Type 2 diabetes is rapidly becoming one of the world’s greatest problems.
For so many people diabetes is a chronic, progressive disease that causes devastation — but it doesn’t have to be. With this in mind, let’s take a look at what has been called a diet to reverse type 2 diabetes.
This article is part of the nutrition heroes segment and today will focus on the work of Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt, the diet doctor. As someone who has helped tens of thousands of people to improve their health, the ‘nutrition hero’ tag is definitely deserved.
But first, some background information.
The Devastating Type 2 Diabetes Epidemic
At present, it’s probably fair to say that type 2 diabetes is one of the worst epidemics ever seen in history.
Although diabetes has always existed, it wasn’t until the 1980s when the disease began to spiral out of control.
In fact, back in 1980, there were only 5.5 million Americans living with diabetes. By 2014, the number of diagnosed diabetes cases in the US had reached 22 million — a 400% increase.
In contrast to the words you often hear from the medical industry, this wasn’t just by chance. Particularly, the idea of diabetes being a predetermined condition brought on through “poor genes” is ridiculous.
The prevalence of a disease doesn’t just shoot into orbit over a few short decades. That is unless we are doing something seriously wrong.
Is the Modern Diet Causing the Type 2 Diabetes Epidemic?
Important to realize is that the increase in type 2 diabetes rates paralleled the growing obesity epidemic.
Of course, the logical thing to do is to look at when this trend began. In this case, both of these devastating conditions had their roots in the early 1980s. So, is there any particular event that could have sparked this health crisis?
Looking at this chart, we can see that obesity rates were relatively stable before the introduction of the first ever dietary guidelines.
So, what did the dietary guidelines of 1980 tell us to do?
- Limit fat and saturated fat
- Eat enriched bread and cereals
- Moderate consumption of eggs and organ meats
- Substitute starches for fats
- Choose lean meats and trim the fat off
In short, the dietary guidelines told us to stop eating our most nutrient-dense foods. Instead, they urged us to eat carbohydrates that rapidly digest into sugar in the blood.
And that is when we started doing something seriously wrong.
Are Rates of Obesity Still Increasing?
Unfortunately, US obesity rates continue to rise.
Here is how they looked in 2011:
As can be seen, in 2011 the obesity rate hovered between 25 and 30% in most states.
Here is how they look now:
For most states, the obesity rate is now somewhere between 30 and 35%.
In like manner, many European countries are also following this trend.
How Does Diet Cause Type 2 Diabetes?
First of all, whenever we eat starch or simple sugars, the food breaks down into glucose.
Whether that’s from a bowl of sugar or a slice of bread, the result is still the same. The more carbohydrate we eat, the more blood sugar we will have. As too much glucose is damaging to the body, the pancreas releases insulin to move this blood sugar away from the blood and into liver and muscle cells.
Unfortunately, the modern diet is so full of simple sugars and starch that many people have chronically high blood sugar. Over time and if this condition persists, then these cells become full.
Under these circumstances, the pancreas then raises the amount of insulin it releases to force the glucose out of the blood and into the cells. As this process continues, over time the cells become increasingly resistant to insulin and blood sugar increases further.
This excess blood sugar causes the pancreas to produce higher and higher amounts of insulin. Eventually, the cells become resistant to the insulin, and the blood sugars stay in the blood. In other words; type 2 diabetes onset.
Hidden Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms
As diabetes is a progressive (if untreated) vascular disease, these worrying statistics set the scene for rampant, silent damage in the body. Unfortunately, this significantly increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and other vascular diseases.
Dr. Joseph Kraft, a clinical pathologist with expertise in diabetes, says it best;
“Those with cardiovascular disease not identified with diabetes are simply undiagnosed”
– Dr. Joseph Kraft
Scary stuff for sure, but an important reminder that catching diabetes early on is so important.
Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms: What To Look For
Here are some typical tell-tale signs of diabetes to watch out for.
Always feeling thirsty is a common symptom of type 2 diabetes
Suddenly feeling extreme thirst — no matter how much you drink — could be a high blood sugar symptom.
