For those of you curious as to what this title means, it's the chemical number for the enemy of all Diabetics, glucose. Type 2 diabetes or NIDDM is generally due to a surfeit of this simple sugar and as I have previously said, we are in the midst of an epidemic of this condition. High levels of blood glucose are responsible for hyperglycemia, which can and does cause peripheral problems, to the human body in the form of blindness, circulation loss, heart and kidney problems and even limb loss. The drugs prescribed can cause obesity, kidney failure, heart disease, gastric upsets, headaches, and many other side effects, that at certain levels, can be as dangerous as the problem for which they are prescribed. The diet generally recommended for NIDDM sufferers can also contribute to the spiralling of the problem on a downwards path towards even greater co-morbidities.
My view is that, going backwards in time with our diets, is the sensible way for diabetics to exercise control, than is ever likely to be the case with drugs and the 'balanced diet'. Changing all of our diets would also likely decrease the incidence of diabetes or 'syndrome X' as it was, and is still called in some places, more than any other lifestyle change. Why one might ask ? Well, it isn't that complicated. Carbohydrates, figure quite highly in the diet you are told to adapt to, cutting out saturated fats and oils, eating fruits and vegetables, grains and low GI carbohydrates. Well carbohydrates, low GI or not are starches (C6 H10 O5). Starches are glucose waiting to be hydrolised (water to be added). See the numbers at the top ? Add H2 O and what do you get ? Yeah, that's correct, GLUCOSE, but worse, you now have 111g of glucose for every 100g of starch consumed. You have therefore now increased your calorie intake by 11%, simply by allowing your body to digest it in the only way it can, by hydrolysis. Frankly, you would be better off eating table sugar (sucrose) than starches, because water only adds 4% its calorific value.
A simple biochemical reaction. But, one that increases the glucose burden of a diabetic, so why do it ? It certainly has no sound scientific basis and prior to about 1980 the diet of a diabetic was largely bereft of carbohydrates. But, as over time, greater reliance was placed upon control with hypoglycemic agents (drugs), a diet form, populised by the stupid and completely incorrect view, that fat makes you fat, was adopted. Well, we once believed the earth was flat, because it was intuitive; look around and the ground around is, so that was the held belief. We know of course, that it isn't, but we know a lot of other facts that our eyes cannot prove. Obesity is often labelled as the disease of the lazy over eater, but I know this to be untrue because, I have read the scientific evidence, that shows it to be contrary. And of course it is biochemically impossible.
There is of course the other ghost at the feast, 'Big Pharma'. They fund most of the Diabetic organisations in the Western world and heavily promote their various products as the best method of Diabetic control. The inherent laziness of Doctors and the effect of their views on the patient cohort does the rest. It's simple to write the prescription for Biguanide (metformin) and tell the patient to book an appointment with the nurse, rather than putting some effort and time into discussing options and treatments, together with lifestyle changes. But, it places the patient into a group, that then abdicates responsibilty for understanding and being responsible for their condition. Far better to take another path to a better understanding and consequent long term prognosis.
How ? Well base your diet on the primitive one. Restrict your carbohydrate intake to as little as as possible, but more; increase your intake of fats and protiens to compensate. Restricting starches to 20 grams per meal or 50 - 60 per day as your goal. Together, with basing most intakes of food on a high fat content, together with protiens at reasonable levels, will rest your tired pancreas, satiate your appetite and improve your weight and general health. Shun all soft drinks, low cal or not because they contain fructose or polyols (sugar alcohols). Despite the view that these sugar substitutes do not raise blood glucose they are still carbohydrates and will, to some degree act as such. They also give you the 'trots' and can damage the liver and kidneys at high sustained levels.
To contain your Diabetes take some exercise. The Insulin reaction you have to all food intake, except for fats, which provoke no insulin response at all, is now limited. To burn off your glucose your muscles need to work and the best way is to walk, briskly or even do 'interval training'. But, if your exercise is compromised, you can still take some form, however light. Even a short walk will cause your muscles to take up some of your circulating glucose and can bring you down by 3 to 4 points.
I would also urge investigation of some simple herbal agents such as gymnema silvestre or other ayervedic agents. They work quite well for some and are relatively benign, so far as side effects are concerned. Doctors will say 'not proven' or you don't have any idea of the the content of the product you are buying. I say herbs are the foundation of all medicines and have been used to good effect for centuries and so long as you are carefull, do your research and pick a quality product, little harm can result. After all the first line drug, metformin, a biguanide, is a synthetic form of French Lilac (galega officinalis) and is galegine and guanidine. It's just that you cannot patent that and make lots of money off its sale. So no point in recommending that !
A combination of diet, exercise and a few herbs and vitamins has enabled Mrs B to achieve an Hba1c of 6.6 from 8.8 within a few months of diagnosis. She works hard to contain her condition and never did have a sweet tooth. But it does require a degree of effort, some are not prepared to give. But, any reduction of carbohydrate intake will reward, even if you are already on drugs or even insulin. It may allow a reduction of the drug regime or even allow some respite completely.
Discuss it with your Doctor (not the nurse). Make your own informed decision. Take control of your life; medicine is supposed to be a healing process not a vehicle for prescribing drugs alone.
This information is general. It is not meant to address individual needs or problems. Do not change what you are doing without checking with your Doctor or other Physician or being certain of your own research. Trust me, I'm not a Doctor.