Some of you know that I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes about 5 weeks ago. I had a scare when the doctor told me my blood sugar was at an all time high of 11. The normal range is between 4-7. I immediately got on Metformin medication to help me process insulin and began to cut out some of my sugary snacks and soda pops like Coca-Cola. My doctor told me I could drink diet soda but I cannot stand the diet sweeteners. Besides that I've heard for a long time about the dangers of diet sweeteners.
Dr. Janet Hull has this to say about the dangers of one common diet sweetener, Aspartame.
The dangers of aspartame poisoning have been a well-guarded secret since the 1980s. The research and history of aspartame is conclusive as a cause of illness and toxic reactions in the human body. Aspartame is a dangerous chemical food additive, and its use during pregnancy and by children is one of the greatest modern tragedies of all.
Why haven't you heard about this before? Partly because the diet industry is worth trillions of American dollars to corporations, and they want to protect their profits by keeping the truth behind aspartame's dangers hidden from the public. When NutraSweet® was introduced for the 'second' time in 1981, a diet craze revolutionized America's eating protocols and a well-oiled money machine was set into motion changing modern lifestyles. After more than twenty years of aspartame use, the number of its victims is rapidly piling up, and people are figuring out for themselves that aspartame is at the root of their health problems. Patients are teaching their doctors about this nutritional peril, and they are healing themselves with little to no support from traditional medicine.You can read more about aspartame and it's effects on the body on Dr. Hull's website here. You can also read about all the other sweeteners here. There is also a good Australian summary about diet sweeteners and other food additives here. The Australian page made me realize that there is a lot of hidden aspartame in foods we consider healthy. I will have to investigate this further in relation to my own diet. If any of you are interested in how aspartame became legal if it is so bad for you, you can read a time line here.
Anyway, I digress, my issue is not really that I add sugar to my foods. For example, I do not add sugar to my cereal unless it is slow cooked porridge or cream of wheat, nor do I add sugar or honey to tea or coffee. I also don't add sugar to fruit like freshly cut strawberries even though most strawberries in the store really have little sweetness due to forced growth and shipping before they are ripened. However, I still had sugar in my diet where it has been added to foods like:
- regular soda pop, mostly coca cola and ready sweetened drinks
- ice cream
- snacks like ready made cakes, cookies and other baked goods
- canned foods like beans
- ketchup and other condiments.
Despite all these changes I had gained quite a lot of weight since the fall due to previous illnesses/disabilities and an inability to move. I was also napping very frequently and for lengthy periods of time as I simply had no energy. I was extremely fatigued all the time and more than that I felt exceedingly unwell. I chalked it up to numerous health problems which I was already dealing with. In desperation I got onto some herbal tinctures made up for me by a naturopathic doctor at the urging of a friend of mine. While these tinctures did work in terms of helping me feel better and less inclined to napping, I was still suffering. Now I am on the Metformin, exercising regularly (it helps that I don't need to nap every day, though some days are better than other days) and still making adjustments to the diet.
For the first two weeks after my diagnosis, I was afraid to eat anything. For the next few weeks, I ate whatever was available and not always what was the healthiest. I did try very hard (and mostly succeeded) at not drinking coca cola or eating snack foods, sweet or otherwise. I also cut out Creamo from my coffee. I've mostly stopped drinking coffee as a result or use whitener though if I look up the ingredients in that, I may have to cut it out as well. I have been drinking more milk. I use 1% milk and have been drinking that and using it for my cereals for some years now. I have also been making my own ice tea drinks using real tea bags and sliced lemons mixed with a small bit of ice tea mix. I tend to like my drinks less sweet side so you can imagine how surprised I was when I learned that I had been drinking coca cola or equivalent soda pop, and that each can has anywhere from 10-12 teaspoons of sugar in it! In addition to the dietary changes I started with an exercise class and swimming lessons as well as more walking. I would not be able to add this physical activity to my weekly routine if this were last Fall so I am thankful I can do it now.
Yesterday on American television, two shows: The Drs. and Oprah with guest Dr. Oz talked about the epidemic of diabetes in America.
The 2009 estimated population in the USA is just under 310 million people. There are 24 million diabetics in America and 57 million pre-diabetics. Dr. Oz said that if the rate of diabetes in USA continues as it is now, it will bankrupt the American medical system. That's right! Bankrupt the system. That is a scary proposition. Especially since millions more American people are supposed to benefit from recent changes to their health care system. Doctors there also estimate that about 6 million people are walking around in USA who have diabetes but haven't yet been diagnosed. I think I got that number right, but you will hear it by clicking on the Oprah link above and listening to Dr. Oz.
Canada's estimated population for 2010 is just over 34 million people. I also read today that 1 out of every 10 Canadian people have been diagnosed with diabetes. That is a full 10 percent of us. I wonder how many are walking around without knowing they have this disease which has been dubbed the "silent killer"? The good news is that 90% of diabetes is preventable and reversible.
I didn't realize until I got a diagnosis of diabetes just how much there was to learn about coping with and managing the disease. Part of that is monitoring your blood sugar levels and you do that with a glucose monitor. I got mine today and measured my blood sugar with the assistance of the pharmacist at my doctor's office. It was a 6! That is fully 5 points less than it was a month ago and is now in the normal range.The pharmacist and student pharmacist were very happy and impressed.
If you would like to learn more about diabetes, please watch the videos on the links for The Drs. and Oprah above.
You can also read more
in Canada here.
in USA here.
in Australia here.
in South Africa here.
in Tanzania here.
in Kenya here.
in Norway here.
other EU Nations here.