I sat down to eat a bowl of honey nut flakes because I realized I hadn’t eaten this morning when I became a little nauseous. Ollie, our newest addition to the family, a year old Yorkie, curled up next to me on the couch and I turned on the tv. I hit a few wrong buttons and ended up on The 700 Club (yikes). As I started to turn the channel, I heard the word “dia-besity.” It immediately sparked my curiosity.
The guest on the show was Dr. Mark Hyman autor of The Blood Sugar Solution. He describes “dia-besity” as that “whole spectrum of problems from a little bit of belly fat to pre-diabetes to diabetes.” He lumps diabetes into an “obesity related illnesses.” Not one time in this interview did he distinguish between any kind of diabetes. All diabetes was the same.
In his book, he talks about myths of diabetes:
- Myth – Diabetes is genetic. He says that we do not get, not are we predisposed for getting diabetes because of our genes. He says it’s the eating habits of our parents instilled upon us that give us diabetes.
- Myth – Diabetes is not reversible. If people would just eat right and use the grocery store as their “farm-acy” (he’s soooo freakin’ clever with his words, isn’t he?), they can have their pancreas return to normal and be off insulin in 12 weeks. “Food turns on the genes to create health and reverse diabetes.”
- Myth – Once you start on insulin, there is no going back. That’s what we are taught, but it just isn’t so. We are putting things into our bodies that can actually be stopped and our bodies would resume their normal function.
And there were more “myths” but I couldn’t stomach them.
This is something that for my blood pressure and stress level I should just let go. We are never going to change the general MISconception that all diabetes is alike. WebMd starts their description and explanation of diabetes with this sentence, “Diabetes is a number of diseases that involve problems with the hormone insulin.” There isn’t just ONE type of diabetes and obesity is not the ONLY reason people get diabetes, even Type 2.
If, and I cannot stress the IF enough, you have Type 2 diabetes because of being overweight only, Dr. Hyman’s book and/or thoughts might be of some use to you. The bottom line is, there is hope for you to get off the medication, be able to stop taking insulin and be cured of your Type 2 diabetes. But again, I say, if the only reason you have diabetes is because you are overweight.
If you are a Type 2 diabetic, it is possible that you have diabetes and you are NOT overweight and never have been. Diabetes is simply the body not producing or properly responding to the insulin horomone.
I realize that we are a much more overweight country as a whole. We have more of everything than most countries in the world. Including food. We are RICH in food. And we are busy. Fast food is almost an epidemic here. (And I do love my fast food at times.) And a very common result of eating wrong and not being fit and trim is Type 2 diabetes. We are even seeing it in children because mom and dad have to work and they’re eating out more or eating microwavable food or quick foods and missing out on fruits, vegetables and good proteins. I understand all of that. I get it!
But to lump all diabetes, Type 1 & Type 2 and LADA and gestational, into an obesity category and come up with a ridiculous term like “dia-besity” goes beyond the insane and ridiculous.
And let me step up on my Type 1 diabetes soap box.
Attention, Dr. Hyman: here are Myths of Type 1 Diabetes, the type of diabetes my son has:
- Myth – Diabetes is not genetic. The first thing they asked us in the hospital when Ryan was dx’d was if anyone else in our family had TYPE 1 DIABETES! Although we do not, it does not mean that it is not genetic. Because Ryan is a Type 1 diabetic, there is a 10% chance of his children developing Type 1 diabetes. And, if we so choose, we can have Ethan and Aaron tested to see if they have the genetic predisposition to develop Type 1 themselves. But if you want to learn more about genetic risk factors of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, go to the Joslin Diabetes Center and read more here.
- Myth – Diabetes is reversible. For Type 1 diabetics, whether dx’d as a child or as an adult, TYPE 1 DIABETES IS NOT REVERSIBLE!!! You have no idea ho much I wish it was. Type 1 diabetes is an AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE. At some point for some environmental reason (virus, immunizations, etc.) we will never exactly know, Ryan’s immune system decided to fight the beta cells in the pancreas that make insulin and treat them as a germ of sorts and attacked them over and over, killing them off until there weren’t any left (there’s the most raw layman’s terms I can think of). He is not capable of producing insulin. And no one can live without insulin, not even Ryan.
- Myth – If on insulin now, you may not always have to be on insulin. Hm. Adults and children with Type 1 diabetes and Ryan will ALWAYS have to be on insulin. ALWAYS. Their is no medication, diet, exercise, herb, plant or magic that can be done to make the body reproduce the beta cells and make them begin to make insulin again. Once those cells are destroyed, they are gone. Would love if the pancreas would regenerate these cells like an earthworm regenerates it’s body if part of it is severed, but IT.JUST.ISN’T.SO.
And I think there are reasons that people with Type 1 diabetes and parents of children with Type 1 diabetes get so frustrated:
- You cannot blanket Diabetes. We do not blanket cancer and say there is only one treament, one drug, one chemo/radiation, one outcome. We do not blanket allergies and say that if someone has allergies of any kind that they all need EpiPens or don’t need EpiPens because there are allergies from peanut to pollen, from dogs to drugs. Type 1 diabetes is not the same as Type 2 diabetes. And the more I learn (because diabetes is so vast that I am still learning!) all Type 2 diabetes are not the same or at least do not have the same cause or require the same treatment and care.
- When you tell someone your child has diabetes or they see the pump or the sugar check, all too often you can see it, the questions, the pity, the judgment of me as a mom to not have fed him properly or that I gave him too much sugar to have diabetes!
- The comments to RYAN, who is SEVEN, that he will outgrow or change his diet and/or exercise and he won’t have diabetes anymore are heartbreaking. UNLESS THERE IS A CURE, RYAN WILL ALWAYS HAVE TYPE 1 DIABETES.
- All this misinformation minimizes the complexity and severity of the disease. People think that if you have diabetes of any kind that you did something wrong and if you will fix it or change a few habits, it will go away. Read this post by Meri and it will convince you otherwise.
This is particularly sensitive with me right now. Ryan is getting old enough to see commercials, tv shows, and read what media and ridiculous doctors out to make a buck are saying about diabetes. He gets mad when people say there is one cause – obesity – and it can be cured by what he eats. He knows better.
And two weeks ago, Ethan came home upset about his Health class. They were talking about taking care of the body the comment was made that you must eat right and exercise or “you’ll get diabetes!” During the first lesson, he just listened and didn’t say anything, and just got mad. Then last week, the lecture continued – The fight against American obesity and diabetes. And he spoke up. He set the teacher straight. He told him about Ryan. And he asked that the lesson distinguish between Type 2 and Type 1. GOOD FOR YOU, ETHAN!!! But the kicker was when a friend after class said, “Ethan, I’ve seen your brother, he’s not fat. How does he have diabetes?”
WE ARE POORLY AND WRONGLY EDUCATING ABOUT DIABETES.
And I’m sad. And angry.
And I hate that this is a battle that Ryan will fight ALL OF HIS LIFE.