if people follow the diet described in my book, they will switch to a vegan diet, thus preventing a great deal of animal suffering and helping the
environment. In Thin Diabetes, Fat Diabetes, I focus on the immediate personal benefits of going vegan.” – Laurie Endicott Thomas
Nearly Everything You Have Been Told About Diabetes Is False
By Laurie Endicott Thomas
Diabetes is currently the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. It is the main reason why adults go blind. It is the main medical reason for
people to lose their feet. It is a major cause of kidney failure. Fortunately, the most common form of diabetes can be easily cured and the most serious
form can be easily prevented by eating a low-fat, purely plant-based diet. Unfortunately, doctors have been learning practically nothing about nutrition in
U.S. medical schools. As a result, doctors often give their diabetic patients bad nutritional advice, which can actually make the diabetes worse. Back in
2012, Dr. George Lundberg, former editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American Medical Association, asked me to coauthor an editorial about this
problem for MedPageToday. My book Thin Diabetes, Fat Diabetes (www.thindiabetes.com) explains the problem in greater
Most Americans know that there are two main types of diabetes mellitus, but they have trouble remembering which type is which. French-speaking people have
no such trouble. They use the term thin diabetes (diabète maigre) to refer to type 1 diabetes mellitus: the severe, incurable disease that
results from the loss of the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. This problem can result from surgical removal of the pancreas. However, it is usually
the result of an autoimmune disorder that can be triggered by a protein in cow’s milk.
French-speaking people use the term fat diabetes (diabète gras) to refer to the relatively mild, reversible problem that results from gaining
too much weight on a fatty diet. Fat diabetes (type 2 diabetes) accounts for nearly 90% of the diabetes cases in the United States. Thin diabetes (type 1
diabetes) accounts for less than 10% of cases. Only about 2% of diabetes cases in the United States are due to a truly genetic problem. The severe forms of
genetic diabetes are called infantile diabetes because they are diagnosed in newborns. The milder forms are called maturity-onset diabetes of the young
(MODY) because they look like type 2 diabetes but are often diagnosed in young, thin people.
Nearly everything that we have been told about diabetes is false. We have been told that diabetes results from eating too much carbohydrate (starches and
sugars). We have been told that starch turns to sugar, which turns to fat and makes you fat. We have been told that low-carb diets are good and are
particularly good for diabetics. Although it’s true that starches are broken down into a sugar called glucose during digestion, the human body
resists converting glucose to fat because about 30% of the calories are lost in the conversion process. That’s why it is so hard to fatten on
starches! In reality, a low-fat (~10% of calories), high-carbohydrate diet is the key to reversing type 2 diabetes and maintaining the health of people
with type 1 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is not really a disease. It is a defense mechanism. If you have type 2 diabetes, it means that you are a naturally thin person but are
eating an unnaturally fattening diet. You have gained too much weight because the fatty foods you are eating are unsatisfying. As a result, you have eaten
more calories than you burn up. To resist gaining more weight, your body has started to resist the effects of insulin. Its goal is to burn more fat and
less sugar. But as a result, you could end up with too much sugar in your blood. The solution to this problem is to eat the kind of diet that is
appropriate for a human being: a diet based on low-fat starches and vegetables. Type 2 diabetes is extremely rare in populations that eat a low-fat diet
based heavily on some starchy staple, such as rice, corn, potatoes, cassava, or wheat. Americans can cure their type 2 diabetes by adopting a low-fat,
purely plant-based diet.
Type 1 diabetes is a more serious problem. It results from the loss of the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. If you have no insulin in your blood,
your liver will have no way of knowing when you already have enough sugar in your blood. As a result, your liver will think that you are about to die of
low blood sugar, even if your blood sugar level is actually high. Thus, your liver will keep making sugar out of protein until your blood sugar level goes
sky-high. To stay alive, people with type 1 diabetes need to get injections of insulin. A low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet is good for people on insulin. It
improves their sensitivity to insulin, and it helps to protect them from heart attacks and other consequences of a high-fat diet.
A low-fat, plant-based diet is powerful medicine. If you have any health problems or are taking any prescription medications, talk to your healthcare
professional before you make any major change in diet. A sudden change to a healthy diet can lead to serious problems with low blood sugar in people who
are taking medication for diabetes.
As I explain in Thin Diabetes, Fat Diabetes, the value of a low-fat, purely plant-based diet for reversing type 2 and managing type 1 diabetes has
been obvious for more than 75 years. Yet doctors are not learning this information in medical school. The solution to that problem is simple. Healthcare
reform activists must demand change from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education and from state legislatures. The LCME can take away the accreditation
from any U.S. medical school that fails to provide proper training in nutrition. State legislatures can require continuing education in nutrition for
doctors who want to renew their licenses.
LAURIE ENDICOTT THOMAS is the author of Thin Diabetes, Fat Diabetes
(www.thindiabetes.com). This article is reprinted with her permission from the online publication OpEdNews, Nov. 8, 2015.