Welcome to another edition of the Doctor’s Note, where we talk about what’s on our minds when it comes to your health.
This week we’re going to talk about Type 2 Diabetes.
I want to start by making a bold statement that I know to be true.
Type 2 Diabetes is reversible.
A lot of doctors, dietitians, and even the World Health Organization don’t realize this. It’s a reversible disease, because the root cause of Type 2 Diabetes is essentially carbohydrates. You take the carbohydrates out, and you can cure and reverse it.
Of course, it’s not quite that simple and it’s not easy.
Insulin and Carbohydrates
It turns out that diabetes is a hormone problem. And that hormone is called insulin.
Insulin is that hormone that’s secreted from the pancreas, puts the sugar that goes into the bloodstream from your food and puts it into the cells for energy. What happens is if you eat too many carbs, you produce too much insulin. Insulin makes you hungry and makes you store fat.
When you eat too many carbs and produce too much insulin, that insulin doesn’t work as well. So your body keeps producing more. Which is a bad situation because eventually it won’t work at all. If you keep on this path your body’s insulin won’t work and you’ll have to take insulin shots. Which in my opinion is terrible for Type 2 Diabetics because you’re going to get even fatter.
Half of what I do at my practice is hormonal, and the other half is obesity related. These two go hand in hand.
Most patients have not received correct counseling on diet and nutrition. In fact, most patients who are obese don’t get any nutritional advice from their doctors. And when they do, it’s most likely “eat less and exercise more”. This doesn’t work.
Even the American Diabetes Association recommends that we eat 30-50 carbohydrates EACH MEAL. This is way too many carbohydrates, and carbohydrates are not created equal; i.e., there’s good carbs and bad carbs.
What happens is the ADA ends up promoting one medication after another to help bring your sugar down. And then you eat to bring it back up. It’s a vicious cycle.
Obesity and diabetes has become rampant in the United States. It’s worse now than it has been in the past because we’ve been recommending that people eat too many carbs. 30-40 years ago we put people on a low fat diet because we thought that fat caused heart disease.
There’s not one study that shows this to be true. There are worse kinds of fat of course, but diabetes is a problem with carbohydrate metabolism.
When you eat carbs, you increase your insulin production, crave more foods, and store more fats. You can think of it as a state of carbohydrate toxicity.
The ADA has never stated that you can reverse Type 2 Diabetes, and you absolutely can. Even in patients who have been on insulin for long periods of time.
Thoughts On Diabetes Medications
Most diabetics start with Metformin, which is not a bad drug really for a lot of other reasons. There are also medicines that can make you pump out more insulin. These old fashioned drugs like glimepiride are called sulfonylureas which are terrible medicines. I never use them. Then there are other newer types of medications that make the insulin work better.
Then there are insulin sensitizers and also there are medications that help you eliminate your sugar through your urine. There are also medications that decrease sugar output from the liver and delay gastric emptying.
There are medications that do help diabetes. I’m not against them. In fact, I use some of them for weight loss and prevention of heart disease.
So there are medications that make your insulin work better for you. I’m not against these types of medications. In fact, they found they are very heart protective. Some of the older diabetic medicines could cause harm to the heart.
So I’m not saying that some medications shouldn’t be used. We have to use them at times. What I’m trying to say is look at the root cause, which is carbs and insulin. And in most cases obesity.
The main problem is people are eating too many carbs and are obese.
Half of the people in the United States have a problem with insulin resistance, including me. You can still be lean and have an insulin resistance problem.
Your sugars could be normal also. This is why you need to check your insulin levels. If you have a high insulin level, fasting or non fasting (I like to look at both), you’re probably going to be a diabetic at some point in your life. You’re also probably going to be obese or have a lot of belly fat.
The number one cause of heart disease is insulin resistance.
If not carbs, what?
So if you aren’t eating carbohydrates, what should you eat?
Moderate amounts of protein. If you eat too much protein it turns to sugar. You don’t need a ton of protein.
What you want to eat is more good fats. It tastes good. It’s more filling. And it’s twice as efficient in producing energy as protein or carbohydrates. It’s the only macronutrient that keeps insulin levels low.
It’s all about the hormone insulin.
The Low Carb Rules
Don’t eat anything that says “Fat Free”.
Eat real food.
Eat only when you’re hungry.
Stay away from grains, potatoes, and sugars. Yes, stay away from grains. Use coconut flour or almond flour. There’s plenty of alternatives to white or wheat flour.
Insulin is pro inflammatory. Inflammation causes disease. In particular it can cause heart disease and cancer.
Why isn’t Low Carb the norm?
Eating carbohydrates is habitual for many. The worst carb is sugar, which is very addictive because it tastes good. It’s quick energy.
And we used to think that fat caused heart disease, not carbs.
Big Pharma also makes billions off drugs to treat diabetes.
The best way to treat Type 2 Diabetes is to cut down your carbohydrates dramatically.
Another reason I love intermittent fasting is that it forces the body to use its own fat for energy. That’s why you’ll lose your gut with intermittent fasting.
My main message here is that the root cause of Type 2 Diabetes is reversible by managing your carbs.
Remember that everybody is different.
You have a carb problem if you’re overweight, prediabetic, diabetic, hypoglycemic, or have belly fat. Think about what you put into your mouth.
Think about lowering your carbs and doing intermittent fasting. I’m obviously a big believer in metabolism and hormones to optimize your health. And I love treating diabetics.