Janzo posted this interesting perspective on diabetes and blood sugar:
I have pre-diabetes, and have tried EVERY popular “change your diet” book published in the last 10 years, with little results: I still fought my lifelong sweet-tooth and cravings for carbs. Last September I got an official diagnosis of diabetes (A1C was 8.2% or something), and reluctantly put myself back on a low-carb program–AGAIN. No grains except “healthy whole wheat bread” and some crackers, no fruit. I quickly became depressed, my body was tense and ached. Life was miserable. And my fasting glucose readings were still 160 [mg/dl] or so; far from the 110 I was looking for.
After MUCH nagging, I followed my chiropractor’s advice and looked into gluten-free as a way to get my numbers down, and found this blog. I read all the comments: “I don’t even MISS the old foods!” “I feel better than I EVER have in my LIFE!!” “I’ll NEVER go back to eating.” And my eyes rolled. I’d heard this with EVERY diet I’d tried, and failed to maintain. This was just one more.
But then something weird happened. My gut spoke up.
I felt a strange sensation in my mid-region, and “checked in” with my gut feelings. They were saying “YES YES YES PLEASE PLEASE CAN WE DO THIS **PLEASE PLEASE???!!!!**” To which my mind said “What the HELL??!” My gut feelings were jumping up and down with excitement, like a puppy when you pick up its leash to go for a walk.
They say if your head and your gut disagree, your gut is telling you the truth and your head is wrong. So I went with it, and ate my last “healthy whole wheat” crackers on Saturday. By Tuesday: my depression was gone, my tension was gone, my sweet tooth was gone, and my fasting glucose was suddenly down to 120. Holeeee crud!
I don’t even MISS the old foods. I feel better than I EVER have in my LIFE. And I’ll NEVER go back to eating wheat. Thanks, Dr. D!
Consumption of modern wheat causes diabetes: pure and simple. Getting rid of modern wheat gets rid of diabetes in the majority of cases (provided you don’t fill the calorie gap with candy and ice cream!).
Why would this be? Why would “healthy whole grains” cause, or at least contribute, to development of type 2 diabetes? There are several reasons:
1) No other food–sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup, sugary soft drinks, French fries, etc.–has its very own opiate that stimulates appetite. The gliadin protein, digested down to 5 tetra- and pentapeptide “exorphin” (exogenous morphine-like compounds) units, binds to the opiate receptors of the human brain and stimulates appetite. (Those nice people in the Wheat Lobby argue that other foods, such as dairy products and spinach, also have opiates; this is technically true, but the binding affinity of these compounds is so low–10% or less of the binding affinity of wheat exorphins–that they are not of any practical concern. Don’t fall for this obvious smokescreen.)
The increased appetite of wheat exorphins cause you to consume 400 or more calories per day, every day. Those calories are not from pork chops or salmon; they come carbohydrates almost exclusively–chips, cookies, crackers, pretzels, candy and other goodies, the foods that raise blood sugar.
2) Wheat contains the complex carbohydrate, amylopectin A–Recall that the unique branching structure of wheat’s amylopectin A makes it highly susceptible to digestion by the enzyme, amylase, in saliva and stomach juices, releasing glucose into the bloodstream literally within seconds of ingestion. This explains why two slices of whole wheat bread raise blood sugar higher and faster than 6 teaspoons of table sugar. High blood sugar obliges high blood insulin, over and over and over again in the world of the “healthy whole grain” eater. Over time, this leads to diminished responsiveness to insulin–“insulin resistance”–the foundation of pre-diabetes and diabetes. It also leads to creation of visceral belly fat which, in turn, worsens insulin resistance and inflammation.
3) Repetitive high blood sugars, over and over again, lead to pancreatic glucotoxicity–damage to pancreatic beta cells that produce insulin. (Here is a representative discussion of this effect.) Death of pancreatic beta cells is, for all practical purposes, irreversible: When they’re dead, they’re dead and do not regenerate. Foods that raise blood sugar the most cause the most glucotoxicity. What food dominates the modern diet and has among the highest of glycemic indexes? Yup: wheat.
4) A vigorous and unending flow of carbohydrates fuels the process of liver de novo lipogenesis, the conversion of sugar and carbohydrates into fatty acids in the liver. Among the results: plenty of fatty acids and triglycerides in the bloodstream. This causes lipotoxicity, death to pancreatic beta cells that produce insulin. So those typical triglyceride levels of 150 mg/dl, 200 mg/dl, 500 mg/dl or higher that persist for extended periods kill off pancreatic beta cells.
5) Leptin resistance–Gain weight, lose the satiating/appetite-limiting effect of the leptin hormone. It means that appetite is not turned off. High leptin levels are also toxic to the pancreas: leptin toxicity.
6) Inflammation–Insulin resistance, visceral fat accumulation: It all adds up to extravagant triggering of complex inflammatory pathways signaled by increased c-reactive protein in the bloodstream, increased interleukins, increased tumor necrosis factor, and many others, as well as increased inflammatory white blood cell content of the fat itself (like pus). The process is made worse by the entry of foreign compounds into the bloodstream and lymph permitted by the gliadin protein. The same gliadin that is broken down into exorphin polypeptides can also remain intact and exert bowel permeability increasing effects via the zonulin pathway described by Dr. Alessio Fasano; this occurs in people with celiac disease and it occurs in people without celiac disease.
7) The lectin of wheat, wheat germ agglutinin, mimics insulin. It stimulates many of the same processes triggered by insulin in fat cells, including reduced oxidation of fatty acids.
8) How about a more speculative, non-quantifiable effect: resorting to wheat products, such as chocolate chip cookies, Oreos, angel food cake, and chocolate eclairs, as “comfort” foods to quell the various emotional and physical aches and pains characteristic of wheat consumption?
That’s a partial list. Yes, a partial list of how wheat causes diabetes.
Increased appetite for sugar and carbohydrates, high blood sugar, high blood insulin, leptin effects, gluco- and lipotoxic pancreatic effects, inflammation, etc. It all adds up to a perfect storm to create type 2 diabetes. So what does our USDA, nice dietitians, and many of my colleagues tell you to do about his? Eat MORE “healthy whole grains.” Not only do they tell us to eat more of it, they tell us that they should dominate the diet. (Thus the largest segments of the USDA Food Pyramid and Plate.)
Is the explosion in diabetes any surprise? This is what the CDC says:
So Janzo is getting a little taste of the incredible power of eating NO “healthy whole grains” to minimize or reverse diabetes. Do you find it a little odd that the most vigorous and long-term financial supporters of the “healthy whole grain” message and the Wheat Lobby and trade groups are . . . diabetes drug manufacturers?