Vegan Health ArticlesType-2 Diabetes – The Expected Adaptation to Over-Nutrition:The Reason Medical Therapy Should Be Your Last Choice
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From John McDougall, M.D.

Diabetic medications have never cured anyone of diabetes and actually compound the patients’ problems. The patient goes to the doctor, is diagnosed with diabetes, placed on medication, and told to lose weight. Unfortunately, these medications make insulin more effective, causing more fat to be stored in the fat cells. The average initial weight gain when diabetic medications are started is 8 to 20 pounds – due to partially counteracting the protective effects of “insulin resistance.” Thus the well-behaved patient takes the medications as directed, but then gains weight, and as a result of the added weight his diabetes becomes worse. The patient returns to the doctor, is given a firm scolding for gaining weight, and then more medications are prescribed because his sugars are even higher than before – this additional medication makes the patient even fatter and the diabetes more out of control. The vicious cycle continues – and the patient and doctor are left guilt-ridden and confused about their obvious medical failure. After all, they followed the pharmaceutical company’s instructions exactly. Worse yet, the patients are not one bit healthier from all this effort and expense.

More than 30 years ago, when I was in medical school, I remember doctors arguing about the benefits from aggressive use of medication to make the blood sugars lower, a practice referred to as “tight control.” Ideally, keeping the blood sugars close to normal makes sense, but in real life more harm than good is done for type-2 diabetics. First of all, no matter how hard the patient and the doctor work at their goal, the blood sugar readings are all over the place – one test shows 60 mg/dl and the next 260 mg/dl. Soon it becomes obvious to the patient that the short-term goal of “normalizing” the blood sugar levels is impossible using medications.

The next carrot held out is for long-term benefits: preventing complications later in life. In truth, studies have shown there is some benefit for the eyes and the kidneys with better control of blood sugar (especially for type-1 diabetics).[15-17] However, the major threat to the life of a diabetic is from heart attacks and strokes – diseases of the large blood vessels. Intensive medical therapy using the most high-tech drugs to lower blood sugars has failed to reduce the risk for, and improve survival from, these two major killers. In fact, the medications used to combat sugar will actually create more sickness and death from heart disease.

Since the early 1970s every single edition of the Physician’s Desk Reference, found in every doctor’s office, has carried this warning in heavy back print for their diabetic medications: “SPECIAL WARNING ON INCREASED RISK OF CARDIOVASCULAR MORTALITY.” The most commonly prescribed diabetic medications, known as sulfonylureas,* cause fundamental changes in the function of cells that increase the risk of heart attacks.[18] These drugs, which are called “antidiabetic agents” by the pharmaceutical companies, have recently been shown to more than double the risk of heart attacks and almost triple the risk of early death in patients after an angioplasty.[19] I never prescribe this type of diabetic pills, and always ask my patients to stop them. All diabetics should be actively looking for a better approach – and so should any doctor interested in his patients’ welfare.



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We began this archive as a means of assisting our visitors in answering many of their health and diet questions, and in encouraging them to take a pro-active part in their own health. We believe the articles and information contained herein are true, but are not presenting them as advice. We, personally, have found that a whole food vegan diet has helped our own health, and simply wish to share with others the things we have found. Each of us must make our own decisions, for it's our own body. If you have a health problem, see your own physician.