Diabetes is one of the most common diseases in our society today. It has become so prevalent that high blood sugar, hypertension, and diabetes are now considered “normal” or something that comes with age.
It is quite personal to me as well, as it is no stranger to our family. My late grandfather battled diabetes for roughly 40 years and passed away from diabetes complications. I began researching on diabetes and what I found out shocked me. To be honest, I was a bit upset as to why this was never told to me. One of the reasons why I’m writing this post is because I’m sure you may know someone, perhaps a family member, who is suffering from diabetes or is in danger of becoming diabetic.
To give you a background, over the 40 years my late grandfather was suffering from diabetes, he did not lack any medical treatment. We always provided him with the best medication, the finest doctors, and was treated in the best hospitals with top notch equipment.
However, what they didn’t tell us is that despite having access to all these, it never gets to the root cause of the problem. Why did my grandfather have diabetes in the first place? Why was his blood sugar high? What caused this?
Because the answer was NEVER revealed throughout my grandfather’s treatment, he suffered by having multiple heart bypasses, kidney failure to the point where weekly dialysis is needed to flush out the toxins, leg amputation, and finally multiple organ failure because his body just couldn’t support an environment of high blood sugar.
This may sound extreme, but this is exactly what is happening every day, where patients are brought in, given medication, and told that unfortunately, they would have to live with diabetes for the rest of their lives, and the only thing that can be done is to manage it.
If you are diagnosed as pre-diabetic or diabetic, doctors will prescribe you to control your carbohydrate intake and avoid anything that has sugar, including fruits. Eventually, as the body’s processing of carbohydrate deteriorates, you will be required to take insulin and medication to manage your diabetic lifestyle.
Once stamped with the diabetic condition, we usually blame our bad luck or our bad genes. We accept the idea that since our father or great grandfather was diabetic or all our family members are diabetic, it is also our destiny to be diabetic.
There are however people who have totally reversed their diabetes. And the way they did it was through food — because it goes to the root cause of the problem. We must understand that genes do not cause diabetes, and you will learn more as you read on below the Top 5 Things You Must Know About Diabetes.
#1 DIABETES IS NOT CAUSED BY SUGAR BUT BY FAT
What is the cause of diabetes in the first place? The common line of thinking is that diabetic patients must be ingesting a lot of sugar that is why they have high blood sugar. Hence, they will be prescribed to go for zero sugar drinks, not eat fruits, and avoid starchy foods such as white rice, white bread, potatoes, etc.
However, these actions only manage the symptoms and not the cause. One of the best doctors on reversing diabetes is Dr. Neal Barnard. He has reversed diabetes for numerous of his patients, got them off insulin, and back to living a 100% healthy normal life without any medication. I highly recommend checking out this book, Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes: The Scientifically Proven System for Reversing Diabetes without Drugs. Dr. Neal Barnard in his practice and book, brings forth that diabetes is not caused by sugar but by fat. To explain further, whenever we consume a carbohydrate, our body breaks it down into sugar or “glucose”, afterwards our pancreas releases insulin to transport this blood sugar into our cells.
Now the problem with diabetics is not that they are consuming too much sugar or carbohydrates, the dilemma is that the sugar can’t get in the cells! Upon careful inspection, the cells are lined with fat blocking the insulin carrying the blood sugar. As a result, all of the sugar are stored up and not properly processed by our body. Basically, our body can’t process carbohydrates (sugar and starch) efficiently if our cells our clogged by fat, leading to high blood sugar.
A better explanation of this can be found in this video here with Dr. Neal Barnard discussing the subject.
To quote him “We can imagine the whole process to be as ourselves returning home to our house, as we approach our front door, we pull out our key to unlock the front door, but once we stick the key in the keyhole, it doesn’t work and upon further inspection the keyhole is jammed with gum. The solution to getting into our house is to clean the keyhole so we can walk in the front door.” Similar to diabetes, our insulin carries the blood sugar into the cell, the insulin has a key function where it fits into the cell which “unlocks” the cell allowing the blood sugar to be absorbed. However, the blood sugar can’t get in because the insulin key does not work as the cell is jammed by fat. To further illustrate this explanation, you can also check out this video on how you can become diabetic in 6 hours.
