Type 2 diabetes is curable and the cure is free. According to a January 2019 update by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 114 million American adults live with diabetes or prediabetes. 1 Diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in 2015, and continues as seventh in 2019. In a 2017 press release, then-CDC Director Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald stated: 2
"Although these findings reveal some progress in diabetes management and prevention, there are still too many Americans with diabetes and prediabetes. More than a third of U.S. adults have prediabetes, and the majority don't know it. Now, more than ever, we must step up our efforts to reduce the burden of this serious disease."
While a commendable goal, the reality is the disease is rooted in insulin resistance and a faulty leptin signaling system. 3 , 4 In other words, it's triggered by your diet and the cure is readily available to anyone willing to change their eating habits.
Unfortunately, a cure is not usually a consideration after a diagnosis with diabetes, which is why the medical community begins treatment with medication. Conventionally trained physicians continue to pass along flawed nutritional information pulled from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) ChooseMyPlate program 5 or the equally flawed U.K. Eatwell Guide. 6
In a 12-minute presentation before the U.K. Parliament, Zoe Harcombe, Ph.D., succinctly demonstrates how bad science supports rising rates of diabetes and other nutritionally triggered diseases. 7
The Bad Science Behind Food Guidelines
The consequences faced by those who follow published dietary recommendations is tragic, as bad science has twisted information and triggered a global epidemic. As Harcombe discusses in her presentation before the U.K. Parliament, the human body is unable to produce essential proteins and fats on its own. However, there are no essential carbohydrates.
A statement from Chapter 6 of the Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids, 8 reads: 9 "The lower limit of dietary carbohydrates compatible with life apparently is zero, provided that adequate amounts of protein and fat are consumed."
Harcombe has spent years investigating and researching dietary guidelines as they relate to nutrition and obesity . 10 In her presentation she discusses the results of her Ph.D. thesis examining randomized control trials prompting the introduction of dietary fat recommendations in the U.S. and U.K.
She makes the point that when a natural diet tends to be 15 percent protein and recommendations limit total fat to 30 percent, by definition the remainder are carbohydrates.
When your body requires essential nutrients from proteins and fats but not from carbohydrates, the question becomes, why would Mother Nature put essential fats and proteins, not produced in the body, in the same foods that are trying to kill us?
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Analysis of Findings Shows No Evidence for Dietary Recommendations
Harcombe studied the trials prompting our dietary recommendations and asked the question: If those trials were re-evaluated today, would the same recommendations be made? She and her team found no difference for putting people on any dietary fat intervention against the impact of all-cause mortality or coronary heart disease .
Interestingly, the team also found that all of the trials involved fewer than 2,500 men who had already had a heart attack . The trials included no women and no healthy individuals. Yet the results of these trials changed nutritional guidelines for more than 220 million Americans and over 55 million residents of the UK. 11
She and her team then asked what the data revealed in research performed after 1977, and found there continues to be no evidence for introducing guidelines that limit dietary fat. Some of the same research was also being done by seven other teams around the world. 12 , 13 , 14 , 15 , 16 , 17 , 18
These teams evaluated 40 separate studies. Only three of the 40 studies revealed any negative results from eating fat. Of those three, one determined trans-fat had a negative impact and two were from the same team who essentially reviewed their own findings.
However, after the two studies were subjected to a sensitivity test, the results did not stand up. Essentially, none of the 40 studies evaluated showed that total or saturated fat was associated with cardiovascular disease, mortality or heart events. 19
The U.K. Eatwell Guide website states: 20 "The Eatwell Guide shows how much of what we eat overall should come from each food group to achieve a healthy, balanced diet. You do not need to achieve this balance with every meal, but try to get the balance right over a day or even a week."
In Harcombe's analysis of the new guidelines, 21 she found when calories were assigned to the portions demonstrated in the guide and to the menus published, the diet was nutritionally deficient and the percentages of carbohydrates skewed even further than past recommendations, rising from 55 percent to 65 percent of daily intake. 22Advertisement
Understand Type 1 Diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome
Before going further, it's helpful to briefly clarify the differences between Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes , and the terms metabolic syndrome and prediabetes. Although the dietary changes to reverse all but Type 1 diabetes are similar, it helps to understand the process. The effect of glucose intolerance may be measured through fasting blood glucose, oral glucose tolerance or an A1c.
• Prediabetes — There are no clear symptoms of prediabetes so you may not even know you have it. It's a term used to describe an early state of insulin resistance known as impaired glucose tolerance. Conventionally, prediabetes is diagnosed with a fasting blood sugar between 100 and 125 milligrams per deciliter. 23
• Metabolic syndrome — As insulin resistance progresses, if you suffer from three or more of a group of symptoms triggered by insulin and leptin resistance , it leads to a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome. These symptoms include high triglycerides, low HDL, higher blood glucose, elevated blood pressure and an increased amount of belly fat.
