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Endocrinologists have persuaded other medical practitioners and the public to accept the idea that regardless of age, body-mass index (BMI) or gestational status, patients suddenly develop a resistance to insulin in their liver, fat cells, and muscle cells, which leads to the cells not being able to accept glucose, leaving it in the bloodstream. The acceptance of this theory by the medical community legitimizes the treatment of diabetes to be based on controlling blood sugar using drugs. My greatest fear is that medications often make patients complacent about making the lifestyle changes necessary to keep blood sugar level within normal limits without the use of drugs. Over time, many patients on drug therapies must therefore increase their dosages or even begin injecting insulin, because they are wearing out their pancreas prematurely. Numerous complications can result from the ongoing use of drugs, rather than learning how to eat properly to avoid diabetes.
First of all, medications are started even in a person with prediabetes on the assumption that this can rectify resistance of cells to insulin. However, we can’t verify this claim because we do not have a test to measure the reduction in insulin resistance by cells of any organ in the body. Secondly, some medications force the pancreas to increase its insulin production, but this may prematurely wear out this organ and cause the patient to need insulin injections. The use of insulin injections to regulate blood glucose levels creates problems such as unexpected hypoglycemic reactions with potentially severe consequences. Other medications force the kidneys to excrete more urine since this is an effective way to eliminate water-soluble glucose, but this carries serious side effects, such as dehydration. Finally, even patients who diligently keep their blood glucose levels within acceptable limits using medications suffer complications in the same organs as those with uncontrolled blood sugar.
It is possible to lose weight through exercise and, in the process, reduce blood sugar levels and prevent diabetes or reverse prediabetes. However, I believe that it is not probable that exercise helps most adults lose weight, for many reasons. Most people simply do not exercise enough to accomplish the goal of emptying their fat cells. Exercising burns very few calories relative to one’s daily intake, especially if you are already overeating. Another problem with exercise is that it does not have the same impact on weight loss as you age. It is very difficult to keep up the level of activity needed to maintain a negative calorie intake when you have aging muscles. The use of specific diets as a preventative treatment for high blood sugar and diabetes fails to acknowledge the research that proves that dieting seldom works to help adults, with or without diabetes, maintain reduced weight over the long-term. Eat, Chew, Live provides a new concept to explain the cause of high blood sugar and ideas that can truly motivate adults to change their lifestyle to reverse diabetes or prevent it.
Once you suspect that insulin resistance does not make sense because it is illogical that only three types of cells in the body become resistant to insulin regardless of the duration of the disease, then you are free to think outside the box and challenge assumptions. A few questions, for instance, are: What protects cells in other organs from becoming resistant to insulin? If muscles are not burning glucose because of insulin resistance, how do diabetic patients maintain body heat? Why do we not see progressive loss of muscle strength in adults who are diagnosed with diabetes?
My theory begins with the fact that cells are like a hybrid car; they can burn glucose or fatty acids as a perfectly normal metabolic process. When we exercise hard or fail to eat enough, the body begins breaking down the triglycerides stored in our fat cells and burning the resulting fatty acids in muscle cells.
This metabolic process not only helps to maintain body heat and muscle strength but also is a tip-off to the cause of high blood sugar and diabetes. Here’s why:
When you eat, food is broken down in the intestines into its many nutrient components, one of which is glucose. Glucose not immediately used for energy in your cells is converted in the liver to triglycerides, which are stored in your fat cells. When you overconsume food over many years, you eventually fill up your fat cells with triglycerides. Every person has a certain allotment of fat cells, whether they are thin or heavy. At some point, you run out of room in fat cells to store triglycerides. Instead, these molecules are broken down outside the fat cells into fatty acids that enter the bloodstream, and as stated above, muscles burn these instead of glucose. This leaves glucose in your bloodstream that your body should have been burning, creating high blood sugar. If you maintain increasingly high blood sugar for a long period of time, you end up with diabetes. This metabolic explanation for diabetes makes far more logical sense than sudden insulin resistance in only three types of body cells.
