7 Steps to Treating Diabesity
Mark Hyman, MD, in his book, "The Blood Sugar Solution" refers to the term "Diabesity" i.e. an overwhelming epidemic of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
He talks about ways of treating this significantly risky condition.
1: Boost Nutrition
The main driving factor - of our diabesity epidemic is our nutrient poor, calorie-rich, low-fiber, high-sugar Standard American Diet. This has led to a nation of overfed but yet undernourished people. There are so few nutrients in our diet that we now have an epidemic of nutritional deficiencies that promote the development of diabetes, including vitamin D, magnesium, chromium, zinc and antioxidant deficiencies. Whole, real fresh food that you cook yourself is the most potent medicine you can use to prevent, treat and reverse diabesity.
2: Regulate Your Hormones
Sex hormones, adrenal or stress hormones & thyroid hormones, are important if you want to heal. They are all interconnected; they interact with one another like a big musical symphony. When this symphony is playing out of tune, problems arise. To overcome diabesity, you must identify and treat thyroid imbalances that control your metabolism, overactive stress hormones that worsen insulin resistance and blood sugar, and insulin imbalance and its harmful effects on your sex hormones.
3: Reduce Inflammation
Anything that causes inflammation will, in turn, cause insulin resistance. And anything that causes insulin resistance will cause inflammation. This dangerous spiral is at the root of so many of our 21st-century chronic maladies.
Sugar, refined carbohydrates, trans fats, too many inflammatory omega-6 fats from processed plant oils (like soybean or corn oil), artificial sweeteners, hidden food allergies and sensitivities, chronic infections, imbalances in gut bacteria, environmental toxins, stress, and a sedentary lifestyle all promote inflammation. Of course, which of these factors is the source of inflammation for you is a key question, and the answer is different for everyone. Locating and addressing each of the sources of inflammation in your life is essential not only for overcoming diabesity, but also for addressing virtually every other health-related issue.
4: Improve Digestion
New evidence points to an unexpected source of metabolic problems and diabesity — a toxic digestive system. Our diet has changed dramatically in the last 10,000 years, and even more so in the last 100 years, with the industrialization of our food supply. This highly processed, high-sugar, high-fat, low-fiber diet has substantially altered the bacteria that historically grew in our digestive tracts, and the change has been linked to weight gain & diabetes. Many other modern inventions such as antibiotics, acid blockers, anti-inflammatory medication, aspirin & steroids injure the gut, alter our gut flora and lead to systemic inflammation.
Dr Hyman, a functional medicine physician, calls it the 4R program that he finds works very well:
1.Remove the bad bugs, drugs and food allergens
2.Replace needed enzymes, fiber and prebiotics
3.Reinoculate your gut with good bacteria or probiotics
4.Repair the gut lining with omega-3 fats, zinc, glutamine, quercitin and other healing nutrients.
5: Maximize Detoxification
Over the last few years, scientists have uncovered an unexpected fact: Environmental toxins make you fat and cause diabetes. They have found that environmental toxins interfere with blood sugar and cholesterol metabolism, and cause insulin resistance. One of the key mechanisms that leads to insulin resistance and diabesity is when toxins block the function of very important receptors on the nuclei of your cells, receptors that are critical for optimal insulin function and blood-sugar control. Scientists have shown that toxins cause increases in glucose, cholesterol and fatty liver, and slowdown your thyroid function. They also may cause an increase in appetite and problems with brain signals that control hunger. This is no longer something that can be ignored: Toxins make you fat and cause diabesity, and they must be addressed in any treatment program for diabesity.
6: Enhance Energy Metabolism
Our metabolism directly affects our risk for diabesity. Metabolism turns calories & oxygen into the energy that fuels every cell in our bodies. This energy is made in little factories in our cells called mitochondria. When your mitochondria are not working properly, you suffer all the symptoms of low energy: fatigue, slow metabolism, weight gain, memory loss, pain, rapid aging and more. People with diabesity do not produce energy in their mitochondria as well as healthy people do. Often the cause of damage to our mitochondria is something we call "oxidative stress." They are familiar with the process — it is seen as rust on a car, wrinkles on your face, an apple that turns brown in the air. But you can wrinkle on the inside, too.
The good news is that there are ways to enhance and optimize mitochondrial function, boost energy production, and reduce oxidative stress. Even better news is that doing these things can reverse diabesity and insulin resistance.
7: Sooth Your Mind
Stress makes you fat & contributes to the development of diabesity. Doctors have long known there is a relationship between stress & blood sugar. What they now understand is that, in the face of chronic stress, our levels of insulin, cortisol and inflammatory compounds all increase. This drives the relentless metabolic dysfunction that leads to weight gain, insulin resistance, and, ultimately, diabetes. Thus, managing stress — whether through relaxation therapies, meditation, yoga, massage, exercise, laughing or much more — is a critical component of obesity and diabetes treatment.
Dr Mark Hyman, MD.
April Issue 2012