Type 2 Diabetes: An Accelerated Form of Cardiovascular Disease

Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is increasingly regarded by clinicians as an accelerated form of cardiovascular disease, or even an accelerated form of aging.

People with diabetes are particularly prone to vascular prob­lems associated with heart disease, including heart attacks and stroke; impotence; loss of sight due to retinal bleeding and cataract; kidney damage; peripheral neural damage and various other disorders. It is no coincidence that diabetics are also particu­larly exposed to oxidative stress and excessive glycosylation, two of the mechanisms that drive the aging process. From this perspec­tive we can see that diabetics need much the same sort of phar­maco-nutritional support as do heart attack candidates, except that, as their metabolic stresses are greater, they require rather higher doses of some of the antioxidants and anti-glycosylants.

Together with a program of weight loss, exercise and a low GL diet (i.e. less starch and sugars, more fermentable carbohydrates), the condition of most diabetics should be improved if not normalized. ‘Experiments’ like this have been done in parts of Australia where Aborigines, when exposed to the Western diet, develop frighteningly high rates of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. In one case the local doctor became so concerned that he decided to encourage the Aborigines to leave the township and resume their traditional lifestyle. It is reported that within a few months their blood pressure, choles­terol and glucose had returned to normal; reverting to their traditional diet of bush food (high in flavonoids, protein and fermentable carbo­hydrates, and low in digestible carbohydrates), together with increased levels of physical exercise, had effectively cured them.

Super-Sizing

This devastating comment on the dangers of the Western diet, particularly junk foods, was supported recently by the exploits of Morgan Spurlock. Morgan was a healthy 33-year-old American who documented the effects on his body of eating three meals a day at McDonalds, many of which were super-sized, for 30 days. He gained 11 kg (25 lb) in weight, his cholesterol shot up from 165 to 230, his blood glucose responses deteriorated and his liver enzyme results became so abnormal that his doctors urged him to quit – as shown in the film Super Size Me.

Morgan’s diet was admittedly exceptional. In a press release issued by McDonalds, the company states that Morgan was acting irresponsibly by consuming more than 5,000 calories a day and by limiting his physical activity. Nevertheless, this pro­vides an illustration of the close relationship between diet and health; a relationship demonstrated by the staggering increases in diabetes occurring in every developed nation today. The lesson is simple: if your diet is making you sick, don’t reach for the pill bottle, which will only suppress the symptoms of your disease. Change your diet and lifestyle, and cure yourself.

Digestible Carbs – the Chief Culprits

Remember digestible carbs are those made from refined flour d often with a high sugar content. The main suspects are:

  • white bread, rolls, croissants
  • commercially made biscuits, cakes and pastries
  • potatoes
  • confectionery
  • soft drinks sweetened with sugar.