There are in fact two forms of diabetes mellitus. The least common, comprising approximately 10% of all diabetes is Type 1 diabetes, which occurs mostly in younger individuals and is created by failure of the pancreas to produce sufficient insulin to control levels of blood sugar in the body. The most common form is Type 2 diabetes , comprising 90% of all diabetes worldwide, which occurs mostly in older individuals.
This form of diabetes is characterised by increasing resistance of body tissues to the effects of insulin resulting in elevated blood sugar levels and significantly increased risks of associated heart & arterial disease, strokes, kidney problems, eye disease, neurological disorders, cancer and dementia.
Essentially diabetes is a horrible disease and we should try our best not to get it! The condition is definitely in the genes, type 2 diabetes has strong genetic links to other family members, in essence if a close relative has the disease then you have a much higher risk of getting it. The modern concept though, is that this form of diabetes (along with obesity, coronary heart disease & hypertension)is a ‘disease of lifestyle’ and that adverse eating practices especially the consumption of large amounts of sugar and refined carbohydrates in the diet for a prolonged period of time are the principal reason why people develop the disease.
The corollary to this is that aspects of lifestyle notably nutrition and exercise are important role players in the prevention and treatment of diabetes.
Some interesting statistics:
80% of type 2 diabetics are obese
An epidemic of diabetes is occurring worldwide correlated with rising obesity rates
In sub-Saharan Africa the number of diabetics is projected to double by 2035
The WHO estimates that 80% of diseases of lifestyle including diabetes are preventable.
Two thousand years ago, long before the current knowledge regarding the human pancreas and it’s secretion of the hormone insulin to control blood sugar, Hindu physicians had suggested that diabetes was a disease of the rich, caused by indulgence in sugar, which had only recently arrived from New Guinea.
Observations in the 19th and 20th Centuries showed diabetes to be virtually non- existent in populations eating their traditional diets but increasingly found in sectors of populations who ate increasing amounts of sugar and white flour. The dramatic increase in consumption of these foodstuffs in Europe and America during the late 19th Century coincided with dramatic increases in the incidence and deaths from diabetes. Prior to the discovery of insulin in the 1920’s it was commonplace for diabetics to be advised to control their condition by restricting the amount of carbohydrates in their diet.
The discovery and use of insulin for the treatment of diabetes combined with the medical profession preaching a “fat is bad for your heart” mantra from the 1970’s led to a shift of the dietary advice for diabetics towards higher levels of carbohydrate whilst restricting fats. This challenges the” metabolic logic” of the disease given that the very essence is the inability of the diabetic to control blood sugar as a consequence of increasing insulin resistance of their tissues especially the muscles and liver.
About Dr. Austin Jeans
Hi there! I am the author of the The Low-Carb Companion, a book which I wrote to show people the science, practicality and effectiveness of following a low-carb higher healthy fat eating lifestyle towards Ultimate Health.
I am a practising Sport and Exercise Medicine Physician based in Harare, Zimbabwe and currently hold the position of Medical Director at the Innovate High Performance Centre, Rolf Valley Sport & Health Centre and the Centre for Sport, Exercise and Lifestyle Medicine. I am also Medical Director of the Low-Carb Companion (LCC) Nutrition Lifestyle clinic which provides the LCC Weight-Loss Program, the LCC Diabetes-2 Reversal Program, the LCC Anti-Cancer Program, the LCC Arterial-Health Program, the LCC Sports-Nutrition Program and the LCC Healthy-Child Program.
If you want to lose weight, prevent the lifestyle diseases of diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimers and cancer, effectively use nutrition to improve outcomes and reduce medications in these conditions and others such as childhood epilepsy and polycystic ovary syndrome or you want to improve your athletic performance and create lifelong health then for all these ….. you are in the right place!