Stress by itself need not lead to diabetes. Otherwise a majority of people would become diabetic since almost everyone experiences stress in one form or another. However, it can contribute to the development of diabetes through several mechanisms. Using food frequently as a stress reliever could lead to weight gain and fullness of fat cells. Second, cortisol, released in response to stress, can promote the exit of fatty acids from fat cells. In addition, growth hormone released during stress can enhance fatty acid burning in cells. In these ways, stress may contribute to the fatty acid burn switch that leaves glucose in the blood. In addition, cortisol stimulates the liver to produce glucose from amino acids that come from the overconsumption of proteins, thus flooding the bloodstream with even more glucose.
It is possible to lower blood sugar and reverse diabetes even in people who are already using insulin. By losing sufficient weight through avoidance of the very foods that fill up your fat cells—i.e., grain-based complex carbohydrates—you create space for the circulating fatty acids to be stored as fat. Your body will therefore switch back to burning the glucose as its main source of fuel and you can maintain normal blood sugar by continuing to avoid the consumption of grains and grain-based foods on a regular basis. You can verify the reversal of diabetes by doing a glucose tolerance test that is commonly used to diagnose or rule out this condition.
However, it is important to note that if you have diabetes, it may have already caused damage to your nerve tissues, eyes, kidney, or other organs. Reversing your diabetes will not reverse the damage that has already been done, but it can help ensure that no further damage will occur.
Instead of the traditional classification of foods into groups of protein, carbohydrate, fat, vitamins, minerals, etc., this book is based on becoming more aware of what your body is trying to acquire from eating: nutrients. The human brain evolved to help us survive and one of its critical functions is to monitor our nutrient intake to ensure we have the nutrients we need. The brain is enormously sophisticated and it communicates with every cell in the body. This means that if we pay attention more closely to our brain, we will be able to decipher more clearly its hunger and satiation signals. The brain informs us when we need nutrition and when we have consumed the right nutrients. It especially uses our taste and smell receptors to assess the nutrients in our foods. We must therefore eat “consciously” and “mindfully” – by chewing slowly and fully, letting the taste and smell receptors register the nutrients in the food. The title of my book—Eat, Chew, Live—is a strong reminder that learning to eat slowly and savor your food is far better for your health than eating a predetermined type of food or eating until your stomach can hold no more.
My book does neither of these, as my belief is that everyone has a natural mechanism to acquire nutrients needed in the body on a timely basis. My philosophy is that every individual needs to learn how to listen to his or her body. A recent research report showed that four common brand-name diet plans had little impact on helping people maintain reduced weight over the long-term. The goal of Eat, Chew, Live is to teach people why they need to avoid grain-based complex carbohydrates as these are the main cause of high blood sugar. I explain in the book how everyone can learn to listen closely to their brain’s natural signals of hunger and satiation and override the bad eating habits they formed over time due to stress, social pressure, and the mass marketing of unhealthy foods.
How many times you eat is not as important as how much you eat. The most important thing is to listen to your body’s signals and adjust your food intake based on need. Remember that you have no business eating unless you’re hungry. If you’re organizing the event, try to have specific meal times rather than having food available all the time. Use a specific area or table to serve the food. Make people have to rise up and walk to get their food rather than bringing food to them at their tables.
The fact that diabetes is occurring in many countries of the world is actually proof of my theory. If you think about it, it is illogical that millions of people around the globe are suddenly developing insulin resistance, as if it were an infectious disease. It is far more logical to think that something in their diet is creating the conditions for diabetes. And indeed, this is what we see happening. It is not surprising that diabetes is on the rise in countries that are relying increasingly on mass-produced and heavily marketed grains and grain-based breads, sweets, and packaged foods. These are products that often utilize cheaply produced flour, have had sugar added to them, and that contain high amounts of salt, which tends to reinforce feelings of hunger for carbohydrates (a metabolic reaction which is explained in my book).
Any product made from grains is still a complex carbohydrate that breaks down into glucose in your intestine. Don’t be fooled by advertising claims such as “whole grain,” “no cholesterol,” “gluten free,” “fortified with vitamins and minerals,” and “no high-fructose corn syrup” because these claims do not change the basic composition of these products; they are still foods that will elevate blood sugar and lead to diabetes. You can acquire the needed vitamins from vegetables as long as you eat a variety of them.