With millions of people suffering, and millions more thought to be at risk, do we know the cause?
Type 2 diabetes affects 29 million Americans or nearly 10% of the population. Another 84 million people, or 33.9% population, are thought to be pre-diabetic. For adults of 65, as many as 48% of adults are thought to be pre-diabetic.
These looming statistics represent an enormous health problem in The United States. Scarier still, type 2 diabetes––once known as adult-onset diabetes––is not just relegated to adults anymore. Increasingly, children are being diagnosed as diabetic. This––according to many practitioners––is new territory; we simply do not know what the long-term consequences are for treating children with diabetes as they grow into adults.
Diabetes occurs when blood sugar is too high and is not well-controlled by the body’s normal mechanisms for converting sugar into energy. Sometimes, the pancreas does not produce enough insulin––a hormone that ushers sugar in the blood (glucose) into the cells so it can be processed into energy––or our cells are resistant to the insulin our pancreas produces.
We are told there are a variety of factors at play when it comes to the risk of developing diabetes. We are told that factors such as carrying too much weight can play a role, but largely we are told that genetics is the main risk factor for developing diabetes. Diet is largely not implicated by mainstream practitioners when it comes to diabetes; they’ll often tell you to cut our refined sugar to some degree, but significant dietary change is not usually strongly recommended.
This is in spite of the fact that Americans consume vast amounts of sugar as part of their regular diet. Sugar––and refined carbohydrates that convert quickly to sugar––make up an enormous part of the standard American diet. These ingredients are high in many of the fast foods and convince foods people regularly eat, not to mention in bread, pasta, noodles, and potatoes that also comprise a significant part of what many people eat on a daily basis.
Sugar consumption and consumption of refined carbohydrates are certainly implicated in diabetes. But is there another, more insidious component to our food that might be playing a role in the prevalence of diabetes?
Doug Kaufmann talks often about how he learned that researchers inject a mycotoxin––a fungus-derived poison––into mice in order to induce diabetes.
Mycotoxins, however, are not just found in the lab. The scary part is, they can be found in many of the foods we eat on a daily basis. Foods like corn, wheat, sugar, and soy are among the foods most likely to be contaminated with mycotoxins. Oversight bodies have placed limits on the number of mycotoxins allowable in food, but these poisons are inherent in many of the foods people eat every day. Interestingly, many of the foods thought to play a role in the prevalence of diabetes contain these very ingredients, and are likely at risk for subsequent mycotoxin contamination, too.
Avoiding mycotoxins is a key part of the Kaufmann Diet, along with avoiding foods high in sugar. While the goal of the Kaufmann Diet is to eliminate pathogenic fungi and protect against mycotoxins, it is also a diet that may be beneficial for people concerned about type 2 diabetes.
Certainly, you should never use diet in lieu of your doctor’s advice or the medicines you have been prescribed, but the fact is that diet can play a profound role in type 2 diabetes. And while much of the research into diabetes goes into how to treat it, it seems at least one potential cause has largely been overlooked.