Diabetes and Prevention
Types of diabetes
Type 1 diabetes, formerly called juvenile-onset diabetes, accounts for approximately 5% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. The majority of people with type 1 diabetes are diagnosed in childhood, however diagnosis can occur at any age.
Type 1 diabetes develops when the body’s immune system attacks and kills the cells that produce insulin. Without insulin, the body cannot effectively regulate blood glucose levels. Therefore, people with type 1 diabetes require insulin injections to survive. There is no known way to prevent type 1 diabetes.
Type 2 Diabetes, formerly called adult onset diabetes, accounts for about 90% to 95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Although more prevalent in adults, type 2 diabetes is becoming more and more common in children.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the cells in the body become less sensitive to insulin, a problem commonly referred to as insulin resistance. Once insulin resistant, the body tries to compensate by producing more and more insulin. Eventually, the insulin producing cells start to fail and a person with type 2 diabetes may lose their ability to produce insulin. Diet and lifestyle play a critical role in the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes.
Diet trends over the years
There are a number of factors contributing to the rising trends in diabetes in the United States, however none of them are as powerful as the role of diet and lifestyle.
In 1977, The United States Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs issued a set of nutritional guidelines. In an effort to reduce conditions such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes, the new guidelines recommended that Americans increase their carbohydrate intake and reduce fat consumption, and so began the fat-free era.
While the guidelines were well intentioned, no one could have foreseen the danger they poised. All of the sudden, grocery stores were loaded with products such as fat-free yogurt, fat-free milk, and fat-free ice cream. In other words, highly processed, fat-free foods were everywhere. But here’s the biggest problem. When you take the fat out of food, you need to replace it with lots of sugar to make it palatable again. So we decreased the fat, loaded up with sugar and patted ourselves on the back for sticking to a “healthy” diet.
Today, almost 40 years later, we have seen the results of these recommendations and they are alarming! Despite the aims of the guidelines, obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease have increased dramatically.
It’s not surprising that obesity and diabetes increased proportionately to the increase of refined carbohydrates in the U.S. (2). Let us explain. All carbohydrates, yes we said all, turn into sugar in the blood. The more refined the carbohydrate, the more rapidly it is converted. That being said, when we eat too many carbohydrates, the body becomes overwhelmed and resistant to insulin (the hormone that regulates blood sugar). Overtime, if we fail to switch to a healthier diet and choose not to exercise, insulin resistance increases, leading to type 2 diabetes.
The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), a major study conducted to better understand diabetes development in people at risk, reported that diet and lifestyle modifications resulting in weight loss and increased physical activity can delay or even prevent type 2 diabetes.
We will leave you with the very wise words of Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. “Fat is not the problem. If Americans could eliminate sugary beverages, potatoes, white bread, pasta, white rice and sugary snacks, we would wipe out almost all the problems we have with weight and diabetes and other metabolic diseases.” Touché.
Social media links
- Public health experts expect that about 11.2% of US adults will have type 2 diabetes(also known as adult-onset diabetes) by 2030.
- Did you know that from 1980 through 2011, the rate of diagnosed diabetes increased a whopping 167%, and it’s still climbing!
- According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2014, astaggering 29.1 million people, or 9.3%, of the U.S. population have diabetes.
- The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), a major study conducted to better understand diabetes development in people at risk, reported that diet and lifestyle modifications resulting in weight loss and increased physical activity can delay or even prevent type 2 diabetes.
- Although consumption of refined carbohydrates has increased and is thought to be related to the increased risk of type 2 diabetes, the ecologic effect of changes in the quality of carbohydrates in the food supply on the risk of type 2 diabetes is also a huge concern for the American population.
- One of the strongest risk factors for type 2 diabetes is obesity, andthis is also one of the most modifiable as it can be partially controlled through diet and exercise.
- Data Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, Division of Health Interview Statistics, data from the National Health Interview Survey. Statistical analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Diabetes Translation.
- Gross, L. S., Li, L., Ford, E. S., & Liu, S. (2004). Increased consumption of refined carbohydrates and the epidemic of type 2 diabetes in the United States: an ecologic assessment. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 79(5), 774-779.
- Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) Research Group. (2002). The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) description of lifestyle intervention. Diabetes care, 25(12), 2165-2171.
- Bierman, E. L., & Nelson, R. (1975). Carbohydrates, diabetes, and blood lipids. World review of nutrition and dietetics.
- Meyer, K. A., Kushi, L. H., Jacobs, D. R., Slavin, J., Sellers, T. A., & Folsom, A. R. (2000). Carbohydrates, dietary fiber, and incident type 2 diabetes in older women. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 71(4), 921-930.