The problem with diabetes: it’s sneaky. The results of hyperglycemia are devastating, but it often takes years for them to manifest themselves.
My husband goes on weekly bike rides with his friends. After the ride, they always stop to have coffee in their favorite coffee shop.
“So, what do people usually order?” I inquired one day. “I just order an espresso, sometimes macchiato,” he replied. “But some of the guys order pastries with their coffee.” “So, you’re the only one with blood sugar issues?” I wondered. “I guess so,” he replied.
That weekend, as usual, he rode with his friends. As they were riding, he talked with one of them, and as often happens when middle aged people talk, the conversation turned to health topics.
It turned out that his friend has been diagnosed as pre-diabetic. He was told to eat less, exercise more, avoid sugar and white flour, and start taking metformin.
That’s the extent of the medical advice he received, and sadly it’s not unusual. This is the standard advice given to prediabetics by today’s mainstream medical community, and in fact this is unusually good advice (though woefully lacking), because at least he was told to minimize sugar and white flour. Many diabetics are not even told to do that.
So they finish the ride and head to the coffee shop. My husband orders his usual espresso, and his friend orders a grande latte with a croissant.
Diabetes is Sneaky
Why would an intelligent guy that knows he can’t handle a croissant order one anyway? Because unlike other medical conditions, diabetes is sneaky. It is an extremely serious disease, but its effects on the body are hidden for many years. This allows many people to continue as usual, ignoring what their high carb diet is doing to their bodies, until it’s too late.
For some people, impaired carb metabolism causes hypoglycemia episodes. I was one of these people, and I consider myself lucky, because hypoglycemia is extremely unpleasant, and it forced me to face my issues and find a solution to them.
The advice given to hypoglycemic people by the medical community is also lacking – they tell you to eat every 2 hours and never mention a low carb diet – but I felt so bad, that it made me do some very important research, and that’s how I realized what was going on and what I needed to do. Going on a low carb diet eliminated my hypoglycemia episodes.
But for most people, diabetes in its early stages doesn’t really cause any major symptoms. Maybe they are a bit tired after meals or foggy, maybe their eyes are occasionally a bit blurry. But for many, there are no major symptoms that would let them know about the destructive processes going on in their body.
What diabetes does to us
Meanwhile, the damages are being done. My husband’s friend likely walks around with consistently elevated insulin, and elevated blood glucose. Hyperglycemia damages our nerves and internal organs, ages us fast, and overtime causes serious problems including heart disease, kidney disease, vision issues including blindness, feet issues that can lead to amputations, and serious skin and gum infections.
I have a Facebook friend who was diagnosed with diabetes several years ago. She continued to eat a high carb diet, and now she is almost completely blind.
It was extremely difficult to see her Facebook posts over the years. “I’m the world’s worst diabetic. I just finished a bag of M&Ms” is one I particularly remember. It’s even more difficult now to watch her deteriorate. Were the M&Ms, bread and pasta worth losing her eyesight? I tried to gently intervene over the years, but to no avail. You can’t force people to help themselves – they need to want to do it.
How to become more aware of diabetes dangers
I believe that the moment someone is diagnosed with prediabetes, they must go on a low carb diet. Prediabetes is really just the early stage of diabetes. If the person won’t make a change, their dysfunction will become gradually worse and they WILL become diabetics.
So the correct strategy is to immediately go on a low carb diet and never look back.
Of course it’s not easy. Carbs are addictive. They have a very strong hold on us. But it IS possible to break the addiction.
If you’re ever tempted to eat high carb items, get a blood sugar monitor and check your blood sugar 2 hours after your high carb meal. Hopefully, the number you see (for my prediabetic mom it was 189 after 2 slices of bread) will convince you that high carb food is just not worth it.
Regularly measuring your blood sugar, even if you’re “just” a prediabetic, is in fact the best way to make the effects of a high carb diet visible.
The next time you’re tempted by a high carb food, ask yourself, what’s more important? Your eyesight, or having cake with your coffee?