What is Diabetes & What’s the Big Deal?

by Brittany Bearden-Walters -- 09/13/2012 05:00 AM

Diabetes is a real worry for most Americans, with a rate that is close to one out of every ten people.  It is a serious condition that can lead to blindness, the loss of limbs, death, and other very drastic consequences.

·      Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in America and the third leading   cause of death among African Americans.

·      Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in the Unites States.
·      Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure in the US.

What Can I Do to Prevent It?

Not to scare you, but there is no single right answer outside of “eat healthy and exercise.”  The information that we have about diabetes is changing every day.

While people long believed that diabetes was triggered by sugar and carbohydrates, recent research has been changing that.   Many people now believe that dairy is the culprit for diabetes.

Next time you’re ready to have a glass of milk with your cookies are dig into a gallon of ice cream while watching chick flicks with your girlfriends, think again!

If you are worried about sugar, you can cut back without making yourself miserable by limiting yourself to one donut or cookie.  Most people on serious diets only allow themselves one sugary “cheat” a week, but to work yourself into it, start by cutting back to one a day.  Although it won’t change your sugar intake, it will keep your weight under control if you have your “worst” meal of the day for breakfast, which gives you all day to burn it off.

If you are worried about your dairy intake, you can completely eliminate dairy from your diet without ever noticing that it is gone.  Try not to use soy products when almond and rice products are available.

Cow’s Milk:           Almond Milk, Rice Milk, Coconut Milk
Cheese:                  Almond Cheese, Rice Cheese, Soy Cheese
Ice Cream:            Sherbet, Almond Ice Cream, Soy Ice Cream
Butter:                   Look for a “Buttery” spread like Earth Balance
Yogurt:                  Soy Yogurt
Sour Cream:         Vegan Sour Cream
Mayonnaise:         Vegenaise

The one thing that people can agree on is that healthy diet and exercise are the best way to prevent Type II diabetes and to keep it under control once you have it.

Who’s at Risk?

While we once thought that diabetes was a result of chugging Kool-Aid and eating sweet and sugary treats like powdered donuts, research is now showing that the much bigger issue is consuming dairy.

The African American community has a much higher rate of diabetes than any other, which people were long led to believe was genetic and that there was nothing that they could do about their family history.  One researcher, Tariq Sawandi, refused to believe this and dug deeper;

“A diet without dairy products is closer to the African diet.  In fact, no animal in the wild consumes milk or dairy products past the period of nursing.  Neither did Africans until their enslavement in the Americas.  We apparently had no problem with diabetes during the time we consumed mostly an herbivore diet in Africa.”

What Happens if You Don’t Treat It?

There is no way to sugarcoat what happens if you don’t treat diabetes or if you don’t take your doctor seriously.

It may result in:

·       Blindness
·       Loss of Limbs
·       Kidney Failure
·       Death

Can I Get Rid of It?

Diabetes does not have to be a life sentence of medication and insulin if you don’t want it to be.

Halle Berry has lessened the severity of her diabetes from Type 1 diabetes to Type 2 diabetes through commitment to diet and exercise.  Halle Berry has done this by following the Five Factor Diet, which involves five balanced meals a day and five 25 minute workouts a week.  Pilates is a regular part of her workout routine.

A lot of people want to take the easy answer and just “pop the pill.”  Even though this will help control their diabetes, it won’t do anything to make it better.

There is research that has now shown that people who follow a plant-based diet without meat or dairy in it have actually completely reversed their diabetes after one year.  Even though this may sound difficult, most people who participated in the study found the diet easier to follow than the ADA diet because they didn’t have to count calories and ate whenever they were hungry.

Follow your doctor’s instructions, find a sensible diet to follow that fits into your lifestyle, doesn’t feel you feeling hungry or exhausted, and doesn’t offer unrealistic weight loss promises (any more than one to three pounds each week will do you more harm than good).  Although modern Americans have more cases of diabetes than ever before, they also have the greatest changing of defeating it since new research is improving our knowledge of it every day.

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