Diabetes and Obesity: A Growing Concern
Like most doctors say, I have good news and bad news.
Here’s the bad news:
Diabetes is, especially Type 2, on the rise. Currently, 40-50% of people will develop diabetes. (That’s the bad news.)
In a recent study published online on August 13, 2014 in Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, we learned that over 2 in 5 adults in the United States will develop diabetes during their lifetimes, primarily type 2 diabetes. 1 in 2 affected will be of an ethnic minority. This is a tremendous surge over previous estimates of the past decades. Since the 1980’s, there has been a 20% increase in the diagnosis of diabetes.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes mellitus (DM), also known as simply diabetes, is a group of metabolic diseases in which there are high blood sugar levels over a prolonged period.
Symptoms include: frequent urination, increased thirst, increased hunger, blurry vision, headache, fatigue, slow healing of cuts, rashes and itchy skin.
Complications include: diabetic ketoacidosis and nonketotic hyperosmolar coma, heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, foot ulcers, damage to the eyes, and if untreated, death.
While it should be noted that overall mortality due to diabetes has decreased, that does not necessarily translate into a better quality of life. Health complications will ultimately place a huge burden on our healthcare system, on parents and caregivers, medical stress on the very people who develop diabetes and must manage it in their declining years.
Why is Diabetes on the rise?
The city of London, Ontario, where I practice, is world-renowned for Dr. Frederick Banting’s discovery of insulin. While insulin can save the lives of many people who have developed Type 1 diabetes, it is not a cure. More to the point, the increase is mostly in Type 2 where prevention through lifestyle is the key.
The excess consumption of sugar contributes to Diabetes and Obesity, and in many cases, both.
Sugar and Obesity
When sugar enters the body, it is broken down into its simplest form for appropriate use. The sugar is then moved into the bloodstream for transport. The body can function in a state of health, homeostasis, and optimal performance when there is a manageable concentration of sugar in the bloodstream. In higher concentrations, your body faces the risk of coma, or even death. Therefore, when the body faced with excess sugar (as it is daily in North Americans), it uses Insulin to move the sugar out of the blood and into the cells so that it can be used for energy.
Unfortunately, in the average North American, because there is so much sugar consumed and available in the body, not all of it can be used as energy. Therefore, the body must do something with the excess sugar. It is stored as fat.
Sugar and Diabetes
The need for your body to move sugar into the cells for energy, rather than leave it in the bloodstream, requires the hormone Insulin to move sugar across the cell membrane. Insulin, produced by the pancreas, binds to insulin receptors on the cell membrane, to bring sugar into the cells to be converted into energy. While this system is effective to a point, the constant bombardment of sugar, and elevation of Insulin, eventually causes the Insulin receptors to burn out … elevating blood sugar and causing Type 2 Diabetes and ultimately, some or all of its complications: vision damage, kidney dysfunction, heart disease, neurological paraesthesias in the body, and poor healing of wounds, which can lead to amputations of limbs.
Now, for the good news.
Replace Sugar with Healthy Fat
In the Advanced Nutrition Plan, described in my books, I spell out the importance of replacing sugars with healthy fats to manage and reverse Type 2 Diabetes.
Research that has made headlines in recent months has supported this:
Dr. Mònica Bulló, of the human nutrition unit at Virgili University in Reus, Spain, reported on the potential benefits of pistachio nuts and almonds at the 2014 European Congress on Obesity.[i]
Dr. Sze Yen Tan, of the department of nutrition science at Purdue University, also presented at the conference that the “inclusion of 43 grams of almonds into a daily diet, especially as snacks, may help to moderate glycemia without promoting weight gain.”
A recent article in The Lancet supported the benefits of consuming saturated fats from dairy in lowering Type 2 Diabetes.
Pesticides and Type 2 Diabetes
I encourage regular detoxification practices for everyone, particularly those dealing with Type 2 Diabetes. We have learned that, in addition to toxic sugar, there are chemical contributors to the disease, including pesticides.[ii, iii, iv]
Type 2 Diabetes: A Central Nervous System Etiology
As a Doctor of Chiropractic, I have also witnessed many patients who have improved the health of their spines to subsequently see their diabetes labs improve as well. (Check out Ken’s amazing story!)
Research from Surgical Neurology International has demonstrated the association between the central nervous system and Diabetes: “Arterial compression of the right anterolateral medulla appears to be a factor in the etiology of type 2 diabetes mellitus.” Certainly, specific chiropractic adjustments to improve alignment in the upper cervical spine would contribute to microvascular decompression hypothesized by the journal to be effective in treating non-obese Type 2 Diabetes patients.
Though there are many factors at play in the development of Type 2 Diabetes, the easiest thing you can do today is to start enjoying the vast selection of sugar-free desserts and advanced plan meals you’ll find here on my website.
Questions? Please leave them in the comments below.
[i] 2014 European Congress on Obesity. Abstract T5:OS2.3, presented May 31, 2014.
About Dr. B.J. Hardick
Dr. B.J. Hardick is a Doctor of Chiropractic and internationally-recognized natural health author and speaker. His health journey began as a child — alternative medicine is the only medicine he has ever known. In 2009, he authored his first book, Maximized Living Nutrition Plans. In 2018, he authored his second book, Align Your Health. An energizing and passionate speaker, Dr. Hardick shares his lifestyle methods to numerous professional and public audiences every year in the United States and Canada. His teachings encompass the principles of ancestral nutrition, detoxification, functional fitness, mindfulness, and green living. Learn More