Type 2 diabetes occurs in approximately 3 to 5 percent of Americans under fifty years of age and increases to 10 to 15 percent in people over fifty. More than 90 percent of diabetics in the United States are type 2 diabetics. Sometimes called adult-onset diabetes, this form of diabetes occurs most often in people who are overweight and who do not exercise sufficiently. The explosion in the occurrence of diabetes in the last twenty-five years in America parallels the skyrocketing number of overweight people.
Type 2 diabetes almost never occurs in people who eat healthy, exercise regularly, and have a low body fat percent. The disease hardly existed in prior centuries when food was not so abundant or when high-calorie, low-nutrient food was not available. It is also more common in people of Native American, Hispanic, Indian, and African-American descent, though no background is immune to the effects of a diabetes-inducing diet. Worldwide, diabetes is exploding as populations in all corners of the globe are being exposed to processed foods for the first time in human history. The development and abundance of processed foods in the world’s food supply combined with more sedentary jobs has created an explosion of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Most countries have attempted to solve this problem with medications for diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Invasive medical procedures and surgeries are used at a substantial expense but without significant life span enhancements or benefits to society.
In the United States, being overweight is the norm, and almost all adults eventually take prescribed medications for their heart, diabetes, cholesterol, or blood pressure. In fact, 51 percent of those over the age of 65 take five or more prescription drugs a day! The number of obese Americans is higher than the number of those who smoke, use illegal drugs, or suffer from other physical ailments. Obesity is a major risk factor associated with highly prevalent serious diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. It is what we eat that creates these diseases and fuels out-of-control medical costs.
Even five extra pounds on a normal body frame can lead to diabetes.
Research shows that excess body fat is the most significant cause of type 2 diabetes. Through working with thousands of patients, I have observed with consistency that losing body fat in conjunction with maintaining high levels of micronutrients in the body’s tissues will reduce the need for medications and, in most cases, reverse type 2 diabetes for good. As we’ll explore in detail throughout this book, scientific studies show it is not just the weight loss but also the cell’s exposure to a favorable micronutrient environment that enable recovery. Many of my patients recover from their diabetes before most of their weight has been lost. The cells become more responsive to insulin when the body is not burdened with excess fat, and the high level of micronutrients in the tissues enables the beta cells that have pooped out from struggling to produce extra high levels of insulin for years to reclaim lost function.
Obesity Trends Among U.S. Adults
Because of its slow onset and the fact that it can usually be controlled with diet, type 2 is considered a milder form of diabetes, sometimes developing over the course of several years. The consequences of uncontrolled and untreated type 2 diabetes, however, are just as serious as those for type 1. Heart attacks, infections, amputations, blindness, and strokes are possible, but unlike type 1, type 2 diabetics can almost all come off insulin and other medications if they take off the excess weight.
Prevalence of Diabetes Worldwide
Diabetes isn’t just about elevated blood sugar levels—which pose immediate threats including blurred vision, drowsiness, confusion, and vomiting—it’s about every other long-term condition and complication it creates as well. It can take a severe toll on the health of a diabetic—increasing not only the risk of heart attacks and strokes but also of depression and cancer.