What If We’re Completely Wrong About Diabetes?

Posted on October 9, 2016 by Dr. Lynda

Could diabetes be the ultimate “chicken or egg” quandary? What if our models for adult onset diabetes are backwards? (Like many medical assumptions over the years.)

Even if you have no connection at all to the disease, the video we are pointing you to is remarkable and may give you quite a pause because this chicken/egg quandary might apply to many of our major health problems.

Image: A Chicken egg cracked open with little foot prints walking away
Source: Flicker

Take diabetes, for example, most doctors and lay people believe that when humans get fat around their midsection, in the middle years of one’s life, this weight gain leads to adult-onset diabetes. But what if those patients actually already had the hallmarks for diabetes deep within their DNA in the first place?

What if we are blaming hundreds of millions of people for their plight and they were set-up from the beginning?

What if it’s because of these genes, the afflicted person cannot control their weight (as opposed to diabetes fattening them up)?

Medical science seems to have a solid grasp on the two fundamental notions of diabetes: (1) it’s tied to genetics, and (2) it involves a poor diet, specifically one that’s high in sugars that will lead to the disease. But is this actually the path things take?

There are certainly solid correlations in the study of the 29 million Americans with diabetes (about 10% of the country) 1, but causation and correlation are not the same things! Just because things look strongly connected, does not mean one causes the other.

What if we’re looking at that correlation backward?

Image: A man standing by a giant can of soda labeled Diabetes
Source: Tom Hilton // Flicker

This is the question posed in one of the most eye-opening TED Talks we’ve come across here at the EverWideningCircles.com. In his TEDMED presentation, speaker Dr. Peter Attia spins his own story with unrelenting candor and asks the same question: what if diabetes isn’t a result of bad choices, but instead those would-be “bad dietary choices” are the body coping with diabetic genes?

Take a look, and be sure you pass this article on to anyone who struggles with their weight or has even the most remote connection to adult onset diabetes. This is an amazing insight…

Via: TED 2

Interesting, huh?

We think it’s a marvel when thought leaders seem perfectly placed to lead us all forward. Some modicum of serendipity was really at work here!

 Almost every innovator we feature here at EWC reminds us that great innovations often start with one person who is perfectly placed to make a personal observation, test their theory, and only then can they start to change the future.

Dr. Attia’s TEDMED discussion demonstrates this genius of innovation in its infancy perfectly.

What’s more, this TED Talk makes it easier for us all to put this issue of “blame” through our own sieve of personal experience. It’s so whole-hearted of Dr. Attia to share his initial judgment and his remorse now, years later.

Of course, it will be years before we know conclusively one way or another if his assertions are right, but his insights beg better questions and expand possibility for all involved.

The Global Equation

Here in the United States, you probably know that we are in the midst of an “obesity epidemic,” with adult onset diabetes being one of the primary concerns (along with heart disease, colon cancer, and various cancers caused by poor food choices), however the rest of the planet isn’t exempt from the issue.

The World Health Organization (WHO) projects that diabetes will be the 7th leading cause of death around the globe by the year 2030.

I always thought of this as a problem of excesses. but take a look at the following graph:

 

Image: Map of the prevalence of Diabetes in 2025 worldwide
Source: Ashley James Health

And here’s a look at what The World Health Organization says about a few worldwide projections:

  • “Recently compiled data show that approximately 150 million people have diabetes mellitus worldwide, and that this number may well double by the year 2025. Much of this increase will occur in developing countries and will be due to population growth, ageing, unhealthy diets, obesity and sedentary lifestyles.
  • By 2025, while most people with diabetes in developed countries will be aged 65 years or more, in developing countries most will be in the 45-64 year age bracket and affected in their most productive years.” 3

Take a look at a great article on the WHO website if this interests you from a global viewpoint.

While it’s clear that diabetes is a growing concern across the world, there’s hope for better answers, again, through better questions (something we celebrate a lot here at EWC).

For those of us who struggle on the fringes of or in the middle of a battle with any chronic disease, maybe this TED Talk spurs better questions for us as individuals. Until medical science makes some leaps and discoveries, we may have to be our own best advocate.

One thing we can do, whether we are a patient or a friend, is to leave the blame game out of the equation!

Again, pass this article on if you know someone who the insights might benefit.

Knowledge is power.

And if you would like more knowledge and power in the face of the relentlessly negative 24-hour news cycle, check us out here at EWC daily.

We publish one carefully fact-checked article each day – on anything under the sun – to demonstrate this as actually still an amazing world!

Image: Collage of articles to accompany the Pygmy Seahorse article

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Together we are sharing smart, positive content, some visitors become “guest writers” for us.

Others help change the world a little by just spreading the word that you can visit here regularly and come away transformed with a spring in your step!

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Image: Liesl and Dr. Lynda at Harvard GraduationCheck out our story if you are curious!

And if you’d like to see a few other articles that might surprise and delight you…

You can scroll deeply down our homepage, or just scroll down to the bottom of this page where you’ll find several articles I’ve chosen to follow the thread of thought we are on today.

Meanwhile, stay open, curious and hopeful! See you tomorrow!

~ Dr. Lynda