This excessive thirst comes as a result of frequent urination due to excessive blood sugar.
Diabetes causes increased urination
As mentioned above, if you start to urinate more frequently then this is also a possible sign of type 2 diabetes.
Maybe you are wondering just how often ‘frequent urination’ means?
While there is no universal figure, if you are going much more than the average 4-7 times per day then it may be a good idea to see your doctor.
Sudden blurry vision is another symptom of type 2 diabetes. If you experience this, it could either be a blurry vision in one eye or both. Additionally, some people experience this condition after eating carbs or sugar.
There are also several other symptoms of type 2 diabetes that may include:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Weight gain
- A numb feeling in hands and feet
Diet Doctor: A Diet to Reverse Type 2 Diabetes?
Run by Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt, a Swedish family doctor; it is is now the most trafficked low-carb website on the Internet. Should you be interested in finding out why then you can read some truly inspirational testimonials here.
Reading these stories is meaningful, as it should be to anyone with interest in nutrition. While you may not think diabetes affects you or your family personally, the problems associated with excessive blood sugar/insulin affect — and will affect — so many people.
Remember: prevention is always better than cure.
So, just what does Diet Doctor recommend as a diet to reverse type 2 diabetes? Plenty of people certainly know they should avoid sugar, but a low-sugar diet isn’t the only thing.
First and foremost, this is a diet low in total carbohydrate.
What Food Should I Eat On a Type 2 Diabetes Diet?
“There are no quality studies showing that a carbohydrate-rich diet is beneficial.”
– Diet Doctor
As shown in the quote above, the truth is that carbohydrate-rich foods raise blood sugar. Given this, why would someone aiming to reduce their blood sugar eat these foods? It simply doesn’t make sense.
However, diets full of whole grains and fruit are still recommended by many worldwide health organizations. Of course, these groups are often sponsored by the very drug companies who sell medications to lower blood sugar. Talk about a conflict of corporate interest and health!
For example, assuming we eat a sandwich and a glass of orange juice, and then take diabetes drugs to reduce our blood sugar, what are we doing? The simple answer is that we are hiding the problem and dealing with the symptom.
On the other hand, if we make smarter dietary choices and don’t excessively raise our blood sugar in the first place, then we are solving the problem. And that’s precisely what many people with diabetes using Diet Doctor achieve.
With this in mind, what does Diet Doctor recommend?
Diabetic-Friendly Foods and Snacks
Generally speaking, diabetic friendly foods are LCHF (low carb, high fat) foods.
Overall, the emphasis is on fresh whole foods that are high in nutrients. Other choices like dietary fats and oils, as well as very dark chocolate, can also be added in.
In general, the main thing missing from this diet is all the sugary snacks and processed food options that most people eat.
While it may feel like it’s impossible to go without these foods at first, after a while, the cravings will subside. It may taste delicious right now, but almost everyone who gives up sugar for more than a few weeks soon finds sugary foods overly sweet. In short; people learn to appreciate the taste of real food.
There are also smart swaps that you can make, such as cloud bread instead of grains.
Regarding fruit, it’s better to avoid common everyday fruits like apples, oranges, and bananas. What’s wrong with them? While far from being the worst foods in the world, they all contain moderate amounts of fructose that will raise blood sugar levels.
Also, fruit such as berries, avocado and olives are not only low in sugar, but also some of the most nutrient-dense choices.
A diabetic grocery list based on low-carb might look a little something like this.
Isn’t Saturated Fat Dangerous?
Just to point out; you may notice that these food choices contain more saturated fat than the average diet.
Seeing as this is a concern for some, you should be aware that recent research shows naturally occurring fat is generally good for you. Should you have any anxiety, a large amount of the research is presented here.
I hope this post may have been helpful in some way. In particular, if you are struggling to manage type 2 diabetes, then please remember it doesn’t have to be the “chronic, progressive disease” that some people say it is.
Just remember; thousands of people have recovered their health. And for these people, a healthy low-carb plan was a diet to reverse type 2 diabetes.
For diabetes resources and information from experts and medical professionals, head over to Diet Doctor.