All three health issues are on the rise. More and more young and middle aged people are being screened and treated for pre-diabetes than ever before - these conditions and many other immune and metabolic problems. The question is why? And how can we avoid being one of the rising statistics? How can we help our loved ones who are suffering?
One common denominator is the food we eat. The types of food are not what you think. Understanding what those foods are and more importantly, why those foods are the common denominator, is important to motivating us to change our eating lifestyle.
What about gluten?
Gluten is a substance in grain-related products that is part of the original plant makeup. Gluten actually repels insects and bacteria in order to protect the grain plant. It is a category of proteins that has a "sticky" property to it when liquid is added. Gluten is a large protein molecule, and because of its sticky character, it attaches to bacteria and viruses and other foreign particles including the fiber in grains that help to remove toxins out of our system. Those with a diagnosis of celiac disease are actually allergic to gluten. Conversely, a gluten sensitivity can be one reason for gastric distress. Gluten molecules are too big to go through the digestive lining unless the lining is inflamed or torn or if the cells have been separated. This presents an opening through the digestive lining and allows big molecules such as gluten that would not normally be able, to enter into the bloodstream. Too much irritation caused by an overabundance of eating gluten-containing foods can result over time in leaky gut syndrome.
Gluten is found in more complex, starchy carbohydrates such as pasta, bread, cereal, etc. Gluten is also found in legumes (beans) and starchy veggies such as peas, corn, and acorn squash, just to name a few. Gluten is also used as fillers in many other products. Folks with celiac disease need to steer away from those foods and those who are sensitive need to be careful not to eat too many; but we can all benefit by avoiding these foods on a daily basis.
A Diagnosis of Diabetes
Diabetes is a case of insulin resistance. Insulin plays a major role in metabolism (the way our bodies produce energy). Sugars and starches break down into glucose during digestion. Then the glucose enters the bloodstream. Insulin is a hormone that assists the entry of glucose into the cells of the body so that glucose can be used to produce energy. After a meal when the levels of glucose rise in the bloodstream, our pancreas releases insulin into the blood to help the glucose enter the cells throughout the body. There is a very important balance keeping blood glucose and insulin levels at the correct level. Excess glucose is stored in our liver unless the liver already has enough, otherwise glucose is stored as fat.
How Insulin resistance happens
Insulin resistance occurs when there is continually too much glucose in the bloodstream. Too much glucose is a result of the foods we eat that provide more glucose than our cells need. The pancreas is forced to keep up with the amount of insulin that is needed for the body to absorb glucose. When the pancreas cannot keep up with the amount of insulin needed, the excess glucose builds up in the bloodstream. And this is what leads to the development of Type 2 diabetes. This also leads to heart disease and other health disorders. Prediabetes is an indication that the glucose levels in our blood are becoming too high. The U.S. Department of Health estimates that at least 84 million U.S. adults ages 18 or older had prediabetes in 2015 and the numbers continue to increase.
The Problem of Obesity
Obesity is often seen in diabetic patients. Obesity is also becoming a threatening disorder of its own. It is now common in children and young adults at early ages. There seems to be a cultural eating disorder that is leading our population in the U.S. toward a cataclysmic epidemic. Science is beginning to give us clues about what we have overlooked in our dietary guidelines.
In Part II of this blog series, we will take a look at what those missing pieces are and where we can start to change our eating habits to avoid ill health.
What can I do now?
In the meantime, consider joining us on April 21 for "The Sticky Facts About Gluten". We will discuss these issues in more depth; learn how to avoid food that hurt us; learn about correcting our food intake so that we don't go down the road to ill health; and participate in afternoon food workshops to learn better cooking and food combining. We will also give you shortcuts and keys to overcome gluten sensitivity, diabetes and obesity and simplify the roadmap back to health. Look for the April 21 details on our "Events" page. It promises to be a day to turn your health around.