#2 JUST BECAUSE YOU’RE SKINNY DOESN’T MEAN YOU CAN’T HAVE HIGH BLOOD SUGAR OR DIABETES
So if fat is what’s causing the cell to clog up, a person just have to lose body fat, right? Unfortunately, this is not the case. I am sure you know someone who is diabetic but is skinny or not overweight. My grandfather was actually very tall and lean and was not overweight at all. However, the fat that is being talked about here is not body fat. It is actually Intramyocellular lipids, meaning it is special kind of fat which accumulates in the cells, shutting off the mitochondria, (fat burning, energy powerhouse) affecting the function of the cells. This fat interferes with the insulin’s intracellular signaling process with the cell, preventing the insulin carrying the glucose from entering.
Intramyocellular lipids from Dr. Neal Barnard’s book.
The point is you can be fit and exercise regularly but still have high blood sugar or diabetes. You can’t exercise your diabetes away if the food you are eating is fueling the fire.
#3 JUST BECAUSE IT’S SWEET DOESN’T MEAN IT’S BAD FOR YOU
Whatever is sweet is perceived as ill-suited for someone suffering from high blood sugar. The notion of fruits being bad because they’re sweet is very common. It is typically lumped with white sugar as the thinking is “Sugar is sweet, hence, it’s bad for me. Fruits are sweet too, so I have to avoid them as well.”
Majority of fruits fall under the low glycemic index while several fruits such as bananas and mangoes fall under the medium-high glycemic index. Glycemic index is how fast the carbohydrates you eat turn into sugar. However, what’s more important is the glycemic load which is how much our blood sugar rises based on the carbohydrate consumed. All fruits have a low glycemic load, including watermelon which has a high glycemic index. This is because aside from fruits being low calorie, they are rich in fiber that naturally slows down the release of sugar in our body.
White pasta, white rice and white bread, on the other hand, all are classified under high glycemic load which is detrimental to someone trying to recover from diabetes as they would spike blood sugar constantly. In addition, these foods are all devoid of nutrients and are not considered whole foods.
To heal from diabetes, it is best to choose low glycemic index or low glycemic load foods to help manage blood sugar.
It would be best to consume whole plant-based foods to give our body the nutrients it needs such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains (Brown rice, oatmeal, etc.)
As long as we keep our dietary fat in check, our body has all the means to process eating carbohydrates from whole foods, including fruits.
#4 AVOID SATURATED FATS FROM ANIMAL PROTEIN AND VEGETABLE OILS TO HEAL YOUR DIABETES
The common questions in our society are “What medicine can I take to cure X diseases?” or “Is there anything I can take to lower my blood sugar?” Since everyone’s asking, most pharmaceutical and health companies take advantage of this by promoting products that “cure” diabetes.
But the reality is, nothing will cure diabetes but your body. No product or outside substance can heal your body but your body.
The most efficient way is to give your body the nutrients it needs from whole food plant-based sources and remove what is causing our cells to be clogged in the first place — saturated fats that are only found in animal protein and vegetable oils. Did you know that consuming a steak can raise insulin almost as much as carbohydrates? This is because the fat from the meat is clogging the cells, raising the insulin sensitivity.
In an experiment performed by Dr. Neal Barnard, he took several diabetic patients and gave them a different approach with their diet. Typically patients are told to follow a restriction diet where they are told to avoid fruits and carbohydrates and to manage their calories; but in this experiment, he gave them a diet plan where they can eat as much carbohydrates as they want with no restriction, the only limitation is that they must avoid animal protein and vegetable oils. The patients were permitted to eat carbohydrates in abundance and their daily diet consisted of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans.
