Every 17 Seconds an American Is Diagnosed with Diabetes

“Every 17 seconds an American is diagnosed with diabetes.”

So reads the cover of an informational booklet that recently arrived in my mailbox. Written by the PEO (professional employer organization) that handles my company’s HR and insurance, this brochure espouses the goal of “improving the health of our employees.”

Despite their laudable intentions, the brochure’s diabetes prevention advice is the same hogwash that’s gotten us into this diabetes mess in the first place.

According to the experts who wrote this pamphlet, to help prevent diabetes, our diets should:

  • Be rich in whole grains and low-fat dairy
  • Limit saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium
  • Limit added sugars

Now, why should someone who wants to avoid Type 2 diabetes avoid added sugars? Simple: because constantly ingesting a bunch of sugar that must be metabolized through an insulin response places an incredible demand on the pancreas, hastening beta cell burnout. (Beta cells are the insulin-producing component of the pancreas.) In addition, the elevated glucose level themselves destroy beta cells, which in a superb example of physiological irony, are especially sensitive to elevated glucose levels.

It makes perfect sense that someone wanting to minimize the risk of Type 2 diabetes would avoid added sugars. Why then, I wonder, does the same set of guidelines suggest that we eat a diet rich in whole grains when grains elevate blood glucose levels as much, or even more, than added sugars?

In other words, to minimize your risk of diabetes, limit added sugars because they elevate your glucose but be sure to eat plenty of whole grains that elevate your blood glucose as much as the added sugars do.

What to see for yourself? Go to the drug store and buy a glucose meter and some strips and check your blood glucose one and two hours after finishing that suggested whole-grain meal. Of course, despite the lip service that guidelines like this pay to “regular screenings” and “routine blood sugar testing,” they never suggest the simple step of buying a glucose meter and actually checking one’s glucose levels after eating. Heavens no. That would be crazy. It’s only after someone is officially diagnosed as a diabetic (in other words, when it’s too late to avoid diabetes) does the topic of testing one’s glucose arise.

And why do the experts recommend low-fat? Of all of the macronutrients available, fat is the friendliest to blood glucose levels. After recommending that we eat plenty of glucose-elevating whole grains, the experts now tell us to prolong the health of our pancreas by avoiding the one macronutrient group that doesn’t elevate our glucose levels?


There’s a saying, long past cliché, that says that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. While this obviously isn’t really the definition of insanity, it is the definition of stupid.

Not “oops! I missed some subtle detail,” stupid or “gee, I made a slight rounding error in my calculation” stupid. We’re talking the kind of palm-to-the-forehead stupidity that compels a person to sit in a corner, day after day, trying to cram a square peg into a round hole, the whole time thinking “if I just push harder it’s gotta fit this time.”

In the face of skyrocketing rates of diabetes, if we only push harder for people to just eat more glucose-promoting grains and the avoid glucose-friendly fats that were commonly eaten back when diabetes was a rarity, we can certainly reverse this diabetes epidemic.

Square peg, meet round hole.


7 thoughts on “Every 17 Seconds an American Is Diagnosed with Diabetes

  1. The grain cartel, aka USDA, has all these groups believing in the same tired BS. At the same time big pharma loves it.

    I’m really getting the feeling that none of the insurance companies and health groups really want to do what is the right thing – promote a proper healthy diet. This in itself would save countless billions of dollars and many thousands of lives.

    • I have banged my head against the wall trying to understand how such a massive cognitive dissonance can take hold at such a grand scale. I think it’s a combination of greed, politics, stupidity of the type described in “Wrong!” and “Mistakes Were Made (but not by me),” and laziness. What’s especially frustrating are the unheard voices of sanity in every facet of the healthcare industry. Mob rule seems to drown them out.

      Not to mention that a dishearteningly high percentage of the public doesn’t seem inclined to dig beneath the soundbites…

  2. People with type one diabetes are inlusin dependent, they must have up to 6 injections of inlusin each day. Their pancreas is making little to no inlusin. Type one diabetes is diagnosed anywhere from to birth to the age of 35, give or take a few years. Doctors believe that at some point and time, the pancreas was attacked and damaged by some sort of virus, but there are other theories, and no one knows for sure why we get it. Type 2 diabetes is normally diagnosed after the age of about 35, but can develop in those that are much younger. Usually type 2 starts out as inlusin resistance, where the pancreas is making lots of inlusin, but the body can’t use it properly. Later on in life, the pancreas may become worn and weak, and then may not make enough inlusin for the body. Usually those with type 2 are treated with oral drugs, inlusin, or even both. There are some type 2 that can control their disease for awhile by diet and exercise, but later in life usually have to take medications when the pancreas makes too little inlusin. Diabetes is not caused by the food we eat, or the lifestyle we lead. It is not caused by being overweight, although type 2 can sometimes actually be the cause of weight gain. Both types of diabetes are very often genetic.

    • Type 1 diabetes is on the dramatic increase, coincident with increased rates of autoimmune disease. It’s possible that a viral attack is quite possibly playing a role in some cases, but it’s far more likely that grain and dairy proteins, coupled with an inflammatory lifestyle, are the primary culprits in the autoimmune attack against the pancreas.

      While there are certainly genetic and autoimmune components to both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes is dramatically hastened by elevated glucose levels in the body, which cause pancreatic beta cell burnout. This hastens the onset of Type 2 diabetes by increasing the burden on the remaining beta cells. Dietary advice to reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes by increasing one’s intake of glucose-promoting whole grains is adding fuel to the fire. Fructose, consumed in ever increasing amounts, is also a prime factor in the development of increased insulin resistance. And yes, the visceral fat of today’s obese does increase insulin resistance, largely due to the inhibition of adiponectin, a protein that assists in fatty acid metabolism and lowers insulin sensitivity.

      The mere presence of influential genetic factors most assuredly does not absolve diet and lifestyle from their role in the development of diabetes. Human genetics simply has not changed enough in one generation to account for the skyrocketing rates of all types of diabetes.

      • Like many other diseases it can all be explained by epigenetic it may have in some hereditary components but environment has a big influence on the development of the condition.

        • I agree. Like I posted here, an unfavorable lifestyle laden with high-carb, inflammatory foods that avoids natural, health promoting fats in favor of damaging industrial oils will eventually cause harm. The exact manner in which the maladies manifest is a product of our individual genetics. We should not be mislead into thinking that there’s no lifestyle/disease connection simply because the final disease state can be so varied across individuals.

    • Ikmal, your post seems intelligent until you fail to recognize the importance of food in type 2 diabetes. It’s this type of thinking that perpetuates the damage. What do you think causes insulin resistance in the first place? The high-glycemic standard American diet has been implicated time and again, yet you fail to recognize it. The medical community is trained in how to medicate by the pharmaceutical companies (they run most, if not all, of the medical schools) – there’s no money in curing patients or preventing diseases, the money is in medicating and treating symptoms. Heredity is only a small piece of the puzzle.

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