Is the concept of curing type 2 diabetes through diet really such a strange notion? After all, diet was one of the key contributors that got you into this situation in the first place. Conventional wisdom seems to disagree, however. While diet, exercise, and lifestyle are nearly universally acknowledged as vital components required for managing blood glucose levels, the key difference in the conventional approach hinges on the word “manage.”
Given a choice, would you rather “manage” a disease, or be “cured?”
Skepticism is healthy, and there is plenty to go around when the debate shifts to curing type 2 diabetes with diet. Part of the problem originates from what we know about type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is a critical condition that must be managed from onset and has no cure. The pancreas loses its ability to produce enough insulin. Insulin is a powerful hormone; it allows glucose, your body’s main source of fuel, to cross through cell membranes. Without it, cells in your body cannot absorb glucose and thereby starve. When blood insulin reaches a certain concentration, it also triggers storage of excess glucose as fat.
Type 2 diabetes is a disorder (note the use of the word disorder here—not disease), in which lifestyle issues have caused a chain reaction in the body that ends up reducing production of and sensitivity to insulin. The result is the same as in type 1, but the root cause is vastly different.
Another cause for skepticism is the failure of modern medicine to progress beyond simply managing type 2 diabetes. Even though millions of people successfully live with the condition, it is still near the top of the list as a cause of blindness, neuropathy, kidney failure, and lowerextremity amputations. Do these conditions sound like successful management?
Ken Hampshire, product formulator at Syntratech Corporation, has developed a unique perspective on type 2 diabetes through more than 12 years of work in the field. He considers the prevailing wisdom regarding the disorder to be a web of myths that obscure the overall problem and allow people to avoid taking direct responsibility for their situation.
First, people need to quit thinking about type 2 diabetes as a disease, he contends. “Diabetes isn’t a real disease,” says Hampshire. “It should never be called a disease. Diseases happen to us, we have little to do with [contracting them], if anything, and we have very little to do about the outcome.
“But diabetes isn’t like that. Diabetes isn’t contagious; we didn’t pick it up from our neighbor or someone walking down the street last week. Something didn’t invade our body and cause these symptoms, which we call diabetes. So it’s not a disease,” he says. “[Diabetes] is a change in lifestyle from that which we know is a healthy lifestyle.” This change causes the body to function improperly—in other words, a disorder.
Hampshire considers this change in philosophical approach to be the critical first step in arresting the momentum of what he calls the “runaway freight train of diabetes.”
You might wonder why, when faced with the scope and severity of the problem at hand, Hampshire is so focused on semantics. After all, diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the US and incidence in the world population is expected to double between 2000 and 2030, according to the World Health Organization, approaching nearly 400 million people. A National Institutes of Health report in 2011 estimated that more than 46 percent of the US population above the age of 20 has diabetes or prediabetes.
He has a very good reason. “It’s not that the pharmaceutical approach is doing no good whatsoever—no. It is doing some good. It’s making some positive difference. It’s just that the positive difference is so small when compared with the overwhelming environmental factors that are driving the diabetic freight train, it’s like David and Goliath—and Goliath is winning, big time!”
Instead, he feels the focus of the battle must shift from doctors, pharmaceutical companies, and drugs to the people who actually have diabetes. “The battle against diabetes will largely be won or lost in the diabetic’s mind,” he contends, “because diabetes is much more of a psychological battle than it is a physiological one.”
Psychology of the Defeated
“Right now we have people that go into a doctors office—an intimidating situation for many people,” explains Hampshire. “They sit in front of people who they [perceive to] have knowledge that far exceeds their own in these particular matters, which makes them feel even less confident, less powerful, less responsible. We spend an average of six minutes with this man or woman, who may or may not tell us information that is correct. We’ve got to start thinking about how the typical diabetic is left feeling.
“They’re left feeling that they have very little to say in their own outcome,” he says. “They feel that they have very little personal power or influence, their sense of self is diminished, they have no hope that they can affect the outcome of their diabetes, and as a result, they remove themselves from the equation. And right there is where we lose the battle!
“So almost everything we do in treatment of diabetes is wrong; the approach is wrong, the information is wrong, and it is wrong how we treat the people—because we treat them like they are an afterthought in their own disorder.”
So What Can We Do?
Hampshire feels it is time for accountability in treating diabetes. “We’ve got to get serious, we’ve got to get real, and we’ve got to start calling the numbers for what they are and start getting control of our ridiculous diets,” he says. “It’s all part of the equation of trying to re-empower people to take control and responsibility for their own disorder, their own diabetes.
“When I talk to people, and I’ve talked to thousands of them over the last 12 years, I have this phrase that describes most of them. I call it ‘50, fat, and defeated.’ They’ve done everything they are supposed to do: they see their doctor regularly, they’ve taken their tests, they’ve changed their diet according to their dietician’s advice, and their glucose numbers get worse and worse and worse. Finally they feel like there is nothing they can do. It’s hopeless, they’re defeated, and they call me in that state.”
It’s no wonder, according to Hampshire, that people give up when you look at the advice they get. “Even when we tell people to change their diet, the information people are getting is wrong,” he says. “I ask the same question to almost everybody I talk to: ‘What exactly did you have for breakfast this morning?’ You can hear them swell up with pride on the other end of the line as they answer, because they know they’ve been doing this right so they are kind of proud. ‘I had slowcooked oatmeal, low-fat milk, a cup of blueberries, and a cup of coffee.’
“That’s what I hear, over and over and over again. And their blood glucose is getting worse and worse and worse. Their neuropathy is getting worse and worse. Their eyesight is deteriorating. They’re at their wit’s end. And I say, ‘You couldn’t have hardly eaten a worse breakfast had you tried. Who in the world told you that kind of nonsense?’”
