16 April 2022

Diabetes Management - Medical Failures in Treatment





I was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes 20 years ago. Yes, back when I was 36 or 37. I had what you would call an unrestrained diet. Long been one of those people where I would seek comfort in food. Sad, lonely, stressed? Eat something! 

I would eat sweet things. Chocolate. Ice cream. Cakes. I would drink sugared soft drinks. I would eat lots of fruit (believing that this was healthy). I would eat fried foods. Hot chips, packet chips, fried chicken. I used vegetable oil.

And of course plenty of the standard carbohydrates which make up a fair percentage of most of the worlds diets. Bread, pasta, rice, noodles, etc. Potatoes of course.

Then what do you know? I have Diabetes and need medication to keep it under control. No one told me what the cause was. Anyone wondering? Excessive carbohydrate! Continuous consumption of carbohydrate throughout the day causing spikes in insulin until the day comes when the pancreas simply can't keep up.

That, friends? That is the cause. This is why it's growing in societies, and growing faster in societies that consume more carbohydrates especially the factory-made "food" that's high in refined carbohydrates in the form of grains and just straight-out sugar. That was what got me! The contemporary thinking and science-based advice was that FAT was the enemy, and having reduced-fat/high-carb foods was the answer to healthy living. Utter nonsense!


The prognosis (ie the expected outcome) and treatment

When you get diabetes, you are told you will have this for life. They don't actually spell it out, but they expect you to get worse and need more and more drugs to keep it under control. Yes, you are encouraged to put Nutrasweet in your coffee and avoid eating cakes and ice cream, but they never expect you to actually get better. This is a lifelong disease which will only ever get worse. Your drugs will work until they don't, then either the dose is increased or they are replaced or added-to with further drugs.

They gave me Metformin and Amaryl. Dosages and meds changed over the years as I got worse. I eventually found myself injecting insulin.

You are sent to a diabetes educator, who will teach you about checking your Blood Glucose Level with a nifty little meter. You are warned about hypoglycemic incidents (when your blood sugar plummets because your medication was working yet you hadn't eaten enough), and encouraged to have some jelly beans or equivalent around just in case. You are told to take care of your feet if you didn't want to see them amputated. In later years where there is poor management, you can expect to have a leg or a foot lopped off.

And you are taught to beware of high glycemic index foods! That means the fast-metabolized carbohydrates that cause large spikes in insulin release into your blood stream. Refined sugars are the worst, of course. So is refined grains like white rice and white flour. You're encouraged to eat courser grains, and slower metabolizing grains like Basmati rice.

Yes, it probably helps to use this as a bit of a guide, but it remains just delaying the inevitable. You will plummet as the years go on, and you will get sicker. Your medications will give you side effects. You will get other diseases as your overall health deteriorates.

No actual solutions.


Carbohydrates! Do we actually need them?

Remember when we were taught about the "Five Essential Food Groups" in school?

  • Protein
  • Cereals and grains
  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Dairy products

In a healthy diet you are taught you need portions of each of these every day to be healthy.

I had a nutritionist look at my diet years ago when I was still in Australia, and was told I should increase the dairy part by having portion or portions every day. I asked how the Chinese coped? To those who don't know, the Chinese do not have dairy in their diet. More westernized Chinese probably do, but traditionally no. It's seen as food for babies and that's it. Why? Oh, they eat soy products! A legume with high phytoestrogens is somehow equivalent to cows milk? I don't quite see it!

But yes, you are supposed to have all of these. Cannot possibly cope without grains. Munching away at your factory-produced breakfast cereals every day, with bananas chopped-up on top to ensure you have fruit. Milk added to ensure you have your dairy portion. Glass of orange juice (which contains more sugar than a can of coke).

Wonder if the source of this great knowledge may have been in some way influenced by the large multinationals which produce these processed products with the artificially-increased vitamin contents? Yes, I wonder!


In truth? There are three macronutrient groups!

  • Protein
  • Carbohydrate
  • Fat

Guess which ones you literally can't live without?


Protein

Every part of your body is made up of protein. Not just muscles. Your skin, your bones, your organs. Even your hair. All made of protein. Take that away, and you will fall apart literally.


Fats

Fat is stored energy that the body can and does draw from. Your hormones are dependent on fat. Take away fat and you will die fairly quickly.


Carbohydrate

Carbohydrate is metabolized into sugars and used as a source of energy. That's it.