• Type 1 diabetes — The majority with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes. 24 Only about 5 percent have Type 1 diabetes, which can occur at any age. Previously called juvenile diabetes, there are actually more adults with Type 1 diabetes than there are children with the condition. In Type 1 diabetes your body does not produce insulin.
Type 1 diabetes may be triggered by an autoimmune disease in which the immune system destroys the cells producing insulin in your pancreas. Often called insulin-dependent diabetes, new research has achieved a cure several times in animal studies. However, work in humans has not been as successful and several options are under clinical trial. 25
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• Type 2 diabetes — Also called noninsulin dependent diabetes, your pancreas continues to produce insulin but is unable to use it properly. In fact, this is an advanced stage of insulin resistance typically triggered by a diet high in sugars and carbohydrates.
Although anyone can develop Type 2 diabetes, you are at higher risk of it when you're overweight, sedentary, have family members with Type 2 diabetes, have a history of metabolic syndrome or are a woman who has had gestational diabetes. 26
Type 2 Diabetes Is Not Just a Chronic Disease
Although millions suffer from the condition, diabetes must not be considered an inevitable risk of life. There are significant short- and long-term risks with diabetes, but the good news is that with the correct treatment you can avoid them completely.
Although conventional medicine focuses on administration of medications, simple lifestyle changes may be all you need to get your diabetes under control. Since diabetes often develops slowly, you may not realize you have high blood glucose and this can cause some serious damage. Short- and long-term complications may include: 27 , 28 , 29
Hyperosmolar hyperglycemic nonketotic syndrome (HHNS)
Diabetic neuropathy: peripheral, autonomic, proximal and focal
Retinopathy leading to blindness
Alzheimer's disease (Type 3 diabetes)
Bacterial and fungal skin infections
Peripheral vascular disease
Insulin May Accelerate Your Risk of Death
In an effort to control high blood sugar, insulin therapy may actually be doing more harm than good. A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine 30 concluded insulin therapy in Type 2 diabetic patients, particularly in people over age 50, may not always outweigh the negatives. Reported in Medical News Today, study co-author Dr. John S. Yudkin, emeritus professor of medicine at University College London, commented: 31
"If people feel that insulin therapy reduces their quality of life by anything more than around 3 to 4 percent, this will outweigh any potential benefits gained by treatment in almost anyone with Type 2 diabetes over around 50 years old."
Medical News Today 32 gave this example of what the author meant. If a person with Type 2 diabetes begins insulin at age 45 and lowers their A1c by 1 percent, they could experience an extra 10 months of healthy life. But for someone beginning treatment at age 75, the authors estimate therapy may give the patient an additional three weeks of life.
The researchers believe this prompts the question, is 10 to 15 years of pills or injections with possible side effects worth it? Another recent study prompted researchers to question if insulin therapy may be outdated, saying: 33
While the study is preliminary, Japanese researcher Dr. Wataru Takayama said the "results also raise questions about how emergency transfusion of O type red blood cells to a severe trauma patient could affect homeostasis, the process which causes bleeding to stop, and if this is different from other blood types."
"Although several old studies provided conflicting results, the majority of large observational studies show strong dose-dependent associations for injected insulin with increased CV [cardiovascular] risk and worsened mortality. Insulin clearly causes weight gain, recurrent hypoglycemia, and, other potential adverse effects, including iatrogenic hyperinsulinemia.
This overinsulinization with use of injected insulin predisposes to inflammation, atherosclerosis, hypertension, dyslipidemia, heart failure (HF) and arrhythmias. These associations support the findings of large-scale evaluations strongly suggesting insulin therapy has a poorer short- and long-term safety profile than that found in many other anti-T2D therapies."
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Science Has the Answer to Reverse Type 2 Diabetes
In Harcombe's presentation to the U.K. Parliament, she points out Public Health England put together a panel to recommend what would be in the Eatwell Guide, and of the 11 representatives, only one had no conflict of interest. Several organizations represented included the Institute of Grocery Distribution, the British Nutrition Foundation and the Association of Convenience Stores.
Some of the members of the British Nutrition Foundation include Nestle, Kellogg's, PepsiCo, McDonald's and British Sugar. In her plea to Parliament, Harcombe makes two requests for the future of the Eatwell Guide and another for patients, asking: 34
- Don't base the guidelines on the one macronutrient we don't need and diabetics can't handle.
- Don't allow the fake food industry to set our guidelines.
- Offer patients choice. There are three evidence-based ways to put Type 2 diabetes into remission. Patients should be offered both dietary options — low-carb and low-calorie.
Prevention and treatment of insulin/leptin resistance and Type 2 diabetes requires a little care in your food choices and your nutritional planning. However, done slowly, these habits are tasty and satisfying, and lead to increasing energy and easier weight management.
You'll find explanations about fats, proteins, exercise and how sleep and intermittent fasting may be the simple choices you've been searching for in my previous article, " How to Reverse Type 2 Diabetes, Why Insulin May Actually Accelerate Death, and Other Ignored Facts ."