The answer comes back: “‘Well, my diabetic educator. My doctor. My dietician. I went to a diabetes class at the hospital and that’s what they told me.’ I say, ‘Well, how’s that been working for you? Blood glucose been dropping? A1c coming down to normal? No? Gee, don’t you think we should try a different approach? Is this a possible indicator that you’re barking up the wrong tree?’”
It’s at this point where Hampshire says people begin to break down the myths and see the path. “‘You mean, if I had eaten a ham and cheese omelet for breakfast instead of this oatmeal, milk, and fruit, then my numbers would come down and I’d start to feel better?’ And I say ‘Yes, of course.’ Then you see the light begin to flicker on. You’re breathing new life back into these people,” he says.
Who Can You Believe?
We have become so afraid of dietary fat and cholesterol, that we have ruined our diets. When it comes to calorie intake, there are only three macronutrients available for us to consume: fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. We are constantly told that fat is bad and that meat and eggs will raise our cholesterol. What’s left? Carbohydrates. And humans were not designed to consume all the simple sugars, refined grains, and starches that have become standard fare—not to mention the frying oil and chemical additives.
Hampshire claims that you shouldn’t just blindly believe him, however. “You doubt me because I am telling you things you have never heard before, and they’re diametrically opposed to what your doctor or dietician has told you. But you don’t have to believe me,” he says. “I don’t want you to believe me. I want you to believe you—or an objective source that you can trust—your glucometer. You can [use this tool to] tell how these foods affect you.”
“The reason type 2 diabetics cannot consume oatmeal is because it is made of oats. Oats are about 78 percent carbohydrates,” says Hampshire. “And even though it is a whole grain, which for a normal person might be absolutely fine, for a diabetic it’s going to drive their glucose to the ceiling. It triggers an insulin response that leads right into the inflammatory response mechanism and, voila, you’re plastered with every Western ailment known.
“Why in the world would someone recommend that?” he demands. “Doctors aren’t stupid, but they do things without thinking and they toe the party line, and the party line is: ‘Whole grains are healthy for you.’ Well, no; your glucometer tells you something quite different.
“‘Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables because they are healthy for you.’ No, your glucometer is going to tell you quite a different story. Eat a cup of your superfood blueberries and test your blood glucose in 45 minutes. See what it tells you. Do that for three or four days, record those numbers, and average it out. For the next three or four days, eat a ham and cheese omelet instead. Take your blood glucose 45 minutes after you start to eat. Average those numbers and see what the result is.
“Look at the objective evidence. Then, if that doesn’t settle it, look at your own body. Your body will tell you!”
A New Beginning
Hampshire advocates a very specific regimen of dietary principles to take control of diabetes, and he is not satisfied with reaching plateaus considered acceptable by health care practitioners employing drug therapy.
Before embarking on this path, however, two caveats must be clearly understood:
First, these recommendations are not for healthy people. Healthy people are entitled to much more range in their dietary choices. This regimen is for diabetics. “I’m talking to the people whose bodies have used up all of their time outs,” he says. “They’ve burned up all of their excess capacity. They no longer have any ability to compensate. Everything they do takes its toll from here on in. So get it in your head, you’ve got to get this job done. You’re in the fight for your life.”
Second, any diabetic taking oral medications or supplemental insulin for the disorder must involve their health-care practitioner in the administration of his regimen. “We cannot make these major carbohydrate reductions in diet if people are on medications and/or insulin, unless they adjust their medications and insulin to reflect a new, lower level of carbohydrate intake,” says Hampshire.
The diabetic drugs or insulin a person is prescribed offsets the carbohydrates that they expect to eat. “Dietary carbs and oral meds or supplemental insulin are like a mathematical or chemical equation,” stated Hampshire. “Both sides have to be balanced or, at least, that’s the goal. If you cut the carbs side of the equation back without first adjusting the medications and/or insulin, the load (dietary carbs) which these are intended
to balance out will no longer be there. But the drugs are going to affect the glucose as though they were—meaning that the blood glucose could drop dangerously low—[leading to] diabetic coma, even death.” For this reason, a healthcare practitioner must be involved in this process.
As an outcome of the process, Hampshire expects you to exhibit normal readings for glucose and insulin markers—and by normal he doesn’t mean within two standard deviations of the norm. He means normal: fasting blood glucose level (FBG) below 80 mg/dl, A1c below 5 percent, and blood insulin concentration under 5 units/ml.
Diabetics often tell Hampshire that doctors say anything below 125 is okay. “It’s not okay!” he insists. “You’ve got severe body damage going on at 125! Quit trying to let yourself off the hook. You want to get healthy? Let’s start getting truthful. You’ve got to get under 90; that’s our first goal. I want it under 80 eventually, but I want it under 90 as soon as possible—every morning.
“Once we do that, your body says ‘I’m not being overrun by glucose any more, I can start backing off on my production of insulin with my pancreas.’ Now, a couple of months later, your blood insulin tests start to come in around 10, 8, even 5. When your blood insulin is under 5 units/ml, now you can say you’re not a diabetic any more.”
Twelve Points to Normalizing Blood Sugar
Finally, with this understanding, we can lay out Hampshire’s dietary recommendations for curing diabetes. They are broken into two groups of simple instructions. Six dos and six don’ts. Keep in mind, however, that just because they are easy to state, doesn’t mean that they will be easy to stick to.
The Don’ts : Foods to Avoid
1. Eliminate all soda from your diet—regular and diet varieties.
2. Eliminate all simple sugars: cookies, cakes, candy, ice cream, maple syrup, