Diabetes Epidemic

Hi friends,

Some of you know that I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes about 5 weeks ago. I had a scare when the doctor told me my blood sugar was at an all time high of 11. The normal range is between 4-7.  I immediately got on Metformin medication to help me process insulin and began to cut out some of my sugary snacks and soda pops like Coca-Cola.  My doctor told me I could drink diet soda but I cannot stand the diet sweeteners. Besides that I've heard for a long time about the dangers of diet sweeteners.


Dr. Janet Hull has this to say about the dangers of one common diet sweetener, Aspartame.
 The dangers of aspartame poisoning have been a well-guarded secret since the 1980s. The research and history of aspartame is conclusive as a cause of illness and toxic reactions in the human body. Aspartame is a dangerous chemical food additive, and its use during pregnancy and by children is one of the greatest modern tragedies of all.

Why haven't you heard about this before? Partly because the diet industry is worth trillions of American dollars to corporations, and they want to protect their profits by keeping the truth behind aspartame's dangers hidden from the public. When NutraSweet® was introduced for the 'second' time in 1981, a diet craze revolutionized America's eating protocols and a well-oiled money machine was set into motion changing modern lifestyles. After more than twenty years of aspartame use, the number of its victims is rapidly piling up, and people are figuring out for themselves that aspartame is at the root of their health problems. Patients are teaching their doctors about this nutritional peril, and they are healing themselves with little to no support from traditional medicine.
You can read more about aspartame and it's effects on the body on Dr. Hull's website here. You can also read about all the other sweeteners here.  There is also a good Australian summary about diet sweeteners and other food additives here. The Australian page made me realize that there is a lot of hidden aspartame in foods we consider healthy. I will have to investigate this further in relation to my own diet. If any of you are interested in how aspartame became legal if it is so bad for you, you can read a time line here.

Anyway, I digress, my issue is not really that I add sugar to my foods. For example, I do not add sugar to my cereal unless it is slow cooked porridge or cream of wheat, nor do I add sugar or honey to tea or coffee.  I also don't add sugar to fruit like freshly cut strawberries even though most strawberries in the store really have little sweetness due to forced growth and shipping before they are ripened.  However, I still had sugar in my diet where it has been added to foods like:
  1. regular soda pop, mostly coca cola and ready sweetened drinks
  2. ice cream
  3. snacks like ready made cakes, cookies and other baked goods
  4. canned foods like beans
  5. ketchup and other condiments.
For some time now, even before the diabetes diagnosis, I have in fact, radically cut back on all processed foods, and also on purchasing the items listed above. I eat more greens like kale, swiss chard, bok choy, broccoli, and multi-coloured vegetables (range of peppers, tomatoes, red and white onions, zucchini, carrots, etc.). I have also added more sweet potatoes to the diet, brown rice instead of white rice, eat only multi-grain bread and sprouted grain breads at home. I bake my own snacks like banana bread and cookies as much as I can and try to limit eating out in restaurants for health and budgetary reasons.

Despite all these changes I had gained quite a lot of weight since the fall due to previous illnesses/disabilities and an inability to move. I was also napping very frequently and for lengthy periods of time as I simply had no energy.  I was extremely fatigued all the time and more than that I felt exceedingly unwell.  I chalked it up to numerous health problems which I was already dealing with.  In desperation I got onto some herbal tinctures made up for me by a naturopathic doctor at the urging of a friend of mine. While these tinctures did work in terms of helping me feel better and less inclined to napping, I was still suffering. Now I am on the Metformin, exercising regularly (it helps that I don't need to nap every day, though some days are better than other days) and still making adjustments to the diet.

For the first two weeks after my diagnosis, I was afraid to eat anything. For the next few weeks, I ate whatever was available and not always what was the healthiest.  I did try very hard (and mostly succeeded) at not drinking coca cola or eating snack foods, sweet or otherwise.  I also cut out Creamo from my coffee. I've mostly stopped drinking coffee as a result or use whitener though if I look up the ingredients in that, I may have to cut it out as well. I have been drinking more milk. I use 1% milk and have been drinking that and using it for my cereals for some years now.  I have also been making my own ice tea drinks using real tea bags and sliced lemons mixed with a small bit of ice tea mix. I tend to like my drinks less sweet side so you can imagine how surprised I was when I learned that I had been drinking coca cola or equivalent soda pop, and that each can has anywhere from 10-12 teaspoons of sugar in it!  In addition to the dietary changes I started with an exercise class and swimming lessons as well as more walking. I would not be able to add this physical activity to my weekly routine if this were last Fall so I am thankful I can do it now.

