sugar and set the stage for adolescent obesity and type 2 diabetes…a disease that is TRULY an epidemic, with 1/3 of our country affected by it, and which is a much more serious illness than the measles.
What we need to do in order to beat diabetes is to make a collective paradigm shift in the way that we view food. That sounds daunting, but here are a few tips that we can all start implementing TODAY that will go a long way in preventing and reversing diabetes for us and for our children:
- If you already have diabetes, you should seriously consider going on a strict ketogenic diet. There are many studies such as this one or this one that show great promise in reversing diabetes by eating this way.
- Go through your refrigerator and your pantry. Identify all foods & beverages that are processed or that have added sugar in them. This stuff has absolutely no place in a healthy diet that prevents diabetes! Throw them in the garbage.
- When food shopping buy only perishable food items that have very few ingredients and no preservatives, no chemicals, and NO ADDED SUGAR. Basically that means buy fresh, organic meats, fish, poultry, veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds. When buying meat, opt for grass fed. When buying seafood opt for wild caught. The paleo diet is a great place to start:
- Call a family meeting and implement a new rule: your house will now be known as a JUNK-FOOD-FREE ZONE. No exceptions. Junk food does not enter through your front door.
- Send your children to school with homemade and packed lunches. Don’t let them eat the crap that is given to them in school lunches. It is deplorable! Does the picture below look like anything that would prevent diabetes?
- Learn about and limit consumption of the immense hidden sources of sugar in our diets. A food does not have to be sweet to cause diabetes. Bread, pasta, pizza, rice, cereals, croissants, bagels, muffins are all loaded with carbs and, when eaten, they enter the bloodstream as pure sugar…no different than a snickers bar! A pretty good resource that helps you understand how much sugar is hiding in every food you eat: SugarStacks. Does your kid have a favorite yummy breakfast cereal that he or she eats on a daily basis? Read this article from the EWG (Environmental Working Group) blog. The amount of sugar in these cereals will BLOW YOUR MIND! These are the same cereals that slap American Heart Association “heart healthy” labels on their boxes!
- When throwing birthday parties for your children, be a leader. Be a beacon for other parents and children to take example from: don’t serve candy and cake to the children. Get creative and serve a healthier all fruit cake like like in the picture below, or serve stevia or erythritol-sweetened, grain-free candy and cakes. At least those won’t wildly spike blood sugar. And they can be just as tasty! My wife actually makes delicious grain-free no sugar added muffins.
- Talk to your kids. Educate them about food and our relationship to food. I always teach my son about what foods are good for his health or bad for his health. That doesn’t mean he always listens and only eats good foods. He is 5 years old. He eats plenty of crap. But he eats that outside of the house. In the house he knows it’s healthy eating only. My son knows the difference between organic and conventional foods, why that’s important, and that sugar is very bad for his health. I work hard every day to pound this knowledge into his head. Hopefully, it’s a lesson that will stay with him as he enters his teenage years and adulthood. Because, at the end of the day, I recognize that it’s my job to give him the necessary tools to not only get a good education and a career, but also to live a long, happy and healthy life. And the habits that he is going to have at 30 years old are influenced by what he learns now at this tender, mold-able age. It’s my job as his parent to give him the tools and the knowledge to grow up healthy and disease free.
Thus far in this article we have discussed type 2 diabetes, but there is also evidence that type 1 diabetes is highly correlated to gut dysfunction (specifically leaky gut, imbalance in gut bacteria, and altered intestinal immune function). Logically speaking, if someone with type 1 diabetes were to do some functional testing to uncover any of these malfunctions in their gut, and subsequently find them and fix them, there is a strong possibility that they can positively affect their type 1 diabetes condition. At the very least, if they work to heal their gut and their type 1 diabetes remains unchanged, they will have vastly improved their overall health which is a win. Click here to read an in-depth review on that.
Please share this article with your friends and family. Spread knowledge!
Do you have any experience with diabetes? Perhaps you have it or someone you love? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.
Rick Gold, Functional Wellness, FDN Practitioner
Gold Functional Wellness, Inc.
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Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of the author, unless otherwise noted. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of the author. Rick is not a doctor, nutritionist, or dietitian and he does not claim to diagnose, treat, or cure disease.