Diabetes type 2 is on the increase. This disease has been identified as a new phenomenon which is linked to diet and exercise. Exactly, what is type 2 diabetes? It occurs in people whose bodies no longer use insulin. The insulin hormone helps the body regulate blood sugar. When the blood sugar is too high, the disease causes blood sugar (glucose) levels to rise.
It is estimated that as many as 29 million people have diabetes type 2 in the USA according to the center of disease control (CDC). This is a huge impact on the health industry costing more than 245 billion dollars.
The western diet, along with the help of the food industry has been at work for many decades, refining our foods with highly processed substances and modifying foods by using genetic methods. The western diet is also linked to a lifestyle where food is on demand and obtainable instantly. Thus, the idea of a fast food industry that deals with hunger instantly.
Other factors include the lifestyle patterns of people and their environments where there is limited opportunity for exercise. When towns and cities are planned, especially in the USA, residential areas are deigned as far away as possible from commercial areas. Thus, people spend more time driving/commuting rather than walking to get to work, school and amenities.
In his book, ‘In Defense of Food’, Michael Pollan illustrates the results of a study conducted by nutritionist researcher Karen O’Dea on the aboriginal diabetic people in Australia, by removing them from the western lifestyle and taking them back to the bush. After a number of weeks, in the bush, they had lost weight and regained their non-diabetic status because they were no longer intaking a processed diet.
The important message here, is that this disease is preventable and people should start to choose diets that do not contain all the processed and modified ingredients.
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Pollan, Michael. In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto. New York: The Penguin Press. 2008.