Thursday, January 9, 2020

Retrospective #327: “Just by changing what I ate…”

Doctors treat Type 2 Diabetes by treating its salient symptom: high blood sugar. What they tell you to do is “eat right, exercise and lose weight,” and when that fails, to “fix” the problem, you get put on oral antidiabetic medications.  But that’s why you went to the doctor, right? For him or her to take care of you; to “treat” your pre-diabetes or Type 2 diabetes; to write a script to make you “better” (or at least to manage your condition)? That’s THEIR job, right?
But high blood sugar is only a symptom of Type 2 diabetes!!! So is being overweight or obese. They are not the cause of Type 2 Diabetes; they are only associated with it. But the doctor tells you to lose weight and take the pills anyway. And when you don’t lose weight and as your high blood sugars persist, your Type 2 diabetes inevitably progresses…
Did you ever wonder why doctors don’t treat the cause of Type 2 Diabetes? They know the cause of Type 2 Diabetes is Insulin resistance (IR). Why don’t they treat that? Or tell you how you became Insulin Resistant? Well, I’ll tell you.
First you have a genetic predisposition, and because of what you ate, those genes have “expressed” an intolerance for processed carbohydrates. How? By eating too many of them for too many years, as the government has told you to do. Type 2 Diabetes takes many years to develop but, for some people (the genetically predisposed), it inexorably leads to Insulin Resistance (IR). And Insulin Resistance means that you are now, to some degree, intolerant of carbs.
Here’s the mechanism: When you overload your digestion/absorption system with glucose -- the breakdown product of all carbohydrates – the level of insulin, responsible for transporting those glucose molecules to your cells, rises. Continued elevation results in a slight resistance to its uptake, and continuous elevation, over time (from years of overeating processed carbs at every meal and in between), your Insulin Resistance gets worse. It’s a vicious cycle.
And when your blood INSULIN levels are in a constantly elevated state – especially when you snack between meals because you’re always hungry – well INSULIN, besides being the glucose-transporter-gateway hormone, is also the fat-storage hormone. Your body (brain, stomach and gut) thinks that if you have an elevated blood insulin, you have a ready source of glucose (carbs) for energy, so it blocks access to its precious body fat stores for energy. In effect, you feel “starved” and you get a hunger message to go out and snack on a piece of fruit. Your body can conserve its fat.
That function of INSULINmaking and storing fat -- for when it thinks you really need it (winter, famine), is called, de novo lipogenesis. Your liver will make fat from anything you eat, including carbs. This is a relic of the Paleolithic age – only 500 generations (10,000 years) ago. So long as you have an elevated blood insulin, in modern tmes from eating processed carbohydrates in combination with the insulin resistance you developed from eating too many processed carbs for too many years), and glucose availability either from food-by-mouth or glycogen stored in your liver (from carbs you ate yesterday), it won’t switch over to burning your body fat. And you’ll be hungry…again, every few hours.
But let’s face it. Your doctor isn’t going to tell you this. He or she would have to admit that the medical advice you’ve been getting for over 50 years, that to avoid saturated fat and dietary cholesterol, you should eat a diet of 55% to 60% carbohydrate, has been all wrong. My doctor did tell me, however, but accidentally and inadvertently. He thought that being obese was a cause of Type 2 Diabetes, and he saw that my blood sugars were out of control even though I was then taking 3 classes of oral meds, and maxed out on 2. SO, ALL HE WANTED WAS FOR ME TO LOSE WEIGHT.
Here’s how it happened. One Sunday morning in July 2002, he read the cover story of the New York Times Sunday Magazine. The cover depicted a rib-eye steak with a pat of butter on top. After reading the article, “What If It’s All Been a Big Fat Lie,” he tried the diet himself and lost 17 pounds in a month. Then, when I walked into his office for my next appointment, he said to me, “Have I got a diet for you!” The first day on it I had a hypoglycemic episode (low blood sugar) and the next day another. In less than a week he took me off one antidiabetic med and had twice reduced the other two by half. Later, I totally eliminated one of those and today take just a small dose of Metformin.
And I did all that, “JUST BY CHANGING WHAT I ATE…”  PS: I also lost 170+ pounds.

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