Diabetes is a costly disease—It’s a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the U.S., and it racked up an estimated $245 billion in 2012 due to the increased use of health resources and lost productivity. A recent study in JAMA analyzed the prevalence of and trends in diabetes among U.S. adults, and the results are alarming—at least 50% of U.S. adults have diabetes or pre-diabetes.
As you may know, diabetes is caused when your blood sugar is elevated, either due to a lack of insulin production (Type 1) or insulin resistance (Type 2), which is usually the result of obesity, poor diet , genetics, and/or a lack of exercise all leading to metabolic syndrome. Pre-diabetes is when a person has elevated triglycerides, low HDL, a large waist circumference, in some cases high blood pressure, and is at risk to develop diabetes. All if which is an indication of some degree of a carbohydrate intolerance.
The JAMA study used data collected as part of the 1988-94 and the 1999-2000 to 2011-12 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) from over 26,000 adults. The researchers say that between this time period, “the prevalence of diabetes increased significantly among the overall population and among each age group, both sexes, every racial/ethnic group, every educational level, and every income level, with a particular rapid increase among non-Hispanic black and Mexican American participants.”
This surge in diabetes appears to be directly tied to our current obesity epidemic.
What’s the solution? When you follow a controlled carbohydrate diet like Atkins, you significantly reduce carb intake overall—with the majority of your carb intake focusing on high fiber carbohydrate choices such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, and controlled portions of whole grains, depending on your personal carb tolerance—insulin resistance rapidly improves and blood glucose control is corrected dramatically. Additionally, most people find that they can stop or substantially reduce their diabetes medications with the help of their health care provider.