The Coming Sick Society
Part 1 of the "What Your Doctor is Not Telling You" series
Here in the United States, diabetes continues to be a national epidemic. According to the CDC, in 2030, the population diagnosed with diabetes will increase 54% vs. 2015. Today, there are 29 million people in the US who are diagnosed with diabetes , and the CDC estimates that 96 million more people are prediabetic.
According to the journal of Population Health Management and the CDC: In 2030, 54 million people will have diabetes and 147 million people will be prediabetic. This means that more people will be diabetic and prediabetic than those who are nondiabetic. Looking at this in another perspective, in 2015, 4 out of 10 people were diabetic or prediabetic. In 2030, 6 out of 10 people will be diabetic or prediabetic.
What is Prediabetes?
Prediabetes is a condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to warrant a diagnosis of diabetes. Each year, 5-10% of those with prediabetes cross the bridge and become diabetic. Even worse, 9 out of 10 people with prediabetes do not know they have prediabetes.
What is Hemoglobin A1c?
Hemoglobin is the substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body. When the hemoglobin in our blood comes in contact with glucose (a.k.a. blood sugar) the two bind together to form what is known as glycosylated hemoglobin. The most well known form of glycosylated hemoglobin is A1c. A1c is well known because it is the form of hemoglobin measured in the laboratory to diagnose and monitor diabetes.
A1c is one of most successful clinical tests of all time because it gives a picture of blood glucose over a period of three months. Compared to measuring blood sugar alone, hemoglobin A1c gives a better index of overall glycemic exposure and risks for long-term complications.
Why is Hemoglobin A1c so Important?
When red cells die, they release proteins into our blood stream. Our bodies scavenge these proteins and break them down into amino acids. The amino acids are then either reabsorbed by the cells to make new proteins or excreted in our waste.
As glycated proteins like A1c age, they change structure to form super tight-crosslinked bonds. This results in proteins called Advanced Glycation End products (AGE). Because of their cross-linked structure, these proteins take a very long time for the body to break down.
Since non-diabetics have less glycated proteins, their bodies break down enough AGE proteins for them not to be a problem. However, in diabetics who do not control their blood sugar, these proteins build up faster than the body can break them down. In addition to tight bonds, AGE proteins are also very sticky. The result being that the overwhelming number of AGE proteins in the blood gunk up the circulatory system and hinder circulation. This leads to diabetic complications known as the sequalae of diabetes. The takeaway here is that A1c is not only measured in the laboratory to diagnose and monitor diabetes, it is also the root cause of diabetic complications.
Put simply, high A1c equals high levels of AGE, which hinder circulation and cause the sequalae of diabetes. If you ever wondered how high blood sugar could cause someone to lose a leg, then you now know it is not the sugar per se, but the AGEs that block the blood vessels and stop circulation to that leg.
Sugar is Not the Enemy
For the last forty years, the medical community has waged a war on sugar as the root cause of diabetes. Clearly, the war on sugar is not working. In fact, since this war on sugar started in the late 1980s, diabetes has increased at an alarming rate. If the war on sugar were successful, then we would not be heading for a 2030 with more people who are diabetic/borderline-diabetic than those who are non-diabetic.
We still have a lot to learn when it comes to Type-II diabetes. Although many studies have linked ingestion of sugar as the cause of this disease, few of these studies took other lifestyle factors into consideration. Recent studies show that metabolic syndrome is more likely a result of a disruption of microbiota (the good bacteria in our guts) by way of the consumption of processed foods and artificial sweeteners. Sadly, as this epidemic grows, we are focusing on sugar alone, while there may be a much bigger picture at hand.
Don't get me wrong, like everything else, too much sugar is not a good thing. Furthermore, diabetics must closely manage their sugar intake. In so doing (consuming sugar substitutes, etc.), however, are they unknowingly making their situations worse? And what about those of us who are non-diabetic? Is the war on sugar having us consume foods other than sugar that are making us become diabetic and that will make us part of the diabetic majority in 2030? According to recent research, which is currently ignored by the mainstream medical community, the answer is yes. To me, this makes a world of sense, or the war on sugar would have shown some results by now. Not only is the war on sugar not slowing the rate of diabetes, it is causing it to increase.
Traditional medicine declared a war on sugar because it was noted that many people who become diabetic like to eat sweets. However, these studies did not take into consideration that those who eat sweets typically eat non-sweet junk and processed foods. A recent study indicates that processed foods are more likely to cause diabetes, via disruption of our microbiota, than sugar.
What do most people do when they are diagnosed with diabetes? They start using artificial sweeteners of course. Thanks to the war on sugar, those of us who are non-diabetic are also driven to consume artificial sweeteners with the hope that they will save us from becoming diabetic. Sadly, according to new research, the opposite is true. Numerous studies now show that artificial sweeteners disrupt our microbiome and cause insulin confusion more than processed foods and sugar itself. One study even shows that diabetics who consume artificial sweeteners are more likely to develop retinopathy than those diabetics who do not consume artificial sweeteners.
Why is This Research Being Ignored?
It is said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different outcome. When it comes to diabetes, that is what mainstream medicine has done for the past forty years. Unless there is a lot of money behind something, mainstream medicine has always moved at a snail's pace and typically follows the same pattern: 1. Discredit information that does not conform to popular opinion. 2. Decades later admit they were wrong. 3. Accept the new medical paradigm. Let us also remember that all the money behind the medical community, pharmaceutical companies, and the artificial sweeteners is not going to lay down and die when there is a tremendous financial benefit to a population where the majority of people are sick. When it comes to diabetes, we are now at a crossroads. We can change our thinking, try something new, and turn the tide. Or, we can accept an every worsening sick society in 2030 that is managed by medication.
What Can You Do?
I am not a doctor, so legally I cannot tell you what to do when it comes to your health or medical decisions. However, I can tell you what I do. I eat a balanced diet of only whole foods (fresh meat, fruits, and vegetables), and I avoid junk and processed foods except as an occasional treat. I do not go out of my way to eat sugar, nor do I avoid it. I take that teaspoon of sugar in my coffee every morning, some molasses in my smoothies, and brown sugar on my oatmeal. Most of all, I avoid artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes at all costs. How has this served me? Well, as shown below, the last time I checked my A1c, it was a mere 4.7%, which is more than excellent for a man of 62 years.
Sucralose Affects Glycemic and Hormonal Responses to an Oral Glucose Load. ADA, 2013
Artificial Sweeteners Induce glucose Intolerance by Altering Gut Microbiota. Nature, 2014
Diet Soft Drinks Associated with Increased Odds of Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy. Experimental Ophthalmology, 2018
Personalized Microbiome-Driven Effects of Non-Nutritive Sweeteners on Human Glucose Tolerance. Cell. 2022
Eating Sugar Does Not Cause Diabetes. Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, 2017
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