In his book 2000 book, Age-Defying Diet Revolution, the late Dr. Robert Atkins warned us that the emphasis on carbohydrates in the U.S. Dietary Guidelines will be a costly mistake. Dr. Atkins describes how Type II diabetes inflicts blood vessel damage as it progresses through five stages.
Five Stages of Type 2 Diabetes
Stage One is insulin resistance, the common denominator of Type 2 diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome, and coronary heart disease. In the carbohydrate sensitive, in response to eating excess carbohydrates – especially high glycemic, refined carbohydrates – body cells resist insulin.
Insulin is a powerful endocrine hormone secreted by the pancreas to regulate blood sugar. Insulin’s job is (1) to escort glucose into cells where glucose is burned for energy and (2) directs the conversion of excess glucose into body-made-fat (triglycerides). The more a food or meal raises blood sugar, the more insulin is needed.
According to Dr. Atkins, insulin resistance is a consequence of multiple, inter-related intracellular mineral and vitamin deficiencies, especially magnesium, chromium, zinc, various trace minerals, and B-complex vitamins, especially B-6 and B-12. Without a solid nutritional foundation, cells resist insulin’s glucose load.
In most of us – and in my cousin Bob’s case – excess bread, breakfast bars, boxed cereals, cookies, doughnuts, muffins, pasta and soft drinks raise glucose and insulin to unhealthy levels. In the carbohydrate sensitive, even healthy-sounding foods like beans and whole grains – which are carbohydrate dense – set the stage for insulin resistance.
Dr. Atkins refers to Stage Two as hyperinsulinism. Responding to chronic high glucose, the pancreas floods the bloodstream with insulin – forcing some glucose into nutritionally deficient cells. This elevated insulin can cause immediate, direct injury to the endothelial cells lining artery walls. (Once there’s injury, there’s infection followed by inflammation.)
In Stage Three, brain fog, cravings, fatigue, and moodiness and irritability reflect worsening blood sugar control. Brought on by constant hunger, food cravings, moodiness, and irritability are temporarily relieved by consuming – even more carbs.
(At this stage, to accurately diagnose insulin resistance, Dr. Atkins would recommend a 2-hour glucose tolerance test.)
Stage Four is non-insulin dependent Type 2 diabetes. Stages three and four are a continuum; insulin resistance and hyperinsulinism rule, but in Stage Four blood sugar remains elevated throughout the day. You are diagnosed with Type II diabetes when your fasting blood sugar is 125 or higher and your Hemoglobin A1c test reveals a history of elevated blood sugar over a two month period.
Stage Five – insulin-dependent Type 2 diabetes – occurs when the overworked pancreas craps out – ceases to produce insulin. At Stage Five, Type 2 resembles Type 1 diabetes – an autoimmune disease in which an external synthetic source of insulin is required.
Throughout the five stages of Type II diabetes, blood vessel damage, sticky clot-prone blood and the risk of heart attack are increasing. If an alert doctor and knowledgeable patient diagnose insulin resistance before it progresses, these blood fat abnormalities that cause blood platelets to become stickier and more likely to clump (platelet aggregation) can be prevented.
As we know, blood clots – with or without blockage – cause 80 or 90 percent of all heart attacks. The first order of business: Stop the blood sugar roller coaster and and plaque-build up by switching to a high natural fat, whole foods, carb0hydrate-restricted diet – what George and Martha Washington ate at Mt Vernon.
On the contrary, diabetics like cousin Bob are prescribed a high carbohydrate, fat-restricted diet!
Below is Bob’s breakfast order dated 09/15/2007. Please note that cousin Bob cannot have eggs for breakfast – doctors orders! Apparently Bob doesn’t need gold standard complete protein. Instead, why not give him blood-sugar-raising apple juice, cheap, heat-damaged blood-sugar-raising box cereal, a donut (trans fat and all), fat-free yogurt (more sugar), stewed prunes (a laxative for the harsh drugs he is taking), and a bit of margarine. Not even butter! Cousin Bob doesn’t need Vitamin A rich butter – margarine is good enough for him.
As you may know, the American Diabetes Association high carbohydrate diet – a primary treatment for type II diabetes – was highly likely to kill Bob Watson – and it did.