COVID-19 may contribute to the diabetes epidemic

Rx REPORT

By Marie Y. Lemelle

Contributing Writer

November, known for the Thanksgiving holiday feasts and Black Friday sales, also is designated as National Diabetes Awareness Month. While the world fights against the spread of the coronavirus, more than 463 million adults (ages 20 to 79) in America are fighting against another epidemic: diabetes. Nine out of 10 adults don’t know they have it.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, diabetes is a common chronic condition in schoolchildren in the United States, affecting about 193,000 youth under 20 years old. You can find out if you are diabetic by taking the American Diabetes Association Diabetes Risk Test. Follow up with your primary care doctor to get the A1C test, a blood sample, which is used to diagnose prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes comes in two main types:  Type 1 means your body does not produce insulin and can appear at any age. Individuals with Type 1 must take insulin daily or risk death.

Type 2 is the most common and may develop at any age but mostly in middle age and older individuals. Type 2 means your body does not make insulin or use it well. Pregnant women can develop gestational diabetes, which typically goes away after the baby is born. The expected prevalence of type 2 diabetes in the United States is 54 million by 2030.

Common symptoms of diabetes: blurry vision, cuts/bruises that are slow to heal; extreme fatigue, feeling very hungry—even though you are eating; feeling very thirsty; tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet (type 2); urinating often; and weight loss — even though you are eating more (type 1).

Dr. John Poothullil, a retired pediatrician and allergist, has conducted extensive research on the theory of insulin resistance as it relates to diabetes. He was diagnosed with leukemia in 2012 and now is in remission. He published numerous articles on hunger and satiation, weight loss, diabetes and the senses of taste and smell. Dr. Poothullil holds certifications from the American Board of Pediatrics, the American Board of Allergy & Immunology, and the Canadian Board of Pediatrics.

Traditionally, Thanksgiving celebrations, and other holidays have been an excuse to overeat including breads and other grains. The real fear of diminishing food supply and baking trends due to the pandemic has caused people to stock up on foods, especially grains, that contribute to the cause of a pre-diabetes and diabetes diagnosis.

Dr. Poothullil says, “All carbohydrates are effectively sugar. It doesn’t matter whether they are whole grain or refined in any way. When you eat complex carbohydrate products like a sandwich or pasta, you seldom think that you are eating sugar. But this is effectively what you are doing — eating food that becomes glucose in your blood.” His book, “Diabetes—The Real Cause and The Right Cure: 8 Steps to Reverse Type 2 Diabetes in 8 Weeks,” shares information about the link between gains and diabetes.

ML: What are the foods that contribute to becoming pre-diabetic and diabetic?

JP: My research indicates that Type 2 diabetes is not a hormonal disease but a nutritional condition, caused by the excessive consumption of cultivated grains and grain-based foods. That is why the incidence of Type 2 diabetes is increasing in every nation where grains provide 50% or more of the daily energy intake.

ML: What proves that grains are the real cause of diabetes?

JP: The most logical explanation for Type 2 diabetes is that the constant consumption of grains and grain-flour products results in post meal elevation of blood glucose because each kernel of grain, whether whole or refined, contains thousands of molecules of complex carbohydrates and each complex carbohydrate molecule can have up to 200,000 molecules of glucose.

The liver converts excess glucose into fat for storage inside fat cells. When fat cells become full, fatty acids flow through the bloodstream. Muscles switching to fatty acid burning is a natural physiological mechanism, as happens daily during fasting in between meals. When available fatty acids are burned constantly, glucose, absorbed from the food as well as created by the liver, is left in the bloodstream. In other words, “insulin resistance” is not necessary to explain the elevation of blood sugar for Type 2 diabetes.

ML: How can Type 2 diabetes be reversed in eight weeks?

JP: When the medical literature dated from 1832 to 1939 was analyzed, it was found that among Native Americans the incidence of Type 2 diabetes was rare. However, according to a 2012 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the incidence of Type 2 diabetes among Native Americans was 16%, double that of white Americans.

A study published in the Diabetes Journal in 1984 showed that 10 aboriginal Australians with diabetes living in urban areas and ate western style diets then went back to live in their ancestral lifestyle, eating natural foods grown in the wild or hunted or fished as their ancestors did, within eight weeks, all subjects lowered their blood sugar to normal levels.

In both these examples, involving Native Americans and Australian Aborigines, in their ancestral way of life they moved from one food source to another. They did not stay in one place long enough to cultivate grains or eat foods made with cultivated grains. In both cases, switching their high carbohydrate, high-fat diet for one with no cultivated grains made the difference.

Recommended foods to swap out grains and carbohydrates are vegetables such as carrots, onions, beans, peas, cauliflower, zucchini, eggplants, and pumpkin. A variety of nuts such as walnuts, almonds, and pistachios for snacking is a healthier choice. Dried fruits can be a satisfying substitute for desserts.

Keep in mind that I am not advocating the complete elimination of grains from the diet. If the total daily energy intake from complex carbohydrates can be reduced to one-half of the current intake you should see the result in 8 weeks or less in the form of elimination or reduced need for glucose lowering medications.

Marie Y. Lemelle is the founder of www.platinumstarpr.com and a film producer. She can be reached at MarieLemelle@platinumstarpr.com. Follow her on Instagram @platinumstarpr.

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