Farquhar & Milnes: Diabetes levels are way to high
In the whole history of mankind, the prevalence of diabetes has never been as high as it is now.
What has caused this?
The most important reason is a dramatic change in our food pattern. Pre-historic man had to either hunt for his food or grow it. A lot of energy was spent doing this.
There were periods of starvation between meals.
However, the physiology of our body was well adapted to cope with starvation, as energy could be stored in our liver and fat tissue.
Indeed, it even seems that our bodies need some time without food between meals to ensure a proper balance between energy supply, expenditure and storage.
Contrast this picture with what is happening today.
The only exertion required to obtain food now is to get in the car and drive to the nearest fast food restaurant. You can even save that little bit of effort by calling for a home delivery.
Nobody stays even slightly hungry for very long. It is no wonder that the delicate physiological balance of food metabolism has been disrupted, which over time has led to the rising prevalence of diabetes.
Therefore the first step to take when you have diabetes is not to start the latest medication straight away, but to review what you eat and how much you eat. I would say that this is the most important step in controlling your diabetes.
In his last article, Dr. Farquhar mentioned some of the important diet modifications required for a healthy diet which are worth repeating: Increase fiber and vegetables in your diet and cut down on salt, saturated fat and red meat. The amount and type of carbohydrate needs to be assessed carefully.
Portion size is also important.
Compared to the rest of the world, food in North America is high in sugar and sodium, so make sure you read the food labels when shopping.
Vegetables, such as broccoli, spinach, carrots and peppers, are high in vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants and should be a part of every balanced diet.
Unhealthy food is often thought to be much tastier than healthy food, but this is not true.
With a little bit of imagination and experimentation in the kitchen, wonderfully tasty food can be made that is also extremely healthy.
However, it does require a willingness to try new things and move away from past food habits.
Changing life habits is not easy, but in the long run you will feel the difference as there are many medical benefits.
These include a lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, a lower risk of certain types of cancers and of course better diabetes control.
Who knows, when you make the change, those around you such as your spouse, partner, children or friends may also feel inspired to make changes to their diet themselves.
So eventually, you could be the cause of a whole group of people enjoying better health.