Yesterday on American television, two shows: The Drs. and Oprah with guest Dr. Oz talked about the epidemic of diabetes in America. 

The 2009 estimated population in the USA is just under 310 million people. There are 24 million diabetics in America and 57 million pre-diabetics.  Dr. Oz said that if the rate of diabetes in USA continues as it is now, it will bankrupt the American medical system. That's right! Bankrupt the system. That is a scary proposition.  Especially since millions more American people are supposed to benefit from recent changes to their health care system.   Doctors there also estimate that about 6 million people are walking around in USA who have diabetes but haven't yet been diagnosed. I think I got that number right, but you will hear it by clicking on the Oprah link above and listening to Dr. Oz.

Canada's estimated population for 2010 is just over 34 million people. I also read today that 1 out of every 10 Canadian people have been diagnosed with diabetes. That is a full 10 percent of us. I wonder how many are walking around without knowing they have this disease which has been dubbed the "silent killer"? The good news is that 90% of diabetes is preventable and reversible.

I didn't realize until I got a diagnosis of diabetes just how much there was to learn about coping with and managing the disease. Part of that is monitoring your blood sugar levels and you do that with a glucose monitor. I got mine today and measured my blood sugar with the assistance of the pharmacist at my doctor's office. It was a 6! That is fully 5 points less than it was a month ago and is now in the normal range.The pharmacist and student pharmacist were very happy and impressed.

I also borrowed this cookbook from the pharmacist to see what new recipes I can learn about that are good for my roommate and I.


If you would like to learn more about diabetes, please watch the videos on the links for The Drs. and Oprah above.

You can also read more
in Canada here.
in USA here.
in Australia here.
in South Africa here.
in Tanzania here.
in Kenya here.
in Norway here.
other EU Nations here.

19 comments:

  1. Please be still, and get well, sweet friend...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good for you! You're doing great! My dh's blood sugar is back in normal range after giving up sugar sodas and switching to just a bit of diet soda. He never liked diet soda, either, but found he can tolerate the Diet Mt. Dew (which is toooo high in caffeine as far as I'm concerned but oh well! *S*). He just 'tops' his glass of Stevia sweetened Kool-Aid (he only likes pink lemonade or yellow and lime-aid)with about an inch of the diet to give him fizz. You have to choose wisely the stevia you buy because most are bitter. I purchase "Kal" brand of pure stevia and it's never been bitter. It's a bit pricey but lasts forever. I figure it's cheaper than medication. :-) We also use Truvia. I put an 1/8 of a tsp. in a pitcher of Kool-Aid and 2 of the little scoops that come in the Stevia for extra in the lemonade's. We've also cut way down on our carbs. I'm happy if I get no carbs for the day but that doesn't always happen. If I do eat a carb I eat it with protein and try to keep it a small amount. If you want to drop your carbs down to normal portions you could read Dr. Bernstein. He has info on the web. Or visit my friends website who is diabetic and followed his method somewhat and brought her numbers within normal range: http://www.givengrace.com

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  3. I forgot to check the box for follow up emails when someone posts so I'm writing this next post and adding that feature. :-)

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  4. I'm sorry to hear about your health problems, but sounds as though you are on the right track ! I try to avoid artificial sweeteners too, but must say that I enjoy the odd Diet Coke now and then which does contain them. Thanks for all the links in the post, too ....

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  5. Very interesting post. I'm curious to find out more, here in Europe, where food regulations are much tighter than in the US aspartame is allowed. I have to explore this!

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  6. It's pretty hard not to be touched by your story and to wish for your success. Both what you're trying to accomplish with your health and what you're doing in Africa. I'm humbled by your goals.

    I read a lot about diabetes (which is how I found you), because of the significant impact that it's had on my life through the many loved ones in my family that have been effected by the disease. Diabetes has played such a prominent role in my life in fact, that I founded a nutrition company designed to make foods that are delicious and perfect for a person living with diabetes. Our first line of products are protein bars that are ultra low in carbs and have the perfect nutritional profile. They don't use any sugar, they have no sugar alcohols, and have 20g protein with only 4g of non-fiber carbs. They are also a significant source of fiber.

    If you (or any of your readers) go to www.QuestProteinBar.com and request a sample we'll send you some free bars so that you can try them before you buy.

