80% of people affected by diabetes are unaware; 50% of diabetics first present with heart attack or stroke
The biggest lesson we have learned from the Covid-19 pandemic is that the virus is not really the problem; we are only in danger from it because we have failed to maintain a strong immune system to protect us from viruses and bacteria, all of which have the same natural right to exist as we do!
The second lesson is that people with chronic diseases are at high risk of getting the infection and of suffering severely.
Chronic diseases may be broken down into metabolic diseases and autoimmunity conditions. This series of articles will cover the metabolic, followed by autoimmune.
Metabolic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, dementia and even cancer all originate from one common cause – our difficulty in processing sugar, also known as insulin resistance.
Most people think of sugar as a source of energy. But it is also the main cause of diabetes. Whether it is a friend or foe is easier to explain with a real-life case.
This 72-year-old lady had recently lost her husband. She reported chronic back and neck pain and said that she always felt as though her shoulders were almost touching her ears.
I believed that her stress was related to her bereavement, and that she would benefit from counselling and stress-relieving techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation and yoga.
She came back to me three weeks later, saying that she had implemented my advice with no improvement. I thought I must have missed something major, so we delved even more deeply into her lifestyle.
She felt her shoulders were touching her ears
She admitted not really looking after herself. She could not be bothered to cook and relied on convenience food, such as biscuits, crackers and crisps. She also said she no longer enjoyed a good night’s sleep.
I did routine blood tests and, to my amazement, her blood sugar came back within the normal range.
However, on sending her for a fasting insulin test at a private lab, her level was more than five times more than normal, revealing a sugar problem.
I worked with her to control this. Her shoulders settled into a normal position, her back and neck pain stopped, and she was again able to sleep well.
Sugar problems are extremely common. The following advice will allow you to familiarise yourself with the stages, to be able to check yourself, and to do something about it in the early stages in order to prevent diabetes and related complications.
All sugar problems start as insulin resistance: body cells become numb to the effects of insulin, and this opens the door to allow sugar in. With fluctuations in blood sugar, you begin feeling strange – you may get brain fogs; you may feel sleepy after a meal, or experience a major afternoon energy dip; you may frequently feel hungry; some people wake up at night and cannot get back to sleep; you may even start shaking and have light headedness through low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia).
The second stage of sugar problem is known as the metabolic syndrome, generally diagnosed if you have three of the following five signs – belly fat, high blood pressure, relatively high blood sugar, low “good guy” HDL (high density lipoprotein) cholesterol, and high triglyceride.
This is known as the pre-diabetes stage: your blood sugar would border on the fasting level, between 6 to 6.9, and you would be likely to suffer the same complications as diabetes.
Some people would progress to having loss of vision and loss of sensation in their limbs, due to poor circulation caused by persistently raised blood sugar. Other patients may have extensive and unresponsive acne. Some may suffer florid yeast infections, such as oral or vaginal thrush, sinus problems, athlete’s foot, and even IBS.
Insulin can be sky-high, even with normal sugar levels
Sugar problems can present as medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, infertility, enlarged prostate, dementia or breast and prostate cancer, before they show up as diabetes.
As I mentioned earlier, the blood sugar level in most of these patients would be normal, and we would have to check their insulin level to detect the problem. (Please note that the insulin test is not available on the NHS.)
Many of my patients at this early stage describe themselves as being fast, emotional or late-night eaters. That is why sugar problems are prevalent among night-shift workers. (Studies have shown that the night-shift nurses weigh more than their daytime counterparts.)
Everyone would agree that too much sugar can result in obesity or being overweight. But why was this not a problem in the 50s and 60s, or for our hunter-gatherer ancestors? After all, they are the source of our own 21st century genes.
Energy is stored in the body either as sugar or as fat. We have a limited amount of sugar stored as glycogen in the liver and the muscles, which is readily available to fuel the body at any time. We also have a much larger energy source stored as fat, which is not readily available.
They had either recently killed a woolly mammoth or not seen one for days
Historically, our ancestors fluctuated between feast and famine – they had either recently killed a woolly mammoth or they hadn’t seen one for days. So, they stayed metabolically flexible, burning sugar in times of feast, and fat during famine. Because we live in constant feast, we have lost that feast and famine cycle. We store energy as fat, but we don’t have to use it – so it accumulates. This has resulted in an epidemic: in the UK, 57% of women and 67% of men are overweight or obese.
If you cannot burn fat, you have a problem dealing with sugar. This is known as insulin resistance: your cells become numb to the effect of insulin, so your pancreas must pump more and more to get enough sugar into your cells. Your insulin skyrockets and, as insulin is the fat storage hormone, you can’t then burn fat.
How would you know you have a sugar problem? The most common test is measuring your body mass index (BMI), entering your weight and height on a BMI calculator. Between 18.5 to 24.9 is normal; between 25.0 and 29.9 is considered overweight; and 30 and above obese. If you are obese and overweight, you are likely to have a sugar problem.
However, a more accurate indicator is achieved by checking your waist size, as this reflects visceral fat (fat stored in the stomach organs). Your health is at risk if your waist is over 40 inches (100 cm) in a man or 35 inches (88 cm) in a woman.
The peak level of the sugar problem is diabetes. Unfortunately, 80% of affected people are not aware that they have it. I guess this is the reason behind the statistic that shows that 50% of diabetics present for the first time with serious complications, such as a heart attack or stroke. Classic symptoms of diabetes include fatigue, excessive thirst and urination, frequent infection and skin boils.
To present with heart attack or stroke is late – maybe too late for many. Don’t let it be too late for you.
So, keep an eye on yourself. But prevention is better than cure…………
What’s your favourite takeaway?
It should be from mother nature’s unprocessed larder! That is the takeaway I want you to enjoy from this article.
Eat God-given life food and stop consuming man’s manipulated dead food. In simple terms, this means consuming whole real foods – vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and other healthy fats make 90% of your food. Reduce animal proteins and commercial meat. Avoid western food with sugar and processed carbohydrate, fast food and toxic trans-fats, i.e. anything in a box, can or tin!
Move more, sleep well, reduce stress levels with love, forgiveness and gratitude. Have a purpose and live in a community. Enjoy plenty of fresh air and sunshine.
Now, my friends, we would love to hear from you about your personal experience with sugar and modern processed food. Have you managed to calm down your sweet craving? Do you think willpower works? Have you had tests to check your ability to process sugar?