Is it essential? No. Not at all. It's easily metabolized. The higher on the glycemic index it is, the faster it will enter your blood stream. The lower, then the more "slow-release" a source of energy it is.

So can it be taken out of a diet? YES!


Should you remove or reduce carbohydrate in your diet?

It depends!

We have children here. We have a three year old, who never stops moving and never stops talking. Despite eating non-stop all day, she is definitely NOT fat.

She consumes carbohydrate! She eats bread. She eats fruit. She drinks moderate amounts of milk (because we don't take advice from chemical companies that emotionally-blackmail parents into believing that not giving them 4, 5 or more bottles of milk-based formula a day is child-abuse). And also has plenty of protein in the form of meat and eggs, as well as vegetables every day. We would never reduce her carbohydrate at this stage.

We also have older kids and family members who struggle with weight control!

Can THEY live without carbohydrates? Yes, absolutely! They may live the rest of their lives never consuming a single gram of carbohydrate (if they can manage that) and remain healthy. Their bodies will adjust to drawing from their fat reserves as well as from dietary fat. 


What happens when you remove or reduce carbohydrate intake?

 You lose weight

Yes, you will or should lose weight. You may be lucky to have one of those metabolisms that reacts quickly when you cut back on carbs and your weight may fall off you.

You may have to be more drastic and reduce your carbohydrates to 50 grams or less per day, and you will probably lose weight. That means:

  • No sugar
  • No fruit
  • No underground-grown vegetables
  • No rice, no wheat or other grains as-is or in the form of bread, pasta, noodles, etc

And you will need to stick to this, and get used to a new way of eating.

If you have a slow metabolism you may have to take this even further and eliminate vegetables. That means living on animal products only, ie.

  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Organ meats
  • Cheese

Hard, but can be done. You can be amazed what you can adjust to, and how your cravings disappear after a few weeks.


How about diabetes?

Diabetes is caused by your system being overloaded with carbohydrates and your pancreas not being able to produce enough insulin to cope. Uncontrolled carbohydrates in the diet cause this condition, and will keep that condition going and will probably lead to your early death. And that early death will have followed years of poor-health and a lower quality of life.

Cut out carbs? Or cut down carbs? What do you THINK will happen to your blood glucose levels? They will go DOWN of course! No longer having days of one insulin spike after another! Your body may POSSIBLY have enough insulin to cope with your reduced carbohydrate intake, and your diabetes MAY disappear!

Is it likely to happen? It depends on how long you've had your condition for. Catch it early enough? Sure, you may get rid of it completely. Catch it late? You will certainly be able to slow the demise of your health possibly quite considerably.


Why did I write this?

I don't mind admitting I'm actually annoyed!

I've had Type II Diabetes for 20 years. Still have all my limbs and toes, but I take tablets and I inject insulin. Until recently I used to inject 5 times a day!

NOTE I said "until recently".

I'm down to 2 injections a day. Why? I SERIOUSLY REDUCED MY CARBOHYDRATE INTAKE!

Anything else? New and exciting medications? Definitely not! Less sugar floating around in my system, so less for my body's own insulin to deal with. So less exogenous insulin needed to keep up with the demand.

And I feel better not having to inject as much. I feel more energetic. Drugs are necessary when they are needed to keep you alive, but they do NOT compare to not needing them in the first place. Natural body functions kick medications' arses every time!

And why am I annoyed?

Because no one told me this was possible! 

No one said:

"You have diabetes because of too much carbohydrate in your diet for your body to cope with. If you don't do something drastic your health will deteriorate over the years and you will get sicker and sicker. Eventually this, or some other disease caused by your poor condition, will take you out before your time! CHANGE THE WAY YOU EAT DRASTICALLY, AND YOU CAN BEAT THIS!"

Because you know what this would have meant? I could have spent the last 20 years of my life in considerably better health! 

Why didn't anyone make this connection? Why didn't someone say:

  • Stop eating bread, pasta, noodles and rice
  • Stop eating potatoes
  • Stop eating fruit
  • Eat moderate amounts of low-carb vegetables
  • Zero sugar

That, plus some regular exercise (which I never used to do) and things would have been drastically different. I would have benefited. My wife and children would have benefited. And I would have DONE it had the situation been properly spelled-out and if I didn't have to locate the solution through my own research and trials!

I sincerely hope that the standard half-arsed and defeatist approach to diabetes management changes!



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