    I wish you all the best in all of your goals. Hopefully in some small way we can help you get your blood sugar back on track. Thanks for inspiring me!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Sorry to hear about your diabetes. It s difficult to learn all you need to know in a short time.
    DH was diagnosed about 7 years ago. and his father about 5 years ago. They get the gene from his dad's mother.
    As you go along, you will become more comfortable with your diet and meds.
    Good luck

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi Shell, thank you sweetie for the well wishes. Big hugs xx

    Living on Less, thank you for sharing your DH's story. I'm sorry but I don't think his solution to the "fizz" kick is very appealing to me :-) I will likely give in to a cola but do so far less often. The diabetic diagnosis is probably the jolt I needed to be more disciplined in this area, and I hope the motivation is lasting. I will read your friend's site so thanks for the tip!

    Hi Lynda, my sense is you are quite a bit more disciplined than I am. You might want to re-think the diet soda though. Read up on the diet sweetners first if you haven't already. It is as scary as being sick.

    Laura, you are fortunate to have more stringent regulations in the EU. My guess is that most countries permit far fewer sugar substitutes, some of which can be highly addictive and others downright dangerous. Please do check out your specific country and let me know what you find. I am curious to know.

    Tom Alerts, thanks for the "plug" about your product. It is always good to know what is out there. I might check out the bars. It is nice that samples are provided first.

    Susan, thank you for sharing your family's story. I know diabetes is rampant and it seems globally not just in NA. I got the gene from my dad's side, although there appears to be a bit of it in my mom's extended family. I am in one of the high risk groups so....gotta make the best of it. Thanks for the encouragement.

    ReplyDelete
  9. There is a lot of great information in this post. Diabetes runs in my family, but so far I don't have it. I love Diet Cokes and Sweet Tea. Yikes!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi there..I just read this and send you my best! Thanks for your comments too. You remind me a little of myself sometimes. Hey, never have I been so down and in the dark. Since the last time we exchanged thoughts, my husband and I have been using mms- (for over a week now) here is a link which clearly explains it, but I think Canada is different in how it looks at this as well as Austraila. It's simple- it exists in our own bod's. But have a listen and see what you think whenevers.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bp1eqTajcpQ&feature=related
    Your info you supplied in regard to Aspartame reminds me of the charming FDA. I dislike artificial sweetners too. Anyway, it's good to make changes and glad your exercising too. Diabetes is nasty..especially here in the Hawaiian Islands. Well, I know you were taking a break and I hope mine is over but I'm still not out of the woods. Take care of yourself my friend!
    Regina

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  11. Hi Debbie, for years I drank Coca Cola despite knowing it wasn't good for me and even though I tried to make other good changes. Sometimes I think whatever they put in these substances is highly addictive and in fact I've heard that recently about the sweeteners they put in drinks. I guess that explains it part why they are hard to kick. And if you read a little more you will see that diet sweeteners can actually lead to inability to lose weight. Isn't that ironic? That is despite all the other bad things about it. I am not trying to make anyone make changes. I am just trying to share some information I've had to recently look into and learn about in the hopes it might help someone else :-)

    Regina, thanks for dropping by. Thanks too for the link. I had to go and look at some other videos also. I can't say I understand the science so well or even fully believe it at this point. I tend to need to be dealing with a situation myself in order to pay attention and learn. It sounds though like you and your husband are very sick. I pray you will get better soon. That book "Miracle Mineral", I picked up in a health food store a few years ago and unfortunately I gave it away when I was decluttering. I think I began to read it but never finished. I see that Canada and Australia have now in fact banned the MMS.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi Joyful,
    I'm sorry to hear of your diagnosis but am happy to hear you are getting your diabetes under control. I am sure it is not easy. I have 2 close family members who have diabetes so I know I need to be careful.

    Have you looked into "xylitol" - it is a low-glycemic sweetener that is supposed to not alter the sugar levels? It tastes much better than stevia in my opinion. Also, there is agave syrup, but I believe one has to be careful with how much of that. Not sure though. I would feel the same too as I don't like artificial sweeteners. Let me know if one of these helps you. Take care of yourself.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I also have diabetes in my family history, so I should be more careful about my lifestyle and diet. I wish you all the best as you make changes to improve your health, and get the diabetes under control.

