The Health Elephant In The Room
The Market Ticker - Commentary on The Capital Markets
2013-11-14 11:07 by Karl Denninger
in Health Reform , 518 references Ignore this thread
The Health Elephant In The Room*
 

There are times that one asks how and why it is that the so-called "mainstream media" can fail to take an event that goes on for a long time and yet never ask what changed that might be the cause of that phenomena?

"The battle to protect people from diabetes and its disabling, life-threatening complications is being lost," the federation said in the sixth edition of its Diabetes Atlas, noting that deaths from the disease were now running at 5.1 million a year or one every six seconds.

People with diabetes have inadequate blood sugar control, which can lead to a range of dangerous complications, including damage to the eyes, kidneys and heart. If left untreated, it can result in premature death.

Why?

Let's talk basic biomechanics.  You eat.  When you eat foods that contain carbohydrates as they are digested they convert to glucose.  Your pancreas secretes insulin to promote the conversion of glucose to glycogen, which is then stored, primarily in the liver.  When this storage mechanism is full the energy is diverted to fat.

When you eat a food that contains carbohydrates that are absorbed slowly, that is, you eat things that have a low glycemic index, the response rate of insulin in the body is muted and rises slowly.  When you eat something that contains carbohydrates that are absorbed rapidly, such as sugars, your pancreas is called upon to rapidly increase insulin levels so as to prevent the glucose level in your blood from rising to dangerous levels.

Type II diabetes is the condition where either (1) your pancreas fails to respond to high glucose levels adequately with a release of insulin or (2) your body fails to generate glycogen (and ultimately fat if intake continues) despite a relatively high level of insulin.  This is generally known as "insulin resistance" or "metabolic syndrome" and is distinct from Type I diabetes where the islet cells in the pancreas are destroyed due to an auto-immune disorder (and thus can't produce insulin at all, or at least not in material amounts.)

So, let's see what we have here.

What if you were to eat a diet with no carbohydrate in it at all -- or, in the alternative, ate only very "slow" carbohydrates with very significant other nutrient value such as leafy green vegetables?

You'd expect that a person with compromised insulin response would find much better blood sugar control -- right?

So why is it that the American Diabetes Association recommends that about 1/4 of your food intake be "starchy foods" that are all moderate to high glycemic index carbohydrates?

You don't need carbohydrates, incidentally; they serve no essential purpose in nutrition.  Your body is quite-capable of running on lipids -- that is, fats.  You especially don't need them if they spike your blood glucose levels because you're insulin-response compromised!

But the better question is this: How did the compromise happen in the first place, and why does the prevalence continue to expand?

That's pretty easy to figure out -- these foods, by and large, did not exist a hundred or two hundred -- or a thousand years ago.

Oh sure, there were some exceptions -- but the prevalence of these foods is a modern thing.

And so is diabetes, by and large.

Now I'm sure a good part of this is just bad genetics -- that is, a bad draw from the deck.  But how much of the rise in Type II diabetes is due to our shift from low-glycemic index carbs and fats as our primary energy sources to fast carbohydrates such as refined sugars and synthetic fats such as hydrogenated oils?

More to the point, why aren't we recommending that people strictly limit high-glycemic index carbohydrates?

You'd have to ask the folks involved that -- and in particular, you'd have to address the "part of your good breakfast" crowd that puts forward prescriptions for everyone from toddlers forward starting their day with a bowl-full of high-glycemic-index carbs.

I wonder if we were to get rid of the cereals and toast, replacing it with omelettes and bacon, if we might not have a lower incidence of Type II diabetes..... and if perhaps those currently suffering from it might not have better blood sugar control and less obesity at the same time.

But that would******of the agribusiness and pill mill folks mightily, wouldn't it?

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