The diet was very high in fiber and carbohydrate, and for the sake of the experiment as food was the test parameter, the patients did not do any exercise. After 12 weeks, 2/3 of the patients were able to reduce or discontinue their medications, and their fasting blood sugar dropped by an average of 28 percent.
Carbohydrates often get a bad a reputation in today’s public. What’s surprising is that the healthiest communities which have the highest standard of health all consume a majority of their diet from carbohydrates, and have close to zero incidences of diabetes or any other diseases. These societies are called “blue zones,” and examples of these are Sardinia in Italy, Okinawa in Japan, Loma Linda in California,etc. Most of their members live past 100 and are free from diseases. On the other hand, societies that consume more protein and fat all have high incidences of chronic diseases.
With regards to cutting down on vegetable oil consumption especially when trying to reverse diabetes, it’s best to cook and saute vegetables such as onion and garlic via steam-frying, which is a technique for sauteing or stir-frying without fat. Just add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water to a stir-fry pan or nonstick skillet to heat the food. This will help avoid the vegetables from sticking. You can check out demonstration here
#5 DAIRY IS ONE OF THE MAIN TRIGGERS OF TYPE 1 DIABETES
You can actually get diabetes at any age, as there are people who are in their early 30s, 20s, and even teens who suffer from it. But have you ever heard about a child who has diabetes? How can a child get diabetes? I have never heard about it actually, until taking part in a previous workshop where one of the attendees shared that his son has type 1 diabetes.
Most of the children who get diabetes usually get type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes was actually called childhood onset diabetes as it affects mostly children. It is much worse than type 2 diabetes. With type 2 the insulin produced by the pancreas transporting the blood sugar can’t get into the cells, however, for type 1 diabetes, the pancreas just stops producing insulin altogether. Imagine the shock of being the parent of a child diagnosed with diabetes! How could this be happening to your child? Apparently, one of the main reasons of type 1 diabetes is a trigger found in milk protein. When infants or children consume dairy, their bodies view the milk cells as invaders, hence, the body’s antibodies begin to attack it.
With constant dairy consumption and the frail and developing state of infants, the antibodies malfunction and end up attacking the healthy cells of the pancreas destroying its capability to produce insulin. In the 1992 New England Journal of Medicine, researchers studying type 1 diabetes found out that a portion of milk protein is an exact match for a portion of the insulin-producing cells.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune response in which our bodies attack its own cells and in this case the insulin transporting the blood sugar to our cells.
The only milk infants or humans need is mother’s milk. We are the only species on earth that consume milk from another species and unfortunately, this has negative effects such as diabetes.
So there you have it, we highly encourage a whole food plant-based lifestyle to reverse and prevent diabetes from ever happening.
A plant-based lifestyle may seem to be overwhelming at first, however, an easy way get started is by adding super green smoothies to your diet.
It’s easy, quick, and delicious. We strongly advise people to take their time and go at their own pace.
The focus is to add more delicious and healthy meals rather than focusing on depriving oneself.
To be transparent, superfoods are not magic pills. The only thing that can heal our bodies is our body itself, and the best way to do that is to support it with nutrient-dense plant-based whole foods.
Only understanding the causes and making lifestyle changes towards consuming more plant-based whole foods can we achieve optimum sustainable health for ourselves and our loved ones.
Let’s go! Your healthiest, strongest, most vibrant self awaits.
Feel free to comment or send us a message, we would love to hear from you.
If you wish to learn more about the topic, we recommend you get the book
Check out the review section in the link above to see the positive benefits people around the world have enjoyed by taking charge of their life.
Dr Neal Barnards’ Program for Reversing Diabetes: The scientifically proven system for reversing diabetes without Drugs: Neal D. Barnard MD, Rodale Publications, 2007.
Renew Yourself : Keys to Rejuvenation and Youthing Dr George Cromack, DC. 2010
Eat to Live: Revolutionary formula for fast and sustained weight loss, Dr. Joel Fuhrman M.D., Little,Brown, Jan 2,2003.
Blue Zones http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Zone
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine http://pcrm.org/