The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that over 29 million Americans suffer from diabetes today, an increase of more than 10 percent since 2010 when the agency issued its last report. The actual numbers may still be higher because a quarter of all diabetics don’t even know they have the disease, according to the survey. Other research predicts that more than half of the U.S. population will be affected by the end of this decade.
When we talk about diabetes, we usually put emphasis on blood sugar or blood glucose. Unfortunately, having diabetes at least doubles your risk of heart troubles. That’s a scary connection, but there is good news as well. There is much you can do to protect yourself, and many of the things you do to control your blood sugar – eat well, exercise, take medications – also protect your heart.
More than 23 million Americans have type 2 diabetes, and seven million don’t even know they have it. Another 79 million adult Americans have pre-diabetes, and the prevalence of both disorders is growing. Unless trends change, one in three adults in the United States will have the disease by the year 2050. The good news is that you don’t have to become part of these grim statistics.
Like many other so-called non-communicable diseases (NCDs), diabetes is on the rise worldwide. Here in the United States, 17 million have been diagnosed with the condition, but more strikingly, about one third of those affected don’t even know about it. Similar to heart disease, diabetes is considered a “silent killer” because it cannot be detected through clearly identifiable symptoms, which contributes to the discrepancy between diagnosed and actual cases.
The grocery store can be a daunting place if you have blood glucose issues like diabetes. The good news about a diabetic diet is that when done correctly, it can be an excellent example of healthy eating for almost everyone. Instead of restrictions, diabetes patients should think of their dietary guidelines as an opportunity to make positive eating changes that can benefit them in many ways beyond their affliction.
Many of my clients attending my diabetes class report that several years earlier they were told they had “borderline” diabetes. Unfortunately, they only made temporary efforts to eat more healthily or add some physical activity to their schedule, but they didn’t really take this diagnosis of “borderline” diabetes seriously. Within a few weeks the scare was forgotten and it was back to the old lifestyle.
In the twenty-first century, our eating habits have been hijacked by the food industry. The food-like substances proffered by the industrial food system trick our taste buds into momentary pleasure. But our biology rejects them. Our tongues can be fooled and our brains can become addicted to the fat, sugar and salt that is pumped into factory-made foods, but our biochemistry cannot handle them. The result is the disaster we have in America today. 70 percent of Americans are overweight. One in two has either pre-diabetes or diabetes. It is time to take back our kitchens and our homes.