I read an article a few days ago that talked about East Africa and their health problems. Surprisingly, out of a list of 9, only 2 were dietary-related (anemia and malnutrition). Now, the ‘Western Diet’ – which is what we eat in Canada, USA, Australia, UK, and other first-world countries – seems to have quite a bit more of an impact. Out of 6 health problems here, 4 of them I believe are dietary related (cancer, diabetes, obesity, and mental diseases).
I found this interesting, and did a bit of research about the East African Diet. They grow all their fruits and vegetables, and ‘live off the land’. They also eat milk, meat, and blood. These tribes don’t have chips, chocolate, deserts, fast food, processed food… they don’t buy things out of boxes and bags. They find and grow their own produce and animals – they don’t have major industries doing it for them. They live on one grain – teff.

Now, the ‘Western Diet’ is much different. We buy unrefrigerated food off the shelves – and it lasts for months, years (which raises the question, “why?”). We snack and watch movies during the weekends. We sit in front of TV’s and computers for entertainment for hours at a time.

Now, why does it not surprise me after hearing that, that we are obese and overrun with cancer, diabetes, etc.? Why does that not surprise me?

 Yesterday I researched what causes type 2 diabetes. The answer was what what I was starting to suspect it would to be – processed foods and sugars.

This is how it works:
1. You eat heavy meals with lots of bad and refined carbohydrates and sugars.
2. You eat more heavy meals with lots of bad and refined carbs and sugars.
3. You eat heavier meals more often with lots of bad and refined carbs and sugars.
4. While you are doing this, you watch TV for hours, and
5.  You spend less than a half-hour working out.

Making sense so far?
Lets try going deeper.

(Even though there could be sharks in the water, you don’t pretend they’re not there and continue to swim… you stay away from them!)

1. You eat heavy meals with lots of sugars and bad carbohydrates (don’t worry, I won’t say that again). Now, your liver converts carbs and sugars into energy. When you have a lot of them at one sitting, your liver may get full, so your pancreas releases a (good) hormone called insulin into your bloodstream. This makes your blood cells store the fats and sugars so that you can use them later on; when your liver is done converting the sugars, you burn off the energy from the conversion, and there is room to use the elements that were stored in your cells.
2. Now, if you continue to eat more heavy meals with lots of bad carbs (not all carbs are bad – and I’ll research it later and post on it) and not burn energy, your liver is often full, and the pancreas needs to release insulin often to store the excess fats and sugars.
Lets stop here and use an analogy. Your liver is the pump/filter. The water (food) goes in, it pumps it out cleaner. The clean water is used to make steam to power ‘something’. The pump is pumping water by the gallon, but the ‘something’ is using it by the ounce. Now, the pump can’t stop, because the water keeps coming in. So a tube is attached to the pump, and sends the extra water to buckets. Eventually, the buckets will be full. But! If the buckets grow, they can hold more water! So the buckets get bigger to hold more water.

Does this make any sense? The body can be confusing.

Now, the buckets are your cells. The tubes are the insulin. The water is the food. The steam is the energy that the food is converted into. The ‘something’ is you.

This is the way it works (in simple terms). The liver is full, so the insulin takes the excess fats and sugars and gives it to the cells in your body. If the liver continues to be full, the insulin levels stay high in order to continue sending it to your cells. When the insulin levels stay high, your body becomes resistant to the insulin. This insulin resistance is the cause of type II diabetes.

It seems like the major key to not developing diabetes would be :
1. Don’t eat until you are full, eat until you are not hungry.
2. Don’t eat processed foods, make it yourself.
3. Treat treats as treats. Don’t have junk food regularly. This includes candy, gum, chocolate, pop, and fast food.
4. Exercise for 30 minutes a day at least, even if this just taking a brisk walk.
5. Eat regularly, with proper proportions.

Sweets, processed foods, and ‘refined’ carbohydrates are the ones I was talking about above. I wasn’t saying throw out the fruits and veggies. Any grain or sugar that has gone through a whitening process is refined. Processed foods range everywhere from cheese to crackers to chips.

There is one exception to the rules of don’t snack and don’t regularly dessert. It is, “Only on special occasions”.