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Some Facts About Diabetes

According to the ADA (American Diabetes Association) 18.2 million people in the United States, or 6.3% of the population, have diabetes. Diabetes is a disease of carbohydrate metabolism caused by a lack of, or insufficient action of, circulating insulin, thus causing hyperglycemia and a series of health problems such as poor wound healing, higher risk of infections, and many other problems with eyes, kidneys, nerves, and heart. Diabetes Mellitus (Type 2) is a leading cause of death in the U.S. and its incidence is rising.

Types of Diabetes

Insulin-dependent (Type 1) diabetes is linked to lack of insulin in the system. Typically, Type 1 diabetes affects young people with a peak occurrence at 5-10 years of age. Viral infections and genetic predisposition contribute to immune targeting of pancreatic beta cells and developing of Type 2 Diabetes.

Diabetes Mellitus (Type 2) diabetes (non-insulin dependent) has been linked to the Standard American Diet and lifestyle (particularly high carbohydrate intake). Other theoretical causes for the deficiency of insulin include viral infections of the beta cells, toxic reaction to smoked and cured meats (N-nitroso), and autoimmune reaction.

Due to unpleasant side-effects of diabetes drugs, more and more patients are reluctant to take medication. Those with Diabetes Mellitus have a high risk of heart disease and arteriosclerosis. In addition, those with diabetes have a higher mortality rate if they also have high homocysteine levels.

Heart disease poses an even bigger threat to diabetics. Cardiovascular problems and complications account for about 80% of all diabetic deaths. Weather you are fit or unfit, thin or overweight, it is essential to maintain a healthy weight in order to prevent diseases. A healthy diet based on whole, organic, seasonal, local foods is also essential in diabetes prevention.

A diet rich in carbohydrate-containing foods, whether high in sugar or high in starch (such as white rice, white bread, potatoes, processed breakfast cereals,…), raises the blood sugar and insulin levels. The blood sugar-raising effect caused by food, called “glycemic index,” depends on how rapidly carbohydrates are absorbed. Many starchy foods have a glycemic index similar to sucrose (table sugar). Those eating large amounts of food with high glycemic index have been reported to be at an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes. Respectively, those eating carbohydrate-rich food with low glycemic index have been associated with a low risk of Type 2 diabetes.

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