There are about 79 million U.S. adults who are obese. That same number quantifies Americans age 20 years or older that are pre-diabetic. There are 29 million people who actually have diabetes with another 1.7 million new cases added in 2012 and growing each year. Type 2 diabetes is on the rise in American children as there are a growing number of overweight youths. Type 2 diabetes is the most prevalent form of diabetes at 90 to 95% and it can be eliminated or reduced with lifestyle changes.
So what are these lifestyle changes? You know them as physical activity and a healthy diet.
Physical activity and a nutrient dense diet are critical to our health, advocated by many health professionals, and presented throughout this website. As we look back, we know that when aboriginal people convert from their traditional diets to modern foods they experience epidemic levels of obesity, diabetes, and face many other chronic diseases common throughout the developed world (more).
So what’s different between their traditional diets and our modern foods? Well I don’t believe it is fruits, vegetables or meat, so what’s left? You got it!
GRAINS, the very thing that you find in so many formats on our grocery shelves and lobbied so heavily by large agribusinesses. According to The Center for Responsive Politics, the agribusinesses spent $139,726,313 in 2012 on lobbying. If grains are so good for us, then why do they need to spend so much money? Who are the “healthy whole grains” truly good for and why are we encouraged to eat so much by the USDA?
In the last post, we looked at various proteins within grains that upset our digestive system. But what are grains? Grains are a form of sugar. When sugar enters our blood stream, our body with the help of insulin tries to regulate blood sugar by pushing sugar into our cells for energy use. When blood sugar levels exceed energy demand, then the sugar is stored in our fat cells for later use. When those fat stores aren’t used, and we continue to consume excess sugar over a lifetime, then we become obese. At some point (a cumulative effect), our fat cells reject further storage of sugar no matter how much insulin is created (this is known as insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes). The result is too much blood sugar and our bodies have a difficult time dealing with it. If elevated blood sugars persist, then complications can manifest and may even become life-threatening. These complications can include cardiovascular disease, stroke, kidney damage, hearing impairment, dementia, nerve damage, blindness, skin conditions, amputations, dental disease, and pregnancy complications.
So what are our options for combating type 2 diabetes?
As a society, we can continue to spend $174 billion annually on medications to lower blood sugar or we can start making the necessary lifestyle changes. Those changes include reducing/eliminating breads, pasta, pastries, rolls, cereals, crackers, corn, rice, white potatoes, and other forms of “whole grains”. In addition, physical activity like walking will increase the body’s energy requirements and help to use those neglected energy stores. If you would enjoy the company of others, then checkout the American Volkssport Association as they are a national walking organization with many clubs throughout the states. Click here for the one nearest you.
Click here for post references.
Click here to learn about the new OneTouch Verio Meter.
Click here if you have gestational diabetes, you may find the link helpful.
“This Is What Happens In Your Body One Hour After You Drink A Coke” Click here to learn more.
For my next post, we will look at a potential threat to our wild salmon.
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