The World’s Most Significant Health Problems

Let’s talk about the world’s most significant health problems—there are two of them—overweight and Type 2 diabetes.

They are closely related.

I’m a Type 1 diabetic; however, Type 2 is different from Type 1. It’s a severe disease—but it is solvable, reversible, controllable, and curable. That’s what I’m talking about: how you can lose weight and how you can control Type 2 diabetes.

For example, throughout America, 30% of Americans are obese; 37% are overweight; 32% are average weight; then, there’s 1% underweight.  So you can see the problem we have with being overweight.

The most common causes of Type 2 diabetes are a bad eating history, a sedentary lifestyle, and excess weight. And the first two are significant contributors to the third one. So we’re going to talk about the solutions to Type 2 diabetes and at the same time talk about losing weight. And how to do it in a simple, sensible solution without trying to starve yourself.

The first thing I want to explain is what happens when a non-diabetic eats a meal? Let’s say a non-diabetic eats a breakfast made up of eggs, some bacon, some potatoes, and maybe some toast. All of those things turn to some amount of glucose and go into your bloodstream as glucose. When I say glucose, I really mean sugar, but it’s called glucose when it’s in your bloodstream, and those terms are used interchangeably.

So when a non-diabetic eats a meal, it turns into some amount of glucose in that person’s bloodstream. The pancreas gets a message from the brain. It says you know there’s glucose in our bloodstream. Your pancreas needs to produce some insulin to let that glucose get out of the bloodstream and into cells for energy and the liver for storage, and around your body as fat.

The pancreas produces precisely the right amount of insulin. It’s just like magic, it’s like heating your house with a thermostat only a lot more complicated, but it produces just the right amount of insulin for you to use for activity, for energy, and to go to your liver as glycogen, and to go around your body as fat.

 That’s why a non-diabetic’s blood sugar always remains normal.

Now, what happens when a Type 1 diabetic like myself eats the same meal? It turns into precisely the same amount of glucose that it would for anybody else my size, and my pancreas gets a message that says you need to produce some insulin to allow your body to use this food. My pancreas says, sorry, I don’t do that anymore. I quit doing that 54 years ago. If you want any glucose, you have to do it yourself. (shows insulin pump from pocket) And that’s precisely why I have an insulin pump. I do it myself.

But I’ve given myself more than 80,000 blood tests after every food that I’ve eaten over the last 35 years, and I know what every food does.

So now let’s look at the important one. What happens when a person with type 2 diabetes eats the same meal? Or a pre-diabetic, or a borderline diabetic eat the same meal as the first two? Here’s what happens, and this is so important to understand. That meal turns to the same amount of glucose as it does for other people. The pancreas then gets a message that says you need to produce some insulin so the body can use that food. The pancreas says, you know I’ll try, but you’ve been asking me to work too hard for too long, and I may not be able to produce enough insulin to bring your blood sugar down to normal. And so what happens when you’re a pre-diabetic, borderline diabetic, or a person with type 2 diabetes? Your pancreas can’t bring your blood sugar back down to normal. And so your blood sugar stays higher. And it’s that more elevated blood sugar causes all kinds of complications and all kinds of problems.

Now here are the complications of both Type 1 and Type 2. Still, the Type 2 complications are a lot more serious quicker. When people get Type 2 diabetes, they already have problems. They already have some bad habits and need to change them.

Here’s what you can expect if you have Type 2 diabetes and don’t get it under control. The dangers are: kidney failure, heart problems, amputations, vision problems, and cardiovascular problems resulting in a much shorter life. So those problems are serious. They’re very serious.

Which is more common in America, Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes? It’s Type 2 diabetes that’s more common by a factor of almost ten to one. It’s true in America and around the world.

Let me explain the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 very briefly by a short parable.

Let’s say there’s two diabetics trapped together on a desert island. When they got to the desert island, the Type 2 diabetic doesn’t have his pills; the Type 1 diabetic doesn’t have insulin.

There’s drinkable water, catchable fish, edible plants, and a way to make fire on this desert island. With all of that, within a month, the Type 1 diabetic would be dead—the Type 2 diabetic would be cured.

That’s an important distinction to make between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. But it is so essential that pre-diabetic people, borderline diabetic, or Type 2 diabetics learn how to lower their blood sugars. By doing that, they will lose weight.

You’ve gotten this advice, and maybe your doctors have given this advice to you, perhaps you’ve read about it, maybe other people have said you’ve got to lose weight to lower your blood sugars. And that’s not incorrect, but it’s backward. Here’s what it should say: you need to lower your blood sugars, and you will lose weight. So whatever I’m talking to you today about reducing blood sugars, what that means, is you’re going to lose weight due to lowering your blood sugars.

How do you lower your blood sugar? You need to do two things: eat more of the low blood sugar-creating foods, the foods that don’t make high blood sugar, and eat less of those foods that create high blood sugar. It’s just that simple.

But that’s just 80% of it. And that’s a big part of it. So what’s the other 20%? The other 20% is you need to increase your activity level. And understand that I’m not saying exercise level, I’m not saying go out and start running, I’m not saying that you have to go to the gym and lift weights and really kill yourself. I’m saying activity level. You need to move more.

Now, how can I, as a Type 1 diabetic, know what Type 2 diabetics should eat? It’s simple. I’ve given myself more than 60,000 blood sugar tests after almost every meal and every snack I’ve eaten for the past 30 years. That tells me what every food does to blood sugar and, therefore, weight. And in addition to that, my insulin pump tells me. If I use an average of 30 units of insulin a day for a week, I’ll maintain my weight. If I use only 25 units of insulin a day for a week, I’ll lose weight. If I use 35 units of insulin a day, I’ll gain more weight for a week. So weight gain is a direct result of how much insulin you use. And how do you control the insulin? You eat less glucose-creating foods.

But is the impact the same for everybody? Not exactly. It is generally the same, and that’s the very reason doctors can say don’t eat sweets. It makes you get fat because it makes everybody get fat. It impacts everybody the same way. We all burn it a little bit differently, but it affects everybody the same way. The only difference being size. If a 200-pound man were to eat a certain amount of glucose, it would only raise their blood sugar half as much as a 100-pound woman eating that same amount of glucose. But the 100-pound woman is not likely to eat as much as the 200-pound man did. And it’s very simple. It’s very similar to iced tea. You put a teaspoon of sugar in a glass of iced tea, and then you put that same teaspoon of sugar in half a glass of iced tea; half glass is going to be sweeter. So that’s where the difference in size makes a difference.

If you’ve been diagnosed as a Type 2 diabetic or pre-diabetic or borderline diabetic, don’t look at it as a sentence to a shorter life. Look at it as an opportunity to have a longer, healthier life.

You don’t have to be perfect.

You just have to be good.

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