Behind every four premature deaths in developing countries you'll find diabetes – with cardiovascular disease the most common complication. Diabetes is also the leading cause of blindness, disease-related amputations and chronic kidney failure. Sadly it doesn't stop there.
Diabetes and obesity are associated with a greater risk for several cancers, osteoarthritis, migraines, psoriasis, asthma, and other inflammatory diseases. In addition, far more people with diabetes develop depression and Alzheimer's disease. One of the most alarming features of diabetes is that around half with the disease don't know they have it – meaning it's really important that people become aware of the risk factors and prevention strategies. It's mainly the rise in cases of type-2 diabetes that's fuelling the epidemic. This used to affect mostly people over 60, but increasingly affects younger individuals. Type-2 diabetes is a direct consequence of diet and lifestyle.
The main driving factors are eating a high glycemic load diet, coupled with physical inactivity, chronic stress and not enough sleep, made worse by a genetic predisposition. All these also lead to obesity which is also exponentially on the increase. We literally have a 'diabesity' epidemic going on in every country that adopts a western style diet. It's really about diet but the cornerstone of treatment is usually drugs, some of which come with considerable risks. My blog, the Downside of Diabetes Drugs, gives details of the dangers. A recent issue of the British Medical Journal stated that "taking prescription drugs (glitazones) to prevent diabetes cannot be justified” with them favouring a diet and lifestyle approach. The Lancet supports this view, stating that "because type-2 diabetes is largely routed in reversible social and lifestyle factors, a medical approach alone is unlikely to be a solution.”
The scandal is, we already know the solution and it's not drugs – it's a low-GL diet, plus exercise and certain supplements. Eating a low-GL diet doesn't just prevent diabetes, it reverses it. Even those with advanced type-2 diabetes, injecting insulin, can achieve stable blood sugar without recourse to drugs. Five principles to transform your health Applying these principles is the fastest way to reverse diabetes and the surest way to prevent it. You have everything to gain, and nothing to lose except, in most cases, all that unwanted fat. Bear in mind that your need for medication may decrease so it's important to monitor your blood sugar levels and inform your primary care practitioner.
1. Eat a low-GL diet Hundreds of studies now prove that a low-GL diet helps to improve blood sugar balance, and makes you less insulin-resistant, hence reducing the need for medication. Essentially, it's eating little and often; combining carbohydrate foods with protein and eating no more than 40 GLs a day. Becoming aware of the GL of what you eat and knowing how to lower the GL of a meal is one of the fastest routes to good health. The GL of your diet is the most predictive measure of your risk of diabetes, says a recent European study of over 37,000 people. The beauty of my low-GL diet is that it includes high levels of soluble fibres such as oats, lentils, beans and chickpeas which not only further stabilise your blood sugar, but help to eliminate excess cholesterol and fat. If you eat beans or lentils for dinner it lowers the GL of your breakfast, and if you eat oats for breakfast it lowers the GL of your lunch. One of the biggest misconceptions about diabetes, which is not supported by any real evidence, is that you should reduce your fat intake to lower your risk – my diet ensures you are eating the right amounts of the right fats and only avoiding those that are harmful.
2. Eat liver friendly foods A sluggish liver often lies behind the complications of diabetes. Contrary to popular belief, it's your liver, not your pancreas that suffers most in diabetes. According to Jacqueline Paltis in the Sugar Control Bible, Johns Hopkins University found that in 5,000 diabetics autopsied only 2% had a degenerated pancreas, whereas 98% had damaged livers. Foods that support liver function include cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts) rocket, watercress, mustard, onions and garlic. Antioxidant nutrients are also vital to a healthy functioning liver. As a rough guide, foods with strong colours, such as blueberries, tomatoes and cherries have the most antioxidants.
3. Take daily exercise This is a must if you have diabetes or insulin resistance. Exercise lowers insulin, helps to stabilise your sugar level and helps burn fat. Simply moving after a meal, such as a ten minute brisk walk, helps get glucose out of the blood into the cells that need it. Even if you are not significantly overweight, exercise is the final puzzle piece in the process of reversing diabetes. As your energy goes up on my low-GL diet, you'll find that so too does your desire to exercise.
4. Reduce your stress and improve your sleep Stress isn't just caused by external events – it's also caused by changes in your blood sugar. Your body makes the stress hormone cortisol when your blood sugar goes too low. You become more edgy, irritable, grumpy and hungry, craving carbs or sugar. So, by stabilising your blood sugar level, you'll naturally feel less stressed and you'll sleep better as a result. See my Special Report HeartMath to learn a technique to transform your reactions to stress.
5. Take supplements every day In order to tip your body back towards good health, you need much larger amounts of certain nutrients than you'll need once you are healthy. I recommend a high-strength multivitamin combined with certain 'insulin-helpers'. Chromium (which improves your sensitivity to insulin) is an example, with dozens of studies confirming that it helps stabilise blood sugar. In some trial participants, it has normalised sugar levels completely. Chromium has been shown to dramatically decrease the need for medication in many diabetics – in some cases eliminating the need for drugs completely. The ideal intake for someone with diabetes is 600mcg a day. Cinnamon, which mimics insulin, is also a valuable addition to your diet. Try having half a teaspoon daily, alternatively supplement a cinnamon extract – you'll need the equivalent of about 500mg of cinnamon. Some supplements combine chromium with cinnamon extract high in MCHP, which is the active ingredient. Vitamin C is also important for diabetics.
A study in Archives of Internal Medicine of over 21,000 people over a 12 year period concluded that having a high level of vitamin C in your blood, reduces your risk of diabetes by 62%. The optimal blood level for diabetes reduction is achieved by supplementing 1,000mg a day and eating lots of fruit and vegetables. Find out more You can find detailed information and a complete strategy to making the change to a longer, healthier life in my new book Say No to Diabetes. On special offer this week only (14/11/11 - 21/11/11) - 20% discount. Diabetes Events Worldwide My upcoming Diabesity Workshops are taking place in Abu Dhabi on November 22nd, Dubai on November 24th, Bahrain on November 26th, and Singapore on November 30th. Click here to find out more.