NotBlueAtAll

I'm just a fat gal with a blog and an opinion. Well, lots of opinions.

I Just Want To Know The Truth: Diabetes

January5

I had recently read a post on Tumblr that included the quote, “EATING SUGAR DOES NOT CAUSE DIABETES.  It just doesn’t.  You cannot eat your way to diabetes.” And it blew my ever-loving mind! But then, then I made the mistake of saying that exact quote aloud, to my friends. You can guess what the response was. Sadly, I hadn’t researched it and was given a giant shutdown by my nearest and dearest and with nothing to back myself up, I fell silent. You know that had to be hard for me. Ha! But seriously? Why isn’t this information out there? Why do people believe that fat = diabetes? Because it’s bullshit if you ask me.

Last night my husband and I got into this conversation again and again I explained my side of it and while he admitted he didn’t know much about diabetes (he has an aunt with it, she’s thin), he still held to the myth. In fact he said, “You or I could have it right now and not know!” to me, straight-faced. I was gobsmacked. WTF?! I explained that I know I don’t have it for two reasons: I have been tested every fucking time I walk into a clinic/hospital/doctor’s office simply because they take a look at me and demand the fucking tests (I just know now, no matter what my ailment to fucking fast the night/morning before the appointment). Also, no one on either side of my family has ever had it. Simple as that. My dear husband then pointed to the foods we eat and the foods I grew up with. HELLO? NOT GENETICALLY PREDISPOSED!!! Also, not good enough for him.

I don’t want to start a fucking debate or shit storm here. I honestly, just want the TRUTH! I understand lifestyle and environmental factors vary, but seriously, is everyone at risk? I don’t believe that my fat will suddenly cause me to have diabetes, but it bothers the shit out of me that he thinks it’s possible. UGH! Please, give me information, experiences, links, anything!

Here’s what I’ve found (but still reading through):

http://www.diabetes.org/
http://fa-diab.com/home.html
http://www.second-opinions.co.uk/diabetes_index.html
https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Diabetes

Please do not attack anyone, you will be removed permanently! Use your manners, have some respect for your fellow humans and let us all discuss this openly and honestly, together!

Thanks. Y’all rock! (In case you didn’t know!)

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31 Comments to

“I Just Want To Know The Truth: Diabetes”

  1. On January 5th, 2011 at 1:44 pm silentbeep Says:

    ” Roughly 20% of the people with Type 2 diabetes are thin, and 75% of obese people never get it.” from

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124269507804132831.html

    The above cited by:

    http://living400lbs.wordpress.com/2009/06/12/how-many-fat-people-get-diabetes/

  2. On January 5th, 2011 at 1:51 pm Not Blue at All Says:

    Oooh! Thank you! So much to read for me today. yay!

  3. On January 5th, 2011 at 2:01 pm Teresa Says:

    Hello, I just stumbled onto your blog while searching for health related info. I was diagnosed with Type 2 approx. 3 years ago and everyone in my life just assumed that a) I can never eat a carb again and b) it’s obviously because I am fat, and if I would just lose weight the diabetes would “go away.”

    My dad got diabetes very young but we didn’t know it until he got very sick. I was diagnosed at 37. Since starting various diets and Rx to “control” it I have gotten sicker, my A1C keeps going up, and I feel lousy almost all the time.

    What’s worse is trying to get helpful info that isn’t politically motivated, I feel that the ADA is the worst for this.

    That second link you have listed is a site run by Jenny Ruhl. She has a book called Blood Sugar 101 that I found helpful and well researched, as opposed to just being full of pictures of doctored up high carb food.

    I believe there is money in keeping diabetics sick.

  4. On January 5th, 2011 at 2:13 pm Not Blue at All Says:

    You’re completely right! There are trillions to be made by big Pharmaceutical companies to keep us all sick. It’s no wonder we’ve cured nothing since corporations have gained near-complete control over nearly every aspect of our lives. Until the international community starts reigning them in (certainly the US would never get in the way of a big corporation/big money), no change will come. When I found out that medical schools are often funded by the beef and dairy council? I was nauseous! And the more I learn about nutrition the more I read that the opposite of whatever I just read is true. We’re spun in circles and blamed for our own illnesses when I believe it’s often the politics themselves creating them. Thank you for sharing your story. As I’ve been reading more about Diabetes today, I find that my eyes have been further opened to the fat-hate in the world and how we’ve all been lied to in the name of large profits. *hugs*

  5. On January 5th, 2011 at 2:39 pm Living400lbs Says:

    Also, check out the American Diabetes Association’s “Diabetes Myths” page: http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/diabetes-myths/

    Some of the myths it takes on are:

    Myth: If you are overweight or obese, you will eventually develop type 2 diabetes.
    Fact: Being overweight is a risk factor for developing this disease, but other risk factors such as family history, ethnicity and age also play a role. Unfortunately, too many people disregard the other risk factors for diabetes and think that weight is the only risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Most overweight people never develop type 2 diabetes, and many people with type 2 diabetes are at a normal weight or only moderately overweight.