    I am also very wary of artificial sweeteners. Have we all forgotten saccharine already? I am very careful to avoid them when choosing food products for my family. We are still continually "discovering" that the natural foods, not the ones made in a chem lab, are the ones which are best for us !!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi Lyn, I am familiar with Xylitol as they sell it here in one of the drugstores. I haven't tried it yet. I am also familiar with agave syrup which they sell in the natural food store here. I don't really use much added sugar but if I need to change that I will probably check out the Xylitol after some research :-) Thank you for letting me know of these.

    Garden Lily, thank you so much for your visit and your well wishes. I do wish you well with your diet as family history is a good indicator of whether you will also get diabetes.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hi Lyn, I am familiar with Xylitol as they sell it here in one of the drugstores. I haven't tried it yet. I am also familiar with agave syrup which they sell in the natural food store here. I don't really use much added sugar but if I need to change that I will probably check out the Xylitol after some research :-) Thank you for letting me know of these.

    Garden Lily, thank you so much for your visit and your well wishes. I do wish you well with your diet as family history is a good indicator of whether you will also get diabetes.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi Debbie, for years I drank Coca Cola despite knowing it wasn't good for me and even though I tried to make other good changes. Sometimes I think whatever they put in these substances is highly addictive and in fact I've heard that recently about the sweeteners they put in drinks. I guess that explains it part why they are hard to kick. And if you read a little more you will see that diet sweeteners can actually lead to inability to lose weight. Isn't that ironic? That is despite all the other bad things about it. I am not trying to make anyone make changes. I am just trying to share some information I've had to recently look into and learn about in the hopes it might help someone else :-)

    Regina, thanks for dropping by. Thanks too for the link. I had to go and look at some other videos also. I can't say I understand the science so well or even fully believe it at this point. I tend to need to be dealing with a situation myself in order to pay attention and learn. It sounds though like you and your husband are very sick. I pray you will get better soon. That book "Miracle Mineral", I picked up in a health food store a few years ago and unfortunately I gave it away when I was decluttering. I think I began to read it but never finished. I see that Canada and Australia have now in fact banned the MMS.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hi Shell, thank you sweetie for the well wishes. Big hugs xx

    Living on Less, thank you for sharing your DH's story. I'm sorry but I don't think his solution to the "fizz" kick is very appealing to me :-) I will likely give in to a cola but do so far less often. The diabetic diagnosis is probably the jolt I needed to be more disciplined in this area, and I hope the motivation is lasting. I will read your friend's site so thanks for the tip!

    Hi Lynda, my sense is you are quite a bit more disciplined than I am. You might want to re-think the diet soda though. Read up on the diet sweetners first if you haven't already. It is as scary as being sick.

    Laura, you are fortunate to have more stringent regulations in the EU. My guess is that most countries permit far fewer sugar substitutes, some of which can be highly addictive and others downright dangerous. Please do check out your specific country and let me know what you find. I am curious to know.

    Tom Alerts, thanks for the "plug" about your product. It is always good to know what is out there. I might check out the bars. It is nice that samples are provided first.

    Susan, thank you for sharing your family's story. I know diabetes is rampant and it seems globally not just in NA. I got the gene from my dad's side, although there appears to be a bit of it in my mom's extended family. I am in one of the high risk groups so....gotta make the best of it. Thanks for the encouragement.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Sorry to hear about your diabetes. It s difficult to learn all you need to know in a short time.
    DH was diagnosed about 7 years ago. and his father about 5 years ago. They get the gene from his dad's mother.
    As you go along, you will become more comfortable with your diet and meds.
    Good luck

    ReplyDelete
  19. It's pretty hard not to be touched by your story and to wish for your success. Both what you're trying to accomplish with your health and what you're doing in Africa. I'm humbled by your goals.

    I read a lot about diabetes (which is how I found you), because of the significant impact that it's had on my life through the many loved ones in my family that have been effected by the disease. Diabetes has played such a prominent role in my life in fact, that I founded a nutrition company designed to make foods that are delicious and perfect for a person living with diabetes. Our first line of products are protein bars that are ultra low in carbs and have the perfect nutritional profile. They don't use any sugar, they have no sugar alcohols, and have 20g protein with only 4g of non-fiber carbs. They are also a significant source of fiber.

    If you (or any of your readers) go to www.QuestProteinBar.com and request a sample we'll send you some free bars so that you can try them before you buy.

    I wish you all the best in all of your goals. Hopefully in some small way we can help you get your blood sugar back on track. Thanks for inspiring me!

    ReplyDelete

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