This is another follow-up to a story about an obese co-worker of mine that demonstrates horrible eating habits, a very sedentary lifestyle, and recently found out she has type 2 diabetes.
You can keep up with everything so far on these posts:
- More fun Co-Worker Stories!!
- Co-Worker Update: More Follies in Fat Land
- Co-Worker Update: Diabetes sets in
The reason for this update is to tell you about her habits since she found out the bad news.
They haven’t changed.
Yesterday, she told me that she is really tired lately, and feels very weak due to her diabetes medication. She is taking pills that reduce the amount of glucose the liver produces in an effort to control her hyperglycemia.
Her doctor doubled her dosage after her last visit because her blood sugar levels had not decreased AT ALL since her diagnosis, and since she began “treatment”.
I put “treatment” in quotations because anything less than a very healthy plant based diet, coupled with a regular exercise regiment, I believe is a poor alternative. Now, I understand that an improved lifestyle aided by medication can perhaps save a person’s life that is in imminent danger of kidney failure or heart failure, but many studies have shown that most people that adopt a much improved lifestyle can reduce or stop taking their medication altogether in a relatively short amount of time. Even a small percentage of weight loss can improve insulin sensitivity, especially if some of that fat is visceral, which can be lost due to exercise.
Some ways of eating as a part of an improved lifestyle include a Mediterranean diet, and a vegetarian diet. Both of which can prevent type 2 diabetes, and even reduce complications once diagnosed.
The main reason a vegetarian diet would help is because it is low in fat, and low in cholesterol.
Too bad she told me she gained 100 pounds when she tried being a vegetarian.
The following is an excerpt from a book I am reading called The China Study:
James Anderson, M.D., is one of the most prominent scientists studying diet and diabetes today, garnering dramatic results using dietary means alone. One of his studies examined the effects of a high-fiber, high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet on twenty-five Type 1 diabetics and twenty-five Type 2 diabetics in a hospital setting. None of his fifty patients were overweight and all of them were taking insulin shots to control their blood sugar levels.
His experimental diet consisted mostly of whole plant foods and the equivalent of only a cold cut or two of meat a day. He put his patients on the conservative, American-style diet recommended by the American Diabetes Association for one week and then switched them over to the experimental “veggie” diet for three weeks. He measured their blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels, weight and medication requirements. The results were impressive.
Type 1 diabetics cannot produce insulin. It is difficult to imagine any dietary change that might aid their predicament. But after just three weeks, the Type 1 diabetic patients were able to lower their insulin medication by an average of 40%! Their blood sugar profiles improved dramatically. Just as importantly, their cholesterol levels dropped by 30%! Remember, one of the dangers of being diabetic is the secondary outcomes, heart disease and stroke. Lowering risk factors for those secondary outcomes by improving the cholesterol profile is almost as important as treating high blood sugar.
Type 2 diabetics, unlike Type 1, are more “treatable” because they haven’t incurred such extensive damage to their pancreas. So when Anderson’s Type 2 patients ate the high-fiber, low-fat diet, the results were even more impressive. Of the twenty five Type 2 patients, twenty-four were able to discontinue their insulin medication! Let me say that again. All but one person were able to discontinue their insulin medication in a matter of weeks!
One man had a twenty-one year history of diabetes and was taking thirty-five units of insulin a day. After three weeks of intensive dietary treatment, his insulin dosage dropped to eight units a day. After eight weeks at home, his need for insulin shots vanished.
Go ahead and read those last two paragraphs again if you need to. Although this study was small, the setting was very controlled, which hindered any flaws in the results. And 100% of the Type 2 patients were able to discontinue their meds. That is pretty incredible.
Since my co-worker found out she has diabetes, she has ordered the following meals for dinner:
- Medium pizza with sausage and pepperoni.
- Shrimp and scallop fried rice with curry sauce + a bowl of miso soup.
The best worst one so far…
- Philly cheesesteak sandwich with hot peppers, sweet peppers, mushrooms, and a side of fries… AND A SIX INCH PEPPERONI PIZZA.
(Yes, that was all for one meal)
Either one of two things are happening here:
- She needs to find a new doctor and nutritionist because they are not stressing enough the importance of a controlled diet coupled with regular exercise.
- She IS being told of the importance of proper diet and exercise, however she has no willpower, is lying to herself, and will follow the same fate as her mother.
Either way, odds are (because she once told me she laughed when her doctor told her she needed to lose weight) she has undermined the importance of her diet in her mind, and has adopted a belief that she cannot change her fate…
…that she is not responsible and her actions mean nothing.
It’s sad to witness her slowly killing herself. Unfortunately, because of the stigmas of discussing personal choices in our society – especially with regards to weight (and because I don’t know her well enough) – I cannot say anything to her.