Last week, my good friend and world renown nutrition and fitness expert, Mark Macdonald posted the latest statistics on diabetes in the USA. I'm sure I don't have to tell you they were not very encouraging. They did, however, prompt me to check out the latest true-north numbers to compare and I can tell you Canadian friends, it was not good.
Before we take a look at those numbers, let's talk a little about what diabetes is and how someone comes to have it. Diabetes occurs when the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin required to keep the blood sugar level stable, or the body does not metabolize sugar properly and is resistant to insulin. There are many categories for diabetes but I'm going to touch on three that you're likely familiar with and one that you may not be. In fact, it may actually shock you.
If you're a mom, I'm sure you'll remember doing a blood glucose test around the end of your second trimester of pregnancy. A sickeningly sweet concoction most of us gagged down so our doctor could check for gestational diabetes – diabetes while pregnant. Gestational diabetes can only happen during pregnancy so when we talk about diabetes as a whole, this is not where most of the population will be. Just an FYI to all the moms-to-be, GD does put you at risk for developing diabetes years after your baby is born.
Type one diabetes is often referred to as something your born with, even though this is not actually the case. The fact that it appears very early on in life is what gives that impression. Type one is where the pancreas doesn't produce any insulin, the hormone needed to stabilize blood sugar. Roughly 10 percent of diabetics are diagnosed as type one and manage their condition with insulin injections or an insulin pump.
Type two, formerly knows as “adult onset diabetes”, is something that at one time was only showing up in older adults. I say “formerly” and “was only” because for the last twenty years or so, this supposedly adult-only disease started showing up in children. The Mayo Clinic defines type two diabetes as “...a chronic condition that affects the way your body metabolizes sugar (glucose) – an important source of fuel for your body. With type 2 diabetes, your body either resists the effects of insulin..... or doesn't produce enough insulin to maintain normal glucose levels”. With gestational diabetes only registering in pregnant women and the number living with type one at only 10 percent, that leaves a whopping 90 percent of diabetics in this type two category. The good news is that this is the type that we can work with.
High blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer's, some types of cancer, asthma, cirrhosis of the liver, COPD, metabolic syndrome, chronic renal failure, osteoporosis, obesity, depression and yes, type two diabetes all fall under the category of a “lifestyle disease”. What is a lifestyle disease you ask? Exactly what it sounds like. “Diet and lifestyle are the most common causes of these lifestyle diseases.”, reads the opening sentence an article posted on Med-Health.Net, a platform of health news written by doctors. In short, one four-letter “F” word, Food, along with the choices you make on the daily determine your health, or lack thereof.
These are shocking statements for sure. But if you really dive into what that means you'll start seeing what's good about it. If a lifestyle disease is something that we created and brought upon ourselves due to the choices we have been making over an extended period of time, doesn't it stand to reason that doing the opposite would then reverse it? Bingo. The fact is, all lifestyle diseases, including but not limited to, type two diabetes, can be reversed or at the very least, significantly reduced, with food and making better choices.
Considering diabetes reduces lifespan anywhere from five to 15 years, contributes to 30 percent of strokes, 40 percent of heart attacks, 50 percent of kidney failure requiring dialysis, and 70 percent of non-traumatic lower-limb amputations every year, if you're one of the 2.3 million Canadians 12 and older with type two diabetes, the fact that you can lower your risk, prevent and even reverse some of these things should get you pretty excited right about now.
The last one I want to talk about is one you may not have heard about, type three diabetes. You have however, likely heard of Alzheimer's. Although most people I've spoken to have never associated diabetes with Alzheimer's, Doctors have been saying it for years. This description posted on healthline.com illustrates it clearly. “Type 3 diabetes is a term used when Alzheimer’s disease is triggered by insulin resistance in the brain. This condition is most often used to describe people who have type 2 diabetes and are also diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia...” Shocked? Most people are when they hear this. However, when you put two and two together – or should I say type two – you have more control over the outcome of your health than you thought.
Ditch the white, packaged, processed “food-like” substances, eat clean real foods, drink more water, sleep, manage stress, and move your body. Everyday. And when you replace those bad foods and lifestyle choices with ones that serve your body, you'll reverse disease, improve health and love living life instead of suffering through it.
For more tips on creating optimal health and stabilizing blood sugar, join the 8 Weeks is All it Takes group on Facebook and email Tania to schedule your complimentary health assessment [email protected] and take back control of your health.
Kelowna Nutritionist STOP dieting, start living! Lose the Bloat, Melt your Belly, Love Your Life!! Last thing, last time, believe it! Sign up to receive my bi-weekly FIT Nutrition blog, and get started today.