Sugar & Diabetes

Sugar and Diabetes  |  Brannick ClinicToday we are going to talk about a common toxic food that we are consuming daily, probably in every meal without even realizing it is there. Sugar, or high fructose corn syrup, is widely used in many of our foods, including soft drinks, most processed food, breads, honey and many others. Due to our increased reliance and addiction to sugar, we are suffering from a major health crisis from childhood obesity to heart disease, all of which is preventable.

The problem with sugar is that our body, after near constant exposure, learns to crave it. Like cocaine or heroin or any other addictive substance, within minutes of consuming sugar our brains start releasing dopamine and serotonin, which activates our pleasure centers. It creates a false mood of happiness and energy, but it wears off quickly. Soon, we begin to crave and depend on more sugar to get the same “high” as before. While we are experiencing this false happiness, our liver gets overloaded with the amount of sugar we are eating and turns it into fat, eventually leading to heart disease. As a country, we have become addicted, and we have passed down our habits to our children, a good number of whom are now suffering from childhood obesity.

However, the most important thing to remember is that a good offense is the best defense. Education and being proactive in our daily meals is key to battling this crisis. We must learn what foods contain unnatural and unnecessary sugars and what alternatives are there so as to avoid them.

The main diseases associated with high sugar insults to the body are obesity, type II Diabetes, hypertension, and all manner of heart disease. All of these are preventable if we make a conscious effort to avoid certain foods that contain high fructose corn syrup. You should also be aware, according to livestrong.com, that glucose, fructose, sucrose, barley malt, malt syrup, molasses, honey, dextrose, sorghum, maltose and maltodextrin, lactose and milk sugar are all types of sugars. Read the labels of your food carefully and, if possible, incorporate as many fresh fruit, vegetables, lean meats and whole grains. These foods are delicious and healthy, and rate very low on the Glycemic Index. Do not look for your energy in a soft drink or a candy bar; instead, look towards fruits and vegetables.

There are many ways that you can battle this crisis. Learn what you are eating, and educate those who are important to you. Make family dinners a well-balanced affair and spend time with your family. Associate good memories with good food.

Additionally, to the many of us who have already insulted our bodies with sugar, there are ways to reverse the damage. A detox program, like the ones offered at Brannick Clinic, can go a long way towards resetting the body to a healthy state. That alone is not enough, however. It is important to make conscious lifestyle choices that aid in health and happiness.

What is Diabetes? What can you do to prevent it or reverse it?

Diabetes mellitus (DM) type II is a disease characterized by high levels of blood glucose resulting from defects in insulin production, insulin action or both. Diabetes can be associated with serious complications and premature death. However, patients with diabetes can make lifestyle changes to reverse or in advanced cases control the disease and lower the risk of complications.

What are the causes of Diabetes Mellitus Type II?

It usually begins as insulin resistance called Metabolic Syndrome, which a disorder in which the cells do not use insulin properly. As the need for insulin rises, the pancreas gradually loses its ability to produce enough insulin. Many years of over-consumption of refined carbohydrates, high sugar, low fiber, and hydrogenated oils results in insulin resistance: The pancreases has to produce more and more insulin to decrease the increased blood sugar. Contributing factors include poor dietary habits, poor quality of food, and sedentary lifestyle.

Type II Diabetes is associated with older age, obesity, and family history of diabetes. Type II Diabetes is being diagnosed at an alarming rate in children and adolescents. Children with DM will have a shorter life span along with a decreased quality of life. The average American consumes ½ pound of sugar per day, with 28% of their sugar intake coming from soft drinks. Today, 1 in 4 children are obese and 1 in 2 are overweight.

Diabetes can affect many parts of the body and can lead to serious complications such as blindness, kidney damage, lower-limb, toe and finger amputations, heart disease, stroke, hypertension, and nervous system damage resulting in numbness in hands and feet. The number one cause of blindness in the US is due to diabetes.

People with diabetes are more susceptible to many other illnesses and have an adverse prognosis.

In 2002, 18.2 million people or 6.3% of the US population have DM and of that 5.2 million are undiagnosed. There are 1.3 million new cases of DM a year. The total cost of DM in 2002 was $132 billion. Type II Diabetes accounts for 90-95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. In 2010, 25.8 million or 8.3% of the population have DM and 1.9 million new cases were diagnosed in people age 20 or over. It is estimated that there are currently 7 million of undiagnosed cases of Diabetes. See CDC.gov for more statistics.

DM can be reversed before permanent damage has set in. Even the advanced cases of DM can benefit from lifestyle changes to slow down the progression of the disease. Those who are at high risk for DM type II can prevent its onset. It is never too late to change dietary habits and begin an exercise class to improve health.

At the Brannick Clinic of Natural Medicine, we determine the status of a patient’s blood sugar through blood tests, a very thorough medical history intake and a physical exam. We may treat DM with the use of botanicals, clinical nutrition, and exercise to stabilize the blood sugar. We may also use other therapies such as hyperbaric oxygen therapy, massage and colonics to help with complications of the disease. In order to be successful in overcoming this disease, patients need to work with a doctor in a comprehensive approach.