My mother was a diabetic and when she was diagnosed, it was called adult onset diabetes. Do you know why they changed the name to type 2? I’m afraid the sad truth is it can no longer be called “adult,” because the deadly type 2 diabetes is now showing up in children.
Diabetes has been dramatically on the increase for the past century. Today about 23 million Americans are diabetic and one quarter of those is undiagnosed. Whereas people don’t generally die of diabetes, they just go blind or lose their limbs; it often leads to heart disease. And heart disease is our biggest premature killer.
Native Americans, who at one time had no diabetes, now have the highest incidence in the world. What happened? Traditionally, they had lived on an all-natural, unrefined diet. Once they were moved to reservations, their only choice was a modern “white man’s diet” of refined foods. Since then, there’s been a huge jump in the incidence of Native American diabetes. Among the Pima Indians in Southwest Arizona, 40% of the population is type 2 diabetics. Interestingly enough, they’re eating many of the same foods that they were eating on their traditional diet. Only today, they’re using refined versions of those foods – refined corn products, refined sugars and refined grains.
Although we’ve known this information for many years, a peer review study just published in this month’s American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has proven that whole grains, such as brown rice, oatmeal and whole wheat, can help protect people from diabetes.
The team of researchers from Simmons College, Harvard Medical School, followed the eating habits of 43,000 men (ages 40 to 75) for about 12 years. Although they all started out healthy, nearly 3% developed diabetes in just over a decade. What were they eating?
Those who ate the least amount of whole grains had a 60% higher incidence of developing type 2 diabetes than those eating the highest level of whole grains. But there’s even more evidence.
And, this is a real shocker. Obese men who ate the highest amount of whole grains, and were also physically active, developed 52% less type 2 diabetes, even though they were overweight.
Two other recent studies focusing on women and whole grains confirmed these same Harvard findings: whole grains can help protect from diabetes and possibly other degenerative diseases.
Whole grains are low glycemic carbohydrates. This means lower blood sugar and less insulin production. But refined grains are high glycemic carbohydrates that more than double blood sugar levels. This causes an insulin surge to clear sugar out of the blood. After a while, the body is no longer capable of handling this blood sugar onslaught. That’s when a person becomes a type 2 diabetic. Then high blood sugar can increase the risk of diabetic related heart disease, kidney failure and blindness.
The Harvard research team’s conclusion to this study was to recommend that people eat more whole grains. They said, “Whole grain products” have “the potential to reduce substantially the
incidence of type 2 diabetes and possibly other chronic diseases when sustained over time.”
Makes a lot of sense to me. Whole grains are in their natural, nutritious form, just the way they were meant to be. You see, “It’s not nice to try and fool Mother Nature.” And, in her never-to-be-humble opinion, she doesn’t mind telling us, “I told you so!”