The True Culprit!
Diabetes is attacking the people of the US at an alarming rate. According to the National Diabetes Statistics Report, 30.3 million people or 9.4% of the US’s population have diabetes, which is close to double the 5.5% of the population in 1994. Type-2 diabetes is highly associated with poor nutrition and the Standard American Diet (SAD) is a big culprit in the search for the reason behind why the US’s health is deteriorating so quickly. Understanding what is nutrition is essential to understanding the truth about diabetes.
What causes Type-2 Diabetes?
To make it short and simple, as sugar is released into the bloodstream, insulin is produced in order to help the cells in the muscles, and other places in the body, absorb them to utilize them as energy. If the storage sites become blocked, the sugar can’t reach their ‘homes’ and the cells become resistant to the action of insulin.
Many people believe that excess sugar consumption leading to insulin resistance causes type-2 diabetes. However, when studying the effects of sugar consumption on diabetes, while processed and refined sugars are not beneficial, natural sugars have been shown to be helpful for diabetes.
One study was conducted where they highly restricted fruit consumption (because of the sugar content) in patients with type-2 diabetes and found no beneficial effects on HbA1C (indicator for diabetes), weight loss, or waist circumference (Christensen). Another study actually found that fructose and glucose are inversely associated with diabetes risk (Ahmadi-Abhari).
In the discussion on diabetes, the question that many fail to ask is: ‘why aren’t the cells allowing the sugar in?’ A meta-analysis of cohort studies focused on meat consumption and type 2 diabetes risk was conducted and found that meat consumption increases the risk of type 2 diabetes (Aune). So what is it in the meat that may cause this?
There are a lot of fingers being pointed at fatty acids, especially trans and saturated fats in animal products and other unhealthy sources. These fatty acids block the receptor sites in the cells so that the insulin can’t ‘open the door’ for the glucose to enter the cell. This then triggers the rest of the process leading to diabetes (Roden) (Kraegen) (Krssak).
What to do?
If you or someone you know has or is at risk for type-2 diabetes, it is best to stop eating meat immediately. However, just going vegan isn’t the answer either. It is easy to be unhealthy and a vegan at the same time.
Make sure to eat lots of fruits and veggies, nuts and seeds, whole grains, and legumes. Each holds an amazing amount of phytonutrients, fibers, vitamins, and minerals. When done correctly, plant-based nutrition is the key to grasping healthy eating and getting rid of unnecessary diseases like diabetes.
To learn more about how to eat plant-based correctly, check out our Consciously Nutritious program where we walk you through 90 days of how to eat, what to eat, and teach you why you are eating that way.
Christensen, Allan S., Lone Viggers, Kjeld Hasselström, and Søren Gregersen. “Effect of fruit restriction on glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes–a randomized trial.” Nutrition journal12, no. 1 (2013): 29.
Ahmadi-Abhari, Sara, Robert N. Luben, Natasha Powell, Amit Bhaniani, Rajiv Chowdhury, Nicholas J. Wareham, Nita G. Forouhi, and Kay-Tee Khaw. “Dietary intake of carbohydrates and risk of type 2 diabetes: the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer-Norfolk study.” British Journal of Nutrition 111, no. 2 (2014): 342-352.
Roden, Michael, Thomas B. Price, Gianluca Perseghin, K. Falk Petersen, Douglas L. Rothman, Gary W. Cline, and Gerald I. Shulman. “Mechanism of free fatty acid-induced insulin resistance in humans.” Journal of Clinical Investigation 97, no. 12 (1996): 2859.
Krssak, M. F. P. K., K. Falk Petersen, A. Dresner, L. DiPietro, S. M. Vogel, D. L. Rothman, G. I. Shulman, and M. Roden. “Intramyocellular lipid concentrations are correlated with insulin sensitivity in humans: a 1H NMR spectroscopy study.” Diabetologia 42, no. 1 (1999): 113-116.