November is American Diabetes Month. A common and life-threatening disease, diabetes affects masses of people in the U.S., yet it’s a condition that can be prevented with proper, diligent care for your body.
According to the American Diabetes Foundation, “Nearly 30 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes. Another 86 million Americans have prediabetes and are at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.”
What is diabetes?
To understand diabetes, you first need to understand insulin and glucose. Insulin is a hormone secreted from the pancreas and helps glucose enter the bloodstream. Insulin is essential in helping to convert sugar, starches and other substances into energy. Glucose, which comes from both food and the liver, is a sugar that provides energy for the cells in your muscles and other tissues. When glucose levels are low, the liver produces more glucose.
Diabetes is when your glucose (sugar) levels are higher than normal. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes.
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is when the body does not create insulin at all. According to the Mayo Clinic, only about 5% of diabetes patients have Type 1 diabetes and it’s more common in children and young adults.
Type 2 Diabetes
Also known as insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes is when your body does produce insulin but is unable to manage it properly—to the point where your pancreas cannot produce enough insulin to normalize glucose levels.
What are the most common symptoms of diabetes?
From the American Diabetes Association:
- Frequent urination
- A strong feeling of thirst
- Hunger (even when you’re eating)
- Extreme fatigue
- Blurry vision
- Cuts/bruises that heal slowly
- Weight loss (even if you’re eating more (type 1))
- Tingling, pain or numbness in the hands/feet (type 2)
What is the cause of diabetes?
While there isn’t a single, isolated trigger that causes diabetes, eating foods that are sugary, high in unhealthy fats (e.g. saturated, hydrogenated and trans fats) as well as red meat have all been linked to an increased risk of diabetes. Note that those with diabetes are also at higher risk for other conditions, such as heart disease, so preventing and effectively managing diabetes is crucial.
Animal fats especially are known to be a major cause of Type 2 diabetes. These unhealthy fats cause a higher production of cholesterol in your body, compromising your heart and blood vessels, while at the same time increasing the risk of heart disease, stroke and heart attacks.
Hallelujah Diet’s Research Director, Michael Donaldson, PhD, Cornell University, pinpoints the dangers of sugar and its mechanisms: “Sugary drinks are leading to an increase in the number of young people with fatty livers (hepatic steatosis). The liver becomes resistant to the action of insulin and doesn’t slow down its production of sugar, just pouring it into the bloodstream. Insulin should be shutting off the production of sugar in the liver, but the prediabetic liver has quit listening to the insulin signal.”
What’s one way diabetes causes other health conditions? Dr. Donaldson explains, “Diabetes impairs the uptake of vitamin C by cells in the body, which essentially means that glucose competes with vitamin C, resulting in lower vitamin C in the body and greater oxidative damage. People with diabetes are known to be at higher risk for other diseases that are in part caused by free-radical damage, including heart disease and cancer.”
How can you prevent and manage diabetes in a healthy, safe and sustainable way?
To equip your body with the energy it requires to restore healthy blood sugar levels:
- Commit to a raw, plant-based diet
- Exercise and sleep well
- Manage stress
- Avoid alcohol and smoking
According to Dr. Donaldson, “People with high levels of carotenoids in their blood—found abundantly in yellow, orange and red fruits and vegetables—have a lower risk of diabetes.”
The Hallelujah Diet™ ensures you consume the food your body needs to manage its blood sugar levels. To round out the nutrition provided by the Hallelujah Diet, consider the Diabetes Get Started Kit, which includes the cell-supercharging BarleyMax, toxin-expelling Fiber Cleanse, the first volume of our Simple Weekly Meal Plans recipe book, which features 28 days’ worth of quick and easy, delicious, full-course meal recipes as well as The Hallelujah Diet™ Refined: Maintaining Healthy Blood Sugar to learn everything you need to know about diabetes.
“At this writing, I am only 4-months (120-days) into The Hallelujah Diet. I had blood work done just before going on The Hallelujah Diet, and then just recently had my blood taken again. The results were so amazing that my doctor sat me down and said, ‘Tell me everything you are doing, because these tests are amazing!’ Here’s why he found my blood tests so amazing: cholesterol number had dropped 25 points with equally dramatic results in the subtests; the glucose number had dropped to better than normal range…”—Kathleen
With the Hallelujah Diet, you eat plenty of leafy greens, blended vegetables, juices, nuts and fruits (note that although fruits are nutritious, you should limit them to 15% of your total dietary intake). Fats and sugars should be minimized and animal fats should be completely eliminated, as they are the primary cause of Type 2 Diabetes. The optimal goal to supercharge your efforts is an 85% raw/15% cooked, plant-based diet fortified with pure water, exercise and rest.
Dr. Donaldson expands: “Blood sugar readings are directly related to the food we are eating today, not because of weight. Though diabetes is related to obesity, it isn’t necessary to lose weight at all to get blood sugar control in line. People who have adopted the Hallelujah Diet tell us that their blood sugar readings get much closer to normal very quickly, sometimes within just a week, and they even have to reduce their medications. So, their blood sugar isn’t getting better because they are losing weight—it’s from food!
“Focus on building liver health. Antioxidant-rich foods, which promote the production of glutathione in the body, is a good start. Also, while high-protein diets may seem appealing, as they promote the secretion of insulin without raising blood sugar, they also raise the IGF-1 growth factor, which increases the risk of cancer. So, it isn’t a risk-free method of dealing with diabetes either.
The takeaway? With the rise of the Standard American Diet as well as other diets that consist of sugary, fatty, processed foods, diabetes is becoming a rising issue among us. However, this is a health crisis we can overcome. With a clean, plant-based diet, proper supplementation and healthy living, we can fight this disease and live vibrantly for as long as we can.