Diabesity is now believed to be an autoimmune, inflammatory disorder, with underlying contributing mechanisms such as inflammation, genetics, environmental triggers and leaky gut.
Three dietary toxin triggers
Three major dietary toxins that trigger diabesity include:
- Cereal grains (particularly refined flour)
- Omega-6 industrial seed oils (corn, cottonseed, safflower, soybean and canola etc.)
- Fructose (in particular high-fructose corn syrup)
At its most basic, a toxin is something capable of causing disease or damaging tissue on entry to your body. Toxins are not just chemicals like pesticides or heavy metals, anything in excess – even water – can be toxic at high doses.
In the book “Perfect Health Diet”, the authors apply the economic principle of declining marginal benefits to toxins. This means that when a toxin is first ingested it has low toxicity. Each subsequent exposure continues to increase the toxicity and the toxin becomes increasingly poisonous.
When these dietary toxins are eaten in excessive quantities, the risk of diabesity rises significantly, particularly when coupled with genes that cause predisposition to diabetes and obesity.
The primary effect toxins have on your body is inflammation, a potential risk factor for both diabetes and obesity.
Cereal grains: are they really a health food?
The major cereal grains – wheat, corn, rice, barley, oats, rye and millet – have become the staple crops of the modern human diet. They’ve also been promoted by Heart and Diabetes Associations as part of a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet. Whole grains are widely accepted as being healthy.
Most animals, including our closest relative (the chimpanzee) aren’t adapted to eating even small portions of cereal grains. Humans have only been eating them for 10,000 years. Why? Plants like cereal grains are always competing against predators (like us) for survival. Unlike animals, plants can’t run away from us when we decide to eat them. They had to evolve other mechanisms for protecting themselves. These include:
- producing toxins that damage the lining of the gut
- producing toxins that bind essential minerals, making them unabsorbable
- producing toxins that inhibit digestion and absorption of other essential nutrients, including protein
One of these toxic compounds is the protein gluten, which is present in wheat and many of the other most commonly eaten cereal grains. Gluten triggers a measurable immune response and gut inflammation in over 80% of the population. It damages the intestine and makes it leaky, one of the major predisposing factors for diabetes and obesity.
Industrial seed oils
Industrial seed oils have not been a part of the human diet until relatively recently, when they started to be promoted as a “heart-healthy” alternative to saturated fat. This was a ‘wrong turn’ for our health…
Seed oil consumption has risen dramatically over the past several decades, but these oils are extremely harmful when consumed in excess, as they have been proven to play a significant role in the current obesity epidemic. Omega 6 seed oils have also been shown to cause inflammation, insulin resistance and impaired leptin signalling, all of which directly contribute to diabetes. These oils have also been shown to interfere with thyroid function, resulting in a less efficient metabolism.
Fructose: the sweetest way to get diabesity
White table sugar is composed of two sugars: glucose and fructose. Glucose is an important nutrient in our bodies and is healthy, as long as it’s consumed in moderation. Fructose is a different story.
Fructose is found primarily in high sugar fruits and vegetables, and sweeteners like sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. Unlike glucose, which is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and taken up by the cells, fructose is taken directly to the liver where it is converted to fat. Excess fructose consumption causes a condition called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which is directly linked to both diabetes and obesity.
A toxin-free diet prevents and even reverses diabetes
Diabesity is either non-existent or extremely rare in hunter-gatherer cultures that don’t consume these toxic foods. A study in 2009 compared a paleolithic diet with a conventional low-fat “diabetes diet”. Participants in the paleolithic group had:
- Reduced HbA1c more than those on the diabetes diet (a measure of average blood glucose)
- Reduced weight, BMI and waist circumference more than those on the diabetes diet
- Lower blood pressure than those on the diabetes diet
- Lower triglycerides those on than the diabetes diet
- Higher HDL than those on the diabetes diet
The earlier you remove these toxins from your diet, the better the chance you have of preventing and even reversing diabesity.
Stay tuned for more to come…
Check out the Diabesity story so far and catch up on each instalment below
See also Part 1 of our series The Modern Day Health Epidemic that you should know about
See also Part 2 of our series Diabesity: Myths that kep you sick
See also Part 3 of our series Diabesity and Inflammation
See also Part 4 of our series Diabesity: How come I’ve got Type 2 Diabetes? I’m not fat!!!
See also Part 5 of our series Diabesity: Not all Diabetics are Obese
See also Part 6 of our series Diabesity: How modern lifestyles affects your metabolism