Monthly Archives: September 2014

Tooth decay on the outside – what on earth is happening on the inside?

sugar writingWhen I was a child tooth decay wasn’t unusual – but then I was born in an age when children’s toothpastes contained sugar at worst, and no fluoride at best.

By contrast, my step-children – now in their 30s – benefited from improved dental care and products, and consequently have a beautiful set of decay-free gnashers.

According to the adverts today, toothpastes continually improve and evolve to prevent decay, plaque, gum disease…

…so why are children below the age of 5 now suffering from tooth decay again? And this despite advanced toothpastes?

SUGAR. Sugar is the one thing being clearly identified as the problem.  Sugar in baby bottles. Sugar in toddlers’ sipping cups. Sugary drinks. Sugary foods. Sweets.

Tooth decay is a clear outer sign of the damage that sugar causes. But the one thing I haven’t yet heard discussed as part of this issue is the damage that simply has to be being done on the insides. What kind of inner-health legacy are we leaving to these children?

One quarter of 5 year olds have tooth decay? How on earth will we cope if this translates into one quarter of adults with type 2 diabetes in the future?

Tell me what do you think needs to happen to halt this potential burgeoning health crisis?

“Type 2 Diabetes is a National Emergency…”

…says Diabetes UK this morning.  According to their own new research, more than 700 people a day are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in the UK: actually 738. Type 2 diabetes now accounts for 96 per cent of new cases of diabetes (30 people are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes every day).

That’s a whopping 280,000 people a year diagnosed with diabetes, the equivalent of the population of Newcastle. This is much higher than previously thought and Diabetes UK say this poses serious implications for the nation’s health.

With 3.8 million people in the UK now having the condition and with around 35 per cent of the population – more than 18 million people – with pre-diabetes, the charity is calling for more focus on prevention.

Agreed!

Hands with red frame reaches out from heap of papersBut how? Can it be as simple as missing TV for one day per. week, as recommended by NICE this week? Well perhaps not! And it’s probably not as simple as simply telling people what to eat and what not to eat – but to educate people in WHY.  Why certain foods help and why certain foods harm.  Why what is right for one person is not the same as for the next.

One of my clients was astounded this week when we talked about body composition – WHY most diets cause the body to lose large amounts of lean tissue instead of body fat; WHY it’s important to retain that lean tissue; WHY it’s so difficult to regain lean tissue when it’s been lost; WHY body composition is linked to health and life span…

Tackling type 2 diabetes is an emergency – but for the best results corners can’t be cut.  Backing up recommendations with plenty of information, guidance and support and seeing everyone as an individual is crucial.

If you want the WHYs as well as the most effective WHATs available – get in touch!

Regulate the food industry?

regulationI am reading with interest an article that suggests that Type 2 Diabetes can be halted if we regulate the food industry in the same way we regulate the tobacco industry.  That’s a very bold claim.  

On the one hand I think it’s true that tackling corruption in our food industry will go a long way to helping – at least finally exposing both the harm that so many manufactured food products do to our health, and the cynically flawed messages about healthy eating that the same industry expounds. On the other hand, tobacco regulation hasn’t (yet?) stamped out smoking, hasn’t prevented many millions still being made in tobacco profits, and hasn’t stamped out smoking-related illnesses.

But even if Type 2 Diabetes isn’t actually halted by such regulation, it may well be reduced significantly. Still a significant improvement!

I especially noticed this paragraph:

Larry Cohen, of the Prevention Institute, an institution that aims to prevent chronic diseases, states: “We cannot negotiate with them; we don’t want to let them look good by making it appear as though they are trying to work things out with us. Their primary goal is to make money and if they do that by selling unhealthy products, we need to make it very clear that that is not acceptable.” Mr Cohen’s views on the situation directly oppose the UK government’s approach which has welcomed processed food companies to influence food regulation policy.

For the record, it isn’t just Larry Cohen’s view that directly opposes the UK Government’s approach.  For one there’s mine! And for another there is the British Medical Association, as discussed in another article. That the UK Government’s approach is failing is clearly evident in the facts:

  • Type 2 Diabetes is still on the rise.
  • Obesity is still on the rise.
  • Food industry advertising continues apace, to relying on discredited messages: here’s a good summary by the BBC.
  • Think how many new “healthy low-fat” products have been launched since Harvard School of Public Health declared in 2012 “it’s time to end the low-fat myth!”

The food industry is continuing demonstrably to progress its mission to make as many millions as possible by continuing to promote unhealthy products and messages.  Mr. Cohen speaks the truth.

“So who is Larry Cohen?”, I wanted to know…and then I found the website for the American Prevention Institute. What a laudable organisation this appears to be – we need a UK equivalent!  Mr. Cohen, if you are reading this, please could we have a chat about bringing more of your good work to the UK?  

Does insulin make you fat?

Insulin makes you fat?  It’s an issue covered in an article that I read with great interest this morning.  A recent study suggests that having high levels of insulin in your body will cause you to store body fat.  The question, therefore, is whether insulin is an appropriate treatment for someone with Type 2 diabetes if they are already overweight or obese?

It’s a question that I have posed as part of the RebalanceDiabetes programme for some time.  But in my mind it certainly doesn’t stop with people with Type 2.  What about Type 1s too?  

insulin 2All too often someone with Type 1 is taught to count carbs and compensate for them with insulin, without any discussion about the appropriateness of eating those carbs in the first place. This is no different from someone with a working pancreas, who consumes too many carbs, secretes insulin to deal with that, and ends up overweight or obese…

So is the excess fat a result of the carbs, a sedentary lifestyle or the insulin itself?  Well it’s certainly true that when someone with Type 1 has been using insulin for a few years weight gain is a common ‘side-effect’.  Several of my own Type 1 clients have referred themselves to RebalanceDiabetes to shed the extra pounds because they know that despite maintaining the same diet the pounds have crept on since they introduced insulin into their daily regime.

In clinical trials, it’s quite normal to find differing views.  Where insulin is concerned some trials from about 2006-7 associate insulin with having an anti-inflammatory effect on the body.  Recent reports, however, claim that HIGH levels of insulin are associated with causing inflammation in the body.  Well, if these later views are shown to be correct then they would certainly support that insulin can make you fat, because obesity is increasingly seen as an inflammatory condition – along with Type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance and heart disease.

There is a gathering body of evidence that a high level of insulin is linked with inflammation and weight gain, and this issue has been reported also earlier this year.  So what to do?  Well, as in the old adage – better safe than sorry!  By eating to minimise the need for insulin you’ll be keeping yourself safe – safe from inflammation, from increased insulin resistance, obesity etc.  I’ll be very happy to show you how!