But in order to change your diet permanently you must start with baby steps
I became aware of how dangerous diabetes can be by caring for patients every day and seeing their complications first hand. I witness how diabetes spins out of control over time and problems just pile up. Diabetes is a slow silent killer and makes life miserable while you’re at it.
The good news is that it can be controlled if you act before complications become established. However, any time is a good time to get started. How can that be done? It will all depend on how aggressively you work, and what healing process you employ. Progressing out of diabetes should be a slow and steady process.
Diabetes is underestimated, because at first symptoms are mild or moderate. But as disease progresses, symptoms become more complex, painful and severe. Complications may appear anywhere in the body and with increased intensity.
Working with diabetics every day I manage insulin doses and other medications. And this is what I notice: diabetes is a disease that ounce established, it progresses and doesn’t get any better with time. In other words, once you begin the slippery slope of diabetes, traditional treatment provide less and less chances to revert the process, even though diabetes may appear to be in control.
It is a catch 22. The more you treat it with insulin, the more diabetic you become; and the more diabetic you become the more insulin treatment you need. The trick is not to not get to the point where you need actual insulin treatment. I follow patients on a daily basis and I see that they make little or no progress once they get started on metformin, or insulin. The only cure for diabetes is to control it when it is just starting.
The complications are well known
- Cardiovascular disease.
- Nerve damage (neuropathy)
- Kidney damage (nephropathy)
- Eye damage (retinopathy)
- Foot damage.
- Skin conditions.
- Hearing impairment.
- Alzheimer’s disease.
These complications are not distinct or self contained. Each complication is in reality a family of diseases within that category. For example, in the case of cardiovascular disease it will manifest into high blood pressure, heart failure, artery plaque buildup and other diseases.
Skin conditions could be itching, wounds, pain, inflammation, ulcers, nephropathy and many other skin conditions all associated with pain and inflammation.
Every single complication above listed will branch out to a series of complications of their own. If you think I’m trying to scare you; I do. Full blown diabetes in the end is a sum of many conditions. This is what we see when diabetes is out of control – one system failing will also cause other system to fail – not good and you should do everything you can to stop it.
This is happening at a massive scale and worldwide. India, Brazil, USA, China, and every other industrialized nation in the world are seeing a diabetes explosion. This change is happening because we have radically changed our diet and lifestyle. We are eating too many carbohydrate, sugars and starchy foods and we are doing it 24/7. How could that be damaging to our health? It is very damaging because some of us cannot process carbohydrates in large amounts and the increased insulin production it creates.
Some of us are sensitive to excess insulin in different ways. Some people that are not diabetes prone will develop other disease such as fat liver disease, heart disease and even dementia or Alzheimer’s, but will not develop diabetes. All these complications come from the same disease process called: metabolic syndrome.
Some of us have intolerance to excess carbohydrates and sugars because we have been built genetically to endure lack of food. If you do have this gene, you’re actually from a strong and tough family group in the past.
It is safe to say that diabetes is a disease caused by our over consumption of fructose. Our recent increased consumption of carbohydrates shows a correlation with the increase of diabetes, as new studies are showing. Diabetes management is very expensive and puts a tremendous stress in our health care system. The industry comes up with more and more drugs. All these drugs do however is to allow you to continue to to eat the foods that are in great part causing you to become diabetic in the first place.
How did we get there and how to stop it
I know that the sentence above is a pet peeve to a lot of people suffering from diabetes. “all you have to do is to change your diet” – easy to say when you don’t have diabetes. It is true that it is not so easy to revert diabetes ounce the disease process have taken hold. And that is because changing diets is another very difficult task. All of these factors lead us to think more and more that the only way is to create life changes.
We also have another problem – physical inactivity. Not that long ago we used to be more active. We simply had to perform physical work to survive. We are genetically programmed to do just that. Today machines will do all the work for us. We sit in offices all day starring at a screen while we munch on chocolate chips, candy, sugary drinks and baked goods.
Because excess glucose comes from over consumption, and starches and carbohydrates are so rich they produce large amounts of ready to use energy. Where does the energy produced by all these carbs go? It just pile up in the body in the form of fat. Waiting for that one day when you are starving of food and will need to survive without it. But that day never comes so it begins to make your body sick. To some of us it means diabetes.
The other problem is that it is difficult to change eating habits. I know people that know everything about dieting, sugar and all fast food problems, but they still can’t control their eating habits.
Using Baby Steps to change your diet
The trick is to use baby steps. Fist we need to make small changes and get really good at these. After we have established a good pace and our changes are more solidified, we move to the next step.
Ketogenic dieting is an excellent diet to completely stop diabetes on its track. But if you are someone who is struggling with either food addiction, reoccurring desire to eat sugars and pastry type foods; you’ll need to use the slow change process. Give yourself some time to adjust. Start by eliminating some item from your diet.
If you like to eat sweets. First start by slowing down on the sweet stuff. Eat cookies at home but not at work. When people throw that bag of chocolate chip cookies on your desk: say thanks, wait for the person to turn around, toss it in the garbage.
Begin by eliminating all junk food one by one. Slowly cut them from your life. Don’t start with heroic and drastic moves. Remember the baby steps. Stop buying packaged foods. 80% of packaged foods contain added sugar or worse high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
Make an inventory of your pantry and your kitchen drawers. After you eat all the junk you bought just don’t buy it anymore. Begin to cut down on the sugar. The less sugar you eat the less sugar you’ll feel like eating. On the other hand, the more you eat the more you’ll feel like eating.
It is more like you have to address your mind first rather than our stomach. If you don’t take care of your mind, desires, emotions first; you food habits will came back with even more strength.
Make lists and keep a journal of what you’re doing. Compare things and measure how you’re progressing. Ounce you noticed you cravings have diminished, stopped eating sugars and pastries and processed food. You should already notice a difference in your health. After this victory you can start tackling something like ketogenic diet.
I hope you take this little post to heart. Sometimes the little things in life are the ones leading us to bigger life transformations – all you have to do is to actually put it to work. One day at a time.
- The effect of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet versus a low-glycemic index diet on glycemic control in type 2 diabetes mellitus
- A low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet to treat type 2 diabetes
- Beneficial effects of ketogenic diet in obese diabetic subjects
- Beyond weight loss: a review of the therapeutic uses of very-low-carbohydrate (ketogenic) diets
- Effect of low-calorie versus low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet in type 2 diabetes
- Dietary carbohydrate restriction in type 2 diabetes mellitus and metabolic syndrome: time for a critical appraisal
- Reversal of Diabetic Nephropathy by a Ketogenic Diet
- Systematic review and meta-analysis of different dietary approaches to the management of type 2 diabetes
- A high-fat, ketogenic diet induces a unique metabolic state in mice
- Effects of diet composition and ketosis on glycemia during very-low-energy-diet therapy in obese patients with noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus
- Lasting Improvement of Hyperglycaemia and Bodyweight: Low-carbohydrate Diet in Type 2 Diabetes. – A Brief Report
- Dietary carbohydrate restriction as the first approach in diabetes management: Critical review and evidence base
- A Review of Low-Carbohydrate Ketogenic Diets
- Has carbohydrate-restriction been forgotten as a treatment for diabetes mellitus? A perspective on the ACCORD study design
Image credit: flickr