Reversing Type 2 Diabetes, The Hard Way and the Easy Way
According to a story in Tuesday's New York Times bariatric surgery or a very low-calorie, starvation diet are the only cures for reversing Type 2 Diabetes. Since a 600 calorie per day diet is considered unsustainable, surgery is promoted as the preferred treatment. These horrific procedures cost many thousands of dollars and can result in death for some patients. One would think that such an extreme measure would only be used as a last resort, but that is apparently not the case.
A few years ago, a young man I know told me that he was scheduled to undergo a gastric bypass operation. His doctor told him that before he could have the surgery, he would have to lose weight in order to survive the operation so he put him on a low-carbohydrate diet. When I spoke to my friend, he had already lost 35 pounds. I asked him, “Why do you need the surgery when you are losing weight without it?” He answered: “Because they told me I was going to die.” He had the surgery, had complications, had more surgery, and when I last saw him, he still hadn’t lost any weight.
What many people don't realize is that gastric bypass patients are routinely put on a low-carb diet before the surgery to reduce fatty liver disease and lower the risks of the operation and afterwards, they are advised to avoid eating sugar and starch to prevent a painful condition called “dumping” and to avoid regaining weight.
So, is it the surgery or the diet that cures their diabetes and obesity?
I’ve taught low-carb cooking classes for post-bariatric surgery patients, some of whom said they were not aware that a strict low-carb diet for the rest of their lives was part of the protocol. Worse yet, they also have to limit fats to prevent other unpleasant side effects, making it impossible for them to get the nutrients they need without supplements and/or injections. Another problem they will face down the road: the elderly tend to have more trouble maintaining weight than with obesity.
Belly fat, high blood pressure, high insulin levels, and abnormal cholesterol levels are all symptoms of carbohydrate intolerance. They occur together and increase the risk for obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and stroke. Evidence-based science shows that carbohydrates provoke the release of insulin, the fat-storage hormone, and that weight gain is the first of a cascade of reactions called collectively, the metabolic syndrome.
Diabetes is a disease of defective carbohydrate metabolism. Minimizing carbs should be the first line of defense, the first thing to try. If blood glucose is kept within the normal range with diet, a person with diabetes can be as healthy and symptom-free as a person who does not have diabetes. When glucose is well controlled, diabetes will not progress to cause blindness, heart disease, kidney failure, amputations, stroke, cancer or any of its many other complications. Eating a diet that minimizes the need for insulin can turn diabetes from a life-threatening disease into one that is just inconvenient.
Why aren’t people being told that there is a natural solution for diabetes? A spokesperson for the American Diabetes Association said it was because, “people don’t like low-carb diets and won’t stick to them so we don’t tell them to.” She is sadly behind the times. Millions of people around the world have discovered that a low-carb, moderate protein diet that is high in natural fat is the most sumptuous, satisfying, and luxurious way of eating imaginable. A recent study showed that low carb was better, not just for obesity and diabetes, but it also improved fatty liver disease and normalized cholesterol.
Moreover, many of the participants reported improvements in general wellbeing, including a greater feeling of “health,” more energy, better memory, improved skin condition, and less abdominal bloating while they followed the diet.
I’ve been on low-carb for 15 years myself, but I am just a beginner compared to diabetes specialist, Dr. Richard Bernstein, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1947 when he was 12 years old.
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Based on the life expectancy for a person with diabetes at that time, he should have been dead by 1976. He was well on his way to meeting that fate, with advanced kidney disease, peripheral neuropathy, and a damaged heart when he managed to obtain his own blood glucose meter. He became the first diabetic patient to monitor his own blood- glucose levels and by trial and error, he learned how to normalize his blood sugar with diet. He reversed his diabetic complications and is still healthy and still practicing medicine and writing books, after having spent over 40 years eating a very low-carb diet.
If you have diabetes, you can choose to keep your limbs, your sight, your health, and your natural anatomy or you can choose bread and sugar now and look forward to having a team of surgeons cut you up and paste you back together. Why is that such a hard choice?
Judy Barnes Baker, author, Nourished, a Cookbook for Health, Weight Loss, and Metabolic Balance. Carbwars.blogspot.com