Today, March 23, 2010 is the 22nd annual American Diabetes Association Alert Day, and the American Diabetes Association reports sobering statistics:
Over 20 million people in the United States have type 2 diabetes. That doesn’t count the 6 million who have diabetes and don’t know it yet.1 Type 2 diabetes has been called the most challenging health problem of the 21st century. The dangerously high prevalence of overweight and obesity is at the heart of this problem.
In the last five months, over 600,000 people have been diagnosed with diabetes. That's one person every 20 seconds.2 The ADA is correct – it is time to stop diabetes. The problem is they have no idea how to do this. They have no idea that in over 90% of patients, type 2 diabetes can be effectively and relatively quickly reversed through my nutritarian diet-style and exercise.
Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in adults and the leading cause of kidney failure. Sixty to 70 percent of diabetics have nervous system damage. Diabetes doubles risk of heart attack and stroke.1 This suffering is tragic because excellent nutrition and exercise can reverse diabetes, and are much safer than conventional care. Taking glucose-lowering medications does not prevent diabetes complications. In fact, they often cause weight gain, exacerbating insulin resistance. Some of these medications even increase the risk of heart failure. Diabetics who take medications and continue to remain overweight and consume their disease-causing diet continue to damage their organs, develop complications, and die prematurely.
Did you know that type 2 diabetes also increases the risk of cancer? Scientists believe that this is at least in part due to insulin therapy. A new review that analyzed data from several studies found that diabetic patients are 30% more likely to develop colorectal cancer, 20% more likely to develop breast cancer, and 82% more likely to develop pancreatic cancer.3 It is time to stop diabetes. So how do we stop it?
Simple. The ADA may encourage you to make small changes, afraid that you will give up if it looks difficult. But the truth is, a radical improvement in your health will require a radical improvement in your lifestyle. Some physicians may assume that patients will not be willing to adopt a diet that is based on unrefined plant foods, but they are wrong – a study comparing the American Diabetes Association guidelines to a whole-food, plant-based diet found exactly the opposite. Subjects assigned to the ADA diet reported that they felt more restricted in their dietary choices, and the rate of adherence was greater in the plant-based diet.4 Once people start to see positive changes in their health, they are enthusiastic about sticking to their plan. The nutritarian diet-style I teach to my diabetic patients is even more effective. In fact, we just completed a study, soon to be published,which demonstrated that 9 out of 10 diabetics were able to come off all medications and have normal glucose readings. That essentially means they became non-diabetic.
My Eat For Health dietary protocol is simply the most effective remedy for those with all types of diabetes. The type II can get completely well and the type I diabetics reduce their insulin by about half and stop the huge swings in glucose and prevent the devastating complications of diabetes.
The best diet for longevity, heart disease and cancer prevention, and a high level of overall health is also the best diet to prevent or reverse diabetes. It is a diet with a high nutrient per calorie ratio:
lots of non-starchy vegetables like greens, eggplant, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, and garlic
raw nuts and seeds
limited fresh fruit
limited animal products
no white flour
When those with diabetes follow my recommendations, it becomes relatively easy for them to eat liberally – not feeling deprived or restricted – and still lose their excess weight easily. Their diabetes will melt away astonishingly quickly, reducing or eliminating their need for medications.
Tony is no longer diabetic. He succeeded in restoring his health despite the failures of conventional diabetes care. Read his incredible story below.
“I am 57 years old. I have always had a weight problem like everyone in my family. In December of last year, after feeling strange for several months, my sister (who has been diabetic for 25 years) tested me with her meter & my blood sugar was 491.
She dragged me to the ER where I got 2 shots of insulin & a meal that included turkey, gravy, a box of sweetened cranberry juice & chocolate pudding which my sister advised me not to eat. After paying the $2,400.00 tab, I was instructed to make an appointment with an endocrinologist & sent home with a prescription for Metformin, daily aspirin & NO dietary advice. My sister suggested buying a meter on the way home. None of the two doctors or RN’s suggested getting a meter & testing. I started taking the Metformin as instructed.
My appointment with an endocrinologist a few days later was another eye opener. As soon as he walked into the room, without even looking at me or my meter which I brought with me with 80 stored blood sugar readings, he said “You need insulin.” Then he started to do a physical & said “You need to be hospitalized with an IV because you’re dehydrated; do you have medical insurance?” When I said “no,” he said “Get some Pedialyte and Gatorade & drink 6 glasses of each per day.” I asked “Don’t those drinks have sugar in them?” He said “Not really.” He gave me a prescription for “Januvia” ($400.00 for 100 tablets) & directed me to take two/day. He then handed me an 1800 calorie/day diet & disappeared.
After paying the $1,200.00 for the visit & labs, I started taking the medication as directed. After two weeks, the medication made me too ill to drive or exercise & somehow caused my intestines to become obstructed (gas or something) & I spent all night trying to go to the bathroom. Only being low on cash kept me from going to the E.R. again. I also had to get up 3 or 4 times each night to eat. I phoned the doctor several times over the next week to get a different medication but he never returned one single call so I stopped taking the medication.
Naturally, I was afraid to eat anything because I was afraid my blood sugar would climb. At my next visit, when I told him the medication was making me sick, he said “Just keep taking it, the symptoms will subside when your body gets used to it.” He said my A1C was 8.9%. One week later, I found a different doctor but my new doctor wasn’t interested in seeing me unless I paid him another $1,200.00 to repeat the physical & labs from two weeks ago even though I had a copy of my labs & he could consult with the other doctor.
I was running out of money after spending $4,000.00 in two weeks. I’m not insurable due to “preexisting conditions” – diabetes and carpal tunnel. Here in CA, an HMO has the right to deny coverage to anyone with an illness. You can imagine how stressed I was, having to choose between constant expensive medication & the illness it caused or high blood sugar with its consequences.
While doing research on the web, I came across Dr. Fuhrman’s website and ordered Eat to Live and Eat For Health and started the program. With all the weight loss/nutrition books out there from Atkins & a bunch of others, I was skeptical.
I started following the recommendations in the section “Advice for the Diabetic Patient” weighing 220 lbs on 1-8-09 – the same day I stopped taking all diabetes medication. Within 3 months, I weighed 195. I had new blood work completed on 4-8-09 with a new doctor. She downloaded my blood sugar numbers from my meter & said “Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it because it’s working." I explained Eat to Live, my typical meals & snacks & told her I stopped taking medication on my own three months ago. She later phoned me with my lab results: A1C: 6.0% which she said was in a non-diabetic range (4 - 6%) The improvement from 8.9% to 6.0% in 3 months on “Eat to Live” was far better than I expected. I would have been happy with 7.0%.
I have even found it easy to maintain these guidelines while eating out – even though my diabetes class educators said “If you’re diabetic, it is impossible to eat right at restaurants so try to avoid eating out altogether.” Yesterday, my family took me out to our favorite Mexican restaurant for my birthday. I had grilled vegetarian fajitas with tofu and black beans. Remembering the information in Eat to Live about fiber, I left the pasty processed rice alone, I had ONE tortilla chip, ate the whole cup of Salsa & left the flour tortillas alone. Just as you stated in Eat to Live, by doing that, I had room for the grilled vegetables, mushrooms & tofu. I tested my blood sugar two hours later, expecting it to be around 180 because I overate. It was 124.
The next morning, after your suggested breakfast without processed cereal, substituting raw nuts & a diced, unpeeled apple, I was shocked to test at 78 two hours after breakfast & 30 minutes of exercise (NordicTrack cross-country skier). I was so astounded that I re-tested with another meter & it indicated 90. The biggest revelation was the fact that I HAD NEVER ACHIEVED THESE RESULTS WITH MEDICATION - Metformin and Januvia (which made me ill).
I have attended five diabetes “education” classes & I am appalled that the “Certified Diabetes Educators” constantly hand out suggested meals with eggs & toast or processed cereal & milk for breakfast, daily roast beef or turkey sandwiches for lunch & more chicken or other meat at dinner & limiting fruit to 1-2/day. They also teach that protein stabilizes blood sugar so it’s important to eat meat & dairy at each meal. After those dietary recommendations, she then spoke at great length about the evils of high cholesterol, high blood pressure & high blood sugar, then she spent two hours talking about the various drugs available to treat them. I have always wondered about the notion that if you are eating the right foods, why would you need drugs to protect yourself from the damage they cause? I now weigh 188 pounds.
When I chat on WebMD’s diabetes message boards, some people with Type 2 Diabetes want to know how I’m managing my blood sugar without medication & I always tell them about www.drfuhrman.com !”
The human body has an amazing capacity to heal, even from diabetes. All we have to do is establish the optimal nutritional environment for healing with nutrient-rich foods and let the body do its work. A long, healthy life, free of diabetes and its tragic complications is possible, and it can be yours.
You are the one who chooses whether you are going to live with your diabetes or get rid of it.
1. American Diabetes Association: Diabetes statistics http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/diabetes-statistics/
2. American Diabetes Association: Stop Diabetes http://stopdiabetes.diabetes.org/site/PageServer?pagename=SD_homepage
3. Eurekalert: Experts call for further research into the relationship between insulin therapy and cancer
Pollak M, Russell-Jones D. Insulin analogues and cancer risk: cause for concern or cause célèbre? Int J Clin Pract. 2010 Feb 26. [Epub ahead of print]
4. Barnard ND, Gloede L, Cohen J, et al. A low-fat vegan diet elicits greater macronutrient changes, but is comparable in adherence and acceptability, compared with a more conventional diabetes diet among individuals with type 2 diabetes. J Am Diet Assoc. 2009 Feb;109(2):263-72.