Type 2 diabetes is a topic that needs to be discussed and action taken, until we reverse the current epidemic of massive proportion. November is National Diabetes Month so we are using this opportunity to focus on ways of reducing the risk of getting this disease (hint: diet plays a major role) while discussing how our current healthcare system is focused on prescription rather than addressing the root of the problem. This is a heavy topic, but a pressing one given the state of the nation’s health.
Diabetes by the Numbers
According to the CDC, more than 30 million Americans have diabetes (95% being type 2) and 1 in 3 people or 86 million adults have pre-diabetes. These numbers keep growing every year, creating a greater and alarming economic and social burden. In 2016, the global cost of diabetes was $825 billion per year, with the US alone accounting for $322 bn! That was not a typo. We are spending hundreds of billions of dollars treating and managing the disease and resulting complications every year. Believe it or not, this cost doesn’t take into account productivity costs, or the number of work days lost because those with diabetes are missing work due to health complications.
Why are we so frustrated?
Type 2 diabetes is largely preventable through diet and other lifestyle changes. While genes do play a factor in susceptibility, 9 out of 10 cases could be prevented. Only 1% of the US healthcare annual budget is spent on prevention, and that includes screenings, mammograms etc. Prevention is key yet plays such a negligible part in today’s healthcare system. Diet is the dominant factor in diabetes prevention. Several studies exist linking the western diet — a diet high in red meat, high-fat dairy, refined grains and sugar— to an increased chance of developing type 2 diabetes, as well as other chronic diseases. In comparison, there are many studies showing that plant-based diets, especially those rich in unrefined carbohydrates, fiber and plant-based protein are effective at preventing and managing type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately today’s modern diet, high in added sugar, refined grains, processed meats and fried foods, while being stripped of natural fiber is the major culprit contributing to the diabetes epidemic.
What’s happening now?
Our current healthcare system is designed around disease management through prescription drugs, rather than prevention. While a number of prescribed diabetes drugs, for example metformin, are effective in reducing the production of glucose in the liver and therefore lowering blood sugar levels, they fail to address the primary driver of the disease – diet! We have a right to good health. The focus should be on reversal and prevention which is possible – despite what some healthcare professionals might tell us – rather than management.
We have the power
Preventing and reversing the type 2 diabetes epidemic necessitates action from trailblazing doctors, dietitians, companies and individuals. The power is in our hands. At Euphebe, every month we see how a whole food, plant-based diet reverses pre-diabetes. It’s not uncommon to have pre-diabetics drop 0.6 hgA1C points in 28-days taking them below the pre-diabetes threshold. It is also not uncommon to see a 2.0 pt. hgA1C drop in one month and then continue to fall further, in those that have type 2 diabetes. Recently, we had a client reverse her type 2 diabetes in less than 3 months, with starting hgA1C fall from 8.9 to 5.8. She couldn’t believe it. Our mission at Euphebe is to put the power back into our hands. We can restore our health and well-being. We believe that Euphebe’s easy way to get into a whole food, plant-based lifestyle is the cheapest health insurance around.