The prevalence of diabetes is unprecedented. Never in history has there been such vast spiralling numbers of every type of diabetes growing at breakneck speeds.
If you are reading this because you or a loved one has diabetes, then you are beginning to understand the impact of a disease that is crippling the planet.
When a patient is admitted to hospital at age 65, and has suffered a stroke, the hospital writes on their record that they had a stroke - not that they have elevated blood sugars, and are pre-diabetic. However, continued exposure to hyperinsulinemia (high blood sugars) has caused irreparable damage and the result in this case is a stroke.
Diabetes accounts for a huge number of serious medical conditions and fatalities every year that isn’t recorded as diabetes being the cause, but it is.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the number of people diagnosed with diabetes has risen from 108 million in 1980 to over 422 million in 2014. The global prevalence more than doubled for people over 18 years of age for the same time period.
This has simultaneously coincided with the attack on dietary fat and it’s now disproven correlation with bad cholesterol (LDL). In the same time period we have drastically increased our carbohydrate consumption.
Coincidence? We think not.
So, what’s accounting for this rise and can we do anything to stop it.
Type 1 Diabetes
Since the 20th century, type 1 diabetes has been on the rise. Research points toward a stable and low incidence in the first half of the century, followed by a clear rise in the second half. Now increasing by as much as 3% per year.
Although, type 1 is considered an autoimmune disease, and therefore, cannot be correlated to lifestyle choices as type 2 frequently is, researchers are honing in on what environmental factors may be adding to this once fatal disease.
First suggested in 1989, strong evidence from a number of epidemiological studies indicated a rapid increase in type 1 diabetes, contrasted by a decrease in the incidence of infectious diseases, such as mumps, tuburculosis, hepatitis A and measles.
So by decreasing the chances of falling prey to these once serious infections, we’ve increased the occurrence of type 1.
This is a prevalent theory discussed amongst diabetics. It appears almost all type 1‘s recall having an infection or virus at the same time as being diagnosed.
Researchers also believe this hypothesis has merit, stating that a variety of viruses (including enterovirus, rota virus, rubella, and mumps) may initiate or accelerate the autoimmune process for type 1 diabetes.
The question as to how this occurs is still unclear, but it is believed the pathogens lead the body to a raised immune response and inflammation.
The rise of type 2 is helping type 1
Type 1 diabetes accounts for 10% of all cases of diabetes. In Australia there are an estimated 1.2 million diabetics, and 120,000 with type 1. In America there are 1.25 million type 1 diabetics. This is expected to increase to 5 million by 2050.
As diabetes reaches epidemic levels, the media attention is also increasing, and with media comes awareness, and money follows.
We are seeing ever increasing funding into research for type 1, and this is linked to the media exposure of type 2.
Type 2 Diabetes
We spend a great deal of time abusing the western diet and yes, it is atrocious, with abhorrent amounts of refined and processed foods entirely built for the purpose of profit (not health).
Gotta love capitalism!
But when confronting the goliath task of global diabetes, we can’t just point our fingers at some choice fast food restaurants. We need to look more closely at all countries and societies love for food. In particular, North America and Asia.
First up, we have the aforementioned Western diet. A diet rich in refined and processed carbohydrates, saturated fat, salt and oversized portions. Where there’s a Macdonald‘s on every street corner and a new case of type 2 diabetes in a child every day. Oh what a bountiful land of opportunity.
This ‘diet’ is born of industrialisation. A time when we began rapid urbanisation, which forced traditional agriculture to change and begin refining very large scale produce. So we started to eat larger amounts of grain and corn.
Fast forward to a more modern setting; we have ‘fast food’ growing in global popularity, the explosion of the franchise business model allowing companies to expand into new markets overnight, and the advancements of preservatives and manipulation of staples like bread and yoghurt. These factors and many more have contributed to a pattern of eating poorly constructed food into a global nutritional crisis.
Then we have the Asian diet. Rich in leafy greens, legumes, fish, fruit, nuts and seeds. On the surface it appears to be extremely healthy but we have to consider the industrial amounts of grain the asian diet contains. Rice and buckwheat soba are a component to almost every meal. So it may be no coincidence that China has the largest amount of type 2 diabetics on the planet, closely followed by India.
More concerning is how the western and Asian diets are converging, producing ever increasing amounts of fast food, mainly comprised of carbohydrate dense and nutritionally suspicious fodder.
“The prevalence of diabetes is rising more rapidly in middle and low-income countries“. (WHO)
You don’t have to conduct a global trial to ascertain that some of the factors for this are the cheap cost and the widespread, almost limitless supply of highly processed food.
Nutritional education is poor, even at post graduate level, and this is contributing toward states providing dietary guidance that is steeped in corporate bias and influence.
We appear to be at a point where the average person does not know the absolute basic level of nutrition and blindly follows state guidance or simply thinks, “if they call it food and I can buy it, then I can eat as much of it as I want”.
If there is one thing that sticks in your brain when learning about nutrition, it needs to be this;
”Don’t ask why healthy food is so expensive. Ask why junk food is so cheap”.
Work - Technology
With Industrialisation and urbanisation came the modern office environment. This comprised of computers and chairs. No more working the land like our fathers and father’s fathers. No more chasing sheep and cattle, or up at dawn to sow the field.
But what we’ve evolved into is pretty depressing.
The vast majority of us now follow a strict routine where we simply change where we’re sitting throughout the day. Whether it’s at the breakfast table, in the car on the way to work, then sat at our desk at work, onto a cafe chair for lunch, then back in the car and finally on our sofa in front of the TV. Oh wait, then we’re horizontal whilst we sleep.
Is it any wonder that if we combine this lifestyle with eating a highly refined and processed diet, we’re becoming obese and getting sick?
Can we be saved?
Of course! Don’t be silly. It’s not all doom and gloom.
For a start; with education, comes empowerment - and with empowerment, comes change - and with change, comes progress.
Simply by reading this article, you’re hearing another persons perspective, and whether you agree with it or not, you’re better informed and forming your own opinions. And with more opinions, comes more options and more information.
Low carb and keto diets are now gaining real and sustainable traction with countless research and trials being conducted. This movement is not a fad, and it won’t be long till states and governments wont have any option but to listen.
Change is happening, but the best place for it to start is with yourself.
Believe the hypo