Diabetes involves the breakdown of some chemical changes in our body that keep our energy source (glucose) from entering the cells. The job of insulin, which is produced by the pancreas, is to push fat molecules and glucose molecules into the cells. We need the glucose for energy and we need the fat for the future when there is no food. No food? Yes… remember reading about famines when we studied history. Our bodies have a way to keep us alive even if there is a food shortage. But for us… food shortages don’t happen anymore.
Consequently, when we eat a high fat diet with little fiber (typical American diet) the excess fat continues to be pushed into the cells but there is a point where that excess fat becomes a real problem. In order to keep us from weighing 1,000 pounds the cells begin to “resist” the insulin (insulin resistance) so the fat cannot be stored and weight gain slows down. It’s amazing how well designed our bodies are, isn’t it?
However, insulin resistance also keeps the glucose from entering the cells. If a diet is high in fat and lacks fiber, it is easy for the glucose to go quickly from the gut into the blood. That’s why the blood sugar levels are able to go up so much. A research report from nearly 80 years ago compared different diets and the rate of diabetes from six countries. The result: when people ate more carbohydrates and less fat the death rate went from 20 per 100,000 to 2.9 per 100,000. Even today, we can see differences in our country. Seventh Day Adventists do not eat meat, coffee or alcohol and about half of them are vegetarians. However, some continue to eat dairy and eggs but even at that Adventists as a whole have about half the rate of diabetes as the rest of the population. Interesting.
How can we keep all this from happening? Well… eating foods that are low in fat but high in fiber (grains, beans, potatoes plus fruits and vegetables) would seem to be the most helpful possibility. Hmmm… this sounds like the Choose Well Plan. So…