    Myth: Eating too much sugar causes diabetes.
    Fact: No, it does not. Type 1 diabetes is caused by genetics and unknown factors that trigger the onset of the disease; type 2 diabetes is caused by genetics and lifestyle factors. Being overweight does increase your risk for developing type 2 diabetes, and a diet high in calories, whether from sugar or from fat, can contribute to weight gain. If you have a history of diabetes in your family, eating a healthy meal plan and regular exercise are recommended to manage your weight.

    The ADA is NOT a fat-accepting organization. They’re just tired of getting slammed with these myths.

    Also note that sudden, unexpected weight LOSS can be a sign of diabetes, especially of type 1 but also of uncontrolled type 2.

  6. On January 5th, 2011 at 2:42 pm Not Blue at All Says:

    I am so glad that I posted this today. Almost didn’t. And thank you for your fab blog, my dear! Seriously! You rock my socks and I would love to interview you for a podcast sometime soon if you’re game. Thanks for this info! Super helpful!

  7. On January 5th, 2011 at 3:06 pm Susan Says:

    Since my mother was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, I have been reading up on it.

    Here’s my lay-person’s understanding:
    * about 10 different genes affect whether or not we we will become diabetic (so no, being overweight does *not* necessarily mean anyone will become diabetic).
    * if one of your parents has Type 2 diabetes, you have a 25% chance (statistically speaking) of becoming diabetic. If both your parents have Type 2 diabetes, the chances bump up to 75%.
    * Type 2 diabetes is a “lifestyle disease” in that the factors that lead someone to become overweight or obese (poor diet, lack of exercise) can also lead to diabetes. But, again, that does *not* mean that overweight = diabetic (correlation does not eqaul causation).
    *A diet high in high-GI carbs (not only sugar) will produce the insulin spikes that may, over time, lead to diabetes. Blaming sugar/carbs alone is simplistic beacause high-fat diets have also been linked to diabetes.
    * Science understands the carb-insulin link well, but doesn’t yet understand how a high-fat diet can lead to diabetes.
    * My mother is an interesting case because she has never had a weight problem and ate very little sugar or processed carbs. She did, however, eat a lot of potatoes (high GI), fried food, and full-fat cheese. Her doctors told her that, in her case, the potatoes and high-fat food were probably the culprit.
    * Exercise, both cardio and weight training, is important for regulating the insulin response.
    * Much of the medical industry and even some diabetes organisations are funded by Big Pharma – and Big Pharma can make more money by keeping diabetics sick than finding a cure for diabetes (even if a cure were possible).
    * As a corollary to the previous point, a lot of clap-trap is published about diabetes in the mainstream media.
    * So yeah, if someone is overweight or obese, has no genetic propensity to develop diabetes, and manages their blood sugar through a healthy diet and exercise, they will be unlikely to develop diabetes.

    Anyway, that’s my Cliff Notes version.

  8. On January 5th, 2011 at 3:20 pm Not Blue at All Says:

    Thank you for sharing this! The more info the better, I think. I cannot wait to tell my husband this stuff. I will try very hard not to say “neener-neener” ha-ha! =0)

  9. On January 5th, 2011 at 3:11 pm Susan Says:

    Living400lbs was posting at the same time as me, and put forward many of the same points that I did.

    I forgot about the ethnicity and age factors though, and I believe they are very relevant.

  10. On January 5th, 2011 at 4:00 pm Susan Says:

    No, don’t say “neener-neener” to your hubby – he sounds nice!

    Just adding that it’s a bit sad when a bunch of us laypeople seem to have a better grasp of the issues than the average family doctor.

  11. On January 6th, 2011 at 9:30 am Not Blue at All Says:

    He is nice and I wouldn’t neener him, honestly. In fact I forgot to bring this up last night. Oh well, plenty of time for me to get more informed before having the full discussion anyway. And yeah, it seems to be more so lately, at least in my social circle, we know more and ask more questions than MD’s know what to do with! Thank you!

  12. On January 5th, 2011 at 4:11 pm FW Says:

    Glenn Gaesser book “Big Fat Lies” talks about lifestyle versus weight when it comes to type 2 diabetes. From it I took that the majority of health professionals do not know why people with higher body weights develop T2 only that there is a relation to weight. Basically they don’t know if weight gain causes T2 or people who are predisposed to have T2 are also fat.

    Also he talks about a study where they took people of all different weight ranges with T2 and put them on low fat/ low sodium diets and many of the people didn’t loose weight but they did either stop being insulin dependent all together or at least lower their dependence on it. Weight loss was not the main goal for this study but to look at lifestyle factors instead. I believe the average amount of weight lost was 20 pounds and that was for people 220 and above.

    Anyway that has always stuck with me when people talk about diabetes and that it is more about lifestyle and less about weight. I think people just think that the amount of sugar a person ingests means that they will be diabetic because of how it has to do with blood sugar levels, which is not how it is developed but something that a person needs to control if they already have the disease.

  13. On January 6th, 2011 at 9:28 am Not Blue at All Says:

    You make a great point. I had heard of his book, maybe even seen it at the bookstore, but I haven’t read it. I think I might just see if my library has it. Thank you for this!

  14. On January 5th, 2011 at 4:25 pm Living400lbs Says:

    Thanks Susan. I’ve had a diabetes educator tell me that age is the diabetes risk factor that people ignore, because we can’t do much about it. (She later joked that there’s nothing wrong with outliving your pancreas….! 🙂

  15. On January 5th, 2011 at 4:28 pm Living400lbs Says:

    A few other related posts:

    http://living400lbs.wordpress.com/2010/03/16/why-paying-attention-to-weight-can-be-good/ – a relative discovered her “terrific” weight loss was diabetes.

    http://living400lbs.wordpress.com/2010/11/26/povertys-link-to-diabetes/ – Poverty is linked to diabetes too.

  16. On January 6th, 2011 at 9:27 am Not Blue at All Says:

    Wow! You are a wealth of information. Thank you so very much!

  17. On January 5th, 2011 at 6:02 pm Meowser Says:

    Does your hubs know that in 1997, they lowered the diagnostic criteria from a fasting glucose of 140 down to 126?

    http://www.aafp.org/afp/981015ap/mayfield.html

    Also, there’s a big difference between t2d that occurs in elderly populations and t2d in younger ones (the younger the age at diagnosis, the stronger the genetic link). The way Paul Ernsberger once put it is that “everyone will become diabetic if they live long enough.” But another way to put it is that now they look under every rock for it, whereas as recently as 25 years ago, nobody was ever tested unless dry gangrene had already set in.

    Also, they’ve made huge advances in cardiovascular medicine and oncology (cancer) and renal (kidney) and biliary (liver disease), and subsequently the death rates for these have dropped precipitously — and there have been far fewer advances in the area of pancreatic medicine. IOW, one of your essential internal organs has to crap out on you first, and if it’s not going to be your heart, brain, liver, or kidneys, that pretty much leaves your pancreas.

    In younger populations, the main precursors are first and second degree relatives with diabetes (this can trickier to figure out with the lower threshold for diagnosis), also conditions like PCOS (related to insulin resistance) and the use of certain medications like some atypical antipsychotics. But “precursor” =/= cause. Just like being fat is a potential precursor, but not a cause. Chances are, though, that if your doctors keep testing you and your FBS is not creeping up, your hubs can quit worrying already.

  18. On January 6th, 2011 at 9:26 am Not Blue at All Says:

    Thank you for this. I hadn’t realized that they lowered the diagnostic criteria in ’97. And nothing sounds scarier to me than “dry gangrene.” Yikes! But yeah, WTF?! on the pancreatic tip, eh? Get on that science dudes! Ha-ha! I am truly enjoying learning so much about this. Thanks again!

  19. On January 5th, 2011 at 7:16 pm El Says:

    I really think it has to be complicated, not so much about what people eat, probably more genetics, possibly even medications that people take , I was anorexic and weighing very little 93 lbs, with high blood sugars 190 fasting and for some reason they considered it ok, I guess because I was thin) and then after mostly recovering and getting to “normal ” weight 125 lbs for my height, my blood sugars were normal for a 6 years then still weighing the same I developed type two diabetes and although I’m a lot heavier now, I manage my blood sugars much more easily with exercise and one medication and still eat some carbs. Interestingly if I relapse with the anorexia, like I did this fall losing 35 lbs my blood sugars go very high up around 300. It’s been 14 years and I still have no negative effects from the diabetes, even though the doctor insisted I would by now, I’m fat now 180 lbs, not so large as I imagine myself to be, but bigger then I was. ( even with my well managed blood sugars ). my husband with regular check ups they test him regularly because his family has a history,(mother both grandparents) developed type 2 rather suddenly about 5 years ago and is on insulin, we ate about the same things exactly for the 20 years we’ve been married except when I wasn’t eating and he at first (before the insulin) had a very difficult time with maintenance of control so, I think even among people with the disease there is great variability in how it works. Both of us have family history and I am of an ethnic group that has a tendency to develop diabetes. one of my greatest trouble after diagnosis was fighting falling into disordered eating because I had to keep track of what carbs and fats were in foods.( I don’t really now, I just sort of know what is ok for me and test more often when I try new things, because my doctor says the ED will kill me a lot faster then diabetes will) Sorry for rambling ,anyhow I think there are many assumptions and the disease really needs to be studied much more because each family member we have who has it has very different ways it reacted to treatment and developed complications such as his grandmother didn’t bother to manage hers and lived till her late 80’s with no complications but did die from a fall due to osteoporosis.

  20. On January 6th, 2011 at 9:24 am Not Blue at All Says:

    Yes. I suppose the true myth is that there is one or even two way to get/have diabetes when the truth is that the variables are endless. Thank you for sharing your story. I actually love hearing about such long lasting marriages! <3

  21. On January 5th, 2011 at 8:44 pm vesta44 Says:

    My husband was diagnosed with type 2 at the age of 38. Both of his parents had type 2 diabetes, and so do 4 of his 6 brothers. Of the 8 men in his family, every one of them was in the Navy – several of them during wars. Stress can also be a factor in developing type 2 diabetes if the genetic link is there, and I can’t think of anything more stressful than being in the military during wartime.
    From what my husband has said of his military career (he served 20 years in the Navy), I gather that meals aren’t the best, especially when you’re out to sea for 6 months at a time (he told me that they ran out of food a couple of times, and lived on fig newtons and orange juice for almost a week one time, until they hit port and could get more provisions). So I would say that stress, a genetic predispostion, and not-so-healthy meals probably didn’t help the men in his family when it came to type 2 diabetes.

  22. On January 6th, 2011 at 8:57 am Not Blue at All Says:

    Wow! What a courageous husband you have. I’m in awe of people who can do those long sea voyages! Whew! Thank you for sharing this with me. Stress is such a tricky beast, isn’t it?

  23. On January 5th, 2011 at 11:09 pm Bri Says:

    Love this post (and many of the others you have written lately).

  24. On January 6th, 2011 at 8:55 am Not Blue at All Says:

    Wow, thanks Bri! That means a lot!

  25. On January 6th, 2011 at 10:37 am j. Says:

    Here’s the thing: During the initial conversation all you said was that it was impossible to eat your way to diabetes. I would like to clarify for myself that I thought you could. Of course I know part of it is genetics, but eating like crap does take a toll. It had nothing to do with being fat. My dad’s side of the family has a long history with it, and most of them are thin. Just wanted to clarify. I wish you would have spoke up more. It would have been interesting to jump down to our place and fire up the wi-fi and do a mass search!

  26. On January 6th, 2011 at 10:49 am Not Blue at All Says:

    I know, I know. But that’s why I wanted to know more. I saw that quote and was just floored, ya know?! Now? Now I’m full of knowledges! Ha-ha! <3 ya!

  27. On January 6th, 2011 at 10:42 am Psycho Sue Says:

    wouldn’t it be ironic if they somehow found out one day that people get diabetes from NOT EATING. I am fairly ignorant, but I do know that you should try and keep a fairly constant blood sugar level. People who starve themselves thin are letting their levels plummet all day long. I wonder if abusing that has a long term effect? If that was the case. People who ate more regularly, say every 3-4 hours are better off. Just wondering?

  28. On January 6th, 2011 at 10:49 am Not Blue at All Says:

    Interesting point. And I just don’t think that there’s been enough research yet. Here’s hoping more answers are in our future!

  29. On January 8th, 2011 at 6:21 am HAEScoach Says:

    Love your blog, the design is stunning (jealous)!

    I spent my time at uni researching insulin resistance/metabolic syndrome for my assignments and I have continued after uni. Basically I found there are a lot that doctors don’t understand metabolic syndrome with much of the research being fairly recent. The drug of choice is metformin and research shows that lifestyle changes get the same or better results. Also nutritional supplementation (quality) has also been shown to halt and even reverse metabolic syndrome. There is no one size fits all approach to who will and who won’t get diabetes. Essentially many more of us, fat and skinny and everything in between are showing signs of insulin resistance due to lifestyle (lifestyle meaning food, activity, mental state, enviromental chemicals etc). Genetics also does play a role and that is still being researched. Back when this term was first coined the link to weight was not used because it affected people of all weights. I think weight has become a recent addition to expand the Big Pharma’s potential market.
    Lastly losing weight will not alter the outcome if lifestyle choices are the cause and remain unchanged. I personally believe mood and emotions play a much larger role in our health than we realise.

  30. On January 8th, 2011 at 9:42 am Not Blue at All Says:

    Great info, thank you! I have to say that my eyes have been open thanks to all of the wonderful comments and links I’ve received from this post. Hopefully this information will spread so more can find out the truth. Thanks so much!

  31. On February 4th, 2011 at 4:03 am NotBlueAtAll » Blog Archive » It’s Everywhere!!! (TW For Fat Hate Refs) Says:

    […] sugar intake does not equal fat. In some it can and in others it absolutely does not! And diabetes? Don’t get me started on this again! (Great resources in comments on that post.) You cannot eat your way to […]

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