Today’s blog is inspired by an article published by The Guardian, Unlocking the truth about diabetes: ‘The science has been pretty awful’. It’s a good read. The article outlines some of the recent writings of Gary Taubes. Gary is a science writer and has authored books about food and scientific controversies. An article of his was published in the New York Times, headlined: What If It’s All Been a Big Fat Lie?
What is the Lie? Well, it’s nothing YOU haven’t heard. It’s about how the shift in our food system away from fat and into sugar back in the 70s has driven 2 generations of increasing percentages of people living with diabetes.
Exploring Diabetes Management Strategies
The medical approach to managing diabetes is based on using insulin or other medications that help you control insulin. These medications are effective but as people use them over a lifetime we can see that their effectiveness wanes. The typical medical approach without TLC, Therapeutic Lifestyle Change, will eventually lead to succumbing to the long term effects of diabetes after about 30 years of use. This is fine if you develop diabetes when you’re 80 years old, but most Americans are diagnosed with diabetes in their 30s and 40s.
So getting back to the subject line, what if there were no meds? What would your doctor prescribe then? That’s simple, the cause of Type 2 diabetes, the most common form, and Type 3 diabetes, diabetes of the brain (aka Alzheimer’s) is a high insulin lifestyle. A High insulin lifestyle is a life of too much:
And or inadequate:
So what would life be like if your doctor found out that your average glucose (sugar levels in your blood) were either approaching or had crossed the line into a diagnosis of diabetes but there weren’t any drugs to prescribe to you? Then they would have to have a serious conversation with you about the seven bullet points above. This would be challenging, to say the least, because the reason WHY you are in a prediabetic or full-blown diabetic state is that your lifestyle is either something that you like, something that you are comfortable with, or worse, something that you feel you can’t escape from.
Doing what is hard makes life easier is one of my favorite sayings.
Not in ALL cases but most often when it comes to health. Doing what is easy now will most likely lead to hard times later on when the medications don’t work for you as well. Sure you can cross your fingers and pray that some new drug will be even better but I still have not seen the medication that can replace the laws of nature and the simple premise of Good goes in Good comes out. Gary Taubes is an extremist in some ways because he’s been following a Ketogenic diet for the past few years. Research has shown that most of us don’t need to live on a ketogenic diet to control/prevent diabetes, but it has shown that following a lifestyle of eating less carbohydrates than most of us eat is a great strategy.
If you want to learn what the correct amount of carbohydrates that you should be averaging each day there is no better system than experimentation. Each and every one of us has different genetics and lifestyles that make this an individual range. You may thrive with 50 grams of carbs while another person may be able to easily consume 250 grams a day.
If you want to start your own experiment here’s how you can do it. Measure something.
- Get a CGM (constant Glucose Monitor) where you can assess your blood sugar levels throughout the day to see how your lifestyle is impacted.
- Measure your Glucose, Hemoglobin A1C and insulin levels through as blood test
- Measure your waist circumference with a tape measure
- Analyze your percentage of muscle/ percentage of fat
Once you have a baseline measurement then start making changes to your lifestyle. You can use 1-2-3 or all of the insulin driving factors I mentioned before. Make changes to your habits and see if you achieve results. If you did, now you understand HOW to make positive changes, then you simply need to decide if you want to stick with the new habits that got you the results.
This is what I have helped people with each and every day for the past 29 years. You can change as quickly or as slowly as you want but if you don’t make some changes to your lifestyle then you better hope that those magic medications will be the answer one day.
Enjoy your own personal experiments and if you want help getting to live a healthy life into your 80s and 90s, I hope to see you this week for a visit so we can get started.
Yours in health,