Diabetes type 2 is caused by poor dietary choices, and means your cells no longer respond to insulin. This happens when dietary intake of sugar, and foods that break down into sugar are eaten in excess. Eventually your cells stop responding to insulin.
Insulin’s job in the body is to move the glucose from the blood and get it into cells, to produce energy.
When this no longer functions, the glucose just remains in the blood then boom – you are diabetic.
Having a lot of sugar/glucose in the blood is bad for different reasons, and causes many different health issues.
Previously we thought diabetes type 2 was a gradual decline, and nothing could be done to cure it. This is no longer the truth.
The good news?
Type 2 is caused by the diet, and that is also how you fix it!
But first, you must understand it.
The simple sugar derived from digestion of carbohydrates.
The body has two main ways of producing energy;
- Eat carbohydrates and burn glucose for energy.
- Break down stored fat, convert it into glucose and burn that for energy. (called ketogenesis – remember this word!)
Actually there is a third way, where the body breaks down its own protein/organs and converts that to glucose which is burned for energy, but this only happens in extreme starvation so it not relevant, so you do not need to worry about this!
It is important to understand that these are not the enemy, and are vital for life. But carbs come in many forms, and some of these are very good for you, while others are terrible. For example;
- All fruit and vegetables are carbohydrates.
- Pasta, rice and all other grains are also carbs.
So what makes carbs ‘good’ or ‘bad’?
It is simply the level of refinement. This means that the more human intervention a food undergoes (processing), the more damaging the food is for you.
Here is another example. Brown rice and white rice are the same rice. Brown bread and white bread are from the same wheat. So what is the difference?
The brown whole grain varieties have minimal processing, the germ and bran (outer coverings) are still on the rice or wheat, so it still contains all the B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium ect… The white varieties remove this nutritious covering and discard it, leaving only the white core stripped of nutrition.
Unrefined whole grains are better for you than ‘white’ bread/rice/pasta because the nutrition is still intact and it also contains fibre, which takes longer to digest and slows down how fast glucose is released into the blood stream.
Lipids (Fats) – The missing link
As mentioned previously the body produces energy in two main ways, deriving glucose from carbs, or breaking down stored fat and converting it to glucose. This is what you want to be doing if you want to lose weight, or control/cure type 2 diabetes.
If you want your body to breakdown fat, you must feed it fat.
I have a lot of issues convincing my patients of this, as it seems the opposite of everything they think they know about good nutrition. After all, eating fat makes you fat right??? Wrong!!!
Common myths about fat and fat rich diets;
- Eating fat leads to weight gain.
- Eating fat causes blocked arteries (atherosclerosis).
- Eating fat raises cholesterol levels.
- Eating fat caused cardiovascular disease.
- Eating fat causes inflammation.
Now some fats are not good, just like refined carbs are not good. Poor quality fats from vegetable oils, margarine, shortening, and processed foods are an issue, and can cause the above mentioned issues.
Healthy fats from olives and olive oil, coconut, butter, avocado, nuts and seeds, fish and sea food are what to base your diet around.
Poor quality fats are not healthy, low fat is also not healthy. Low fat tastes really bad and when fat is removed, sugar is usually added to improve the taste. This is not good and should be avoided at all costs.
Nature does not make anything low fat – think about that for a minute. There is a reason why this is so. Low fat is not good for you, so stop eating it!
So in summary the first step to managing and curing type 2 diabetes is;
- Remove all refined sugars and processed foods from the diet, replace with whole foods, unrefined grains and fruit and especially vegetables.
- This enables you to switch from sugar burning to fat burning, where you want to be.
- Increase your ability to process fats by increasing your consumption of healthy fat dominant foods.
Fasting – the most powerful weapon in your arsenal.
During my 3 year nutritional degree in the late 2000’s, fasting was touched on and brushed aside. Obviously because none of my lecturers was taught it properly, and certainly did not understand it or found it clinically useful.
I thought fasting was a joke, why would somebody deny themselves food, what could possibly be gained from this? I thought there was no benefit to it whatsoever…
Man, was I wrong! Fasting is a part of every major religion. I am not religious, but I thought this was strange that a common thread connected all religious beliefs, but it was probably just an old school thing people did if religious, it was not done for any health benefits, or so I thought…
Studying patients with blood sugar issues further I kept coming across fasting, and especially intermittent fasting. Why was this? Surly there was no science to back this theory up?
Several years ago I came across Dr. Michael Mosley, and then an even better expert Dr. Jason Fung who wrote ‘The Obesity Code’ and I was truly shocked to learn the power of fasting. So much information I did not know. Here is a quick summary of what happens to the body when you fast.
- Weaker cells and cancerous cells all die off.
- Reducing carbs while intermittent fasting forces the body to break down stored fat and produce ketones, known as ketosis or ‘the ketogenic diet’ (Atkins diet).
- Blood pressure reduces.
- Blood cholesterol levels reduce.
- Inflammation levels reduce.
- Energy levels improve.
- Blood sugar levels normalize.
So many other things happen to the body when you rest the digestive system; the body gets a chance to repair itself. Fasting is likely not what you think; it is certainly not what I thought it was.
Intermittent fasting is NOT no food and no water. Water should be drunk as needed, and certain foods/drinks can be included in a fasting day.
For example a fasting day might be dinner at 6pm and nothing else is eaten that night. The next morning you might drink black coffee with no sugar, green or black tea, or herbal tea at breakfast time (6-9 am) then a cup of miso soup at 11am, and have your first meal (break the fast) at 12pm. This constitutes a 18 hour fast (from 6pm to 12pm the next day).
Utilizing the high fat/low carb diet not only helps blood chemistry, but has been proven to manage and even cure type 2 diabetes.
Do this twice a week and you are well on your way to regulating your blood sugar and obtaining many of the previously mentioned benefits. A more substantial fasting plan can be discussed with me in clinic. Best of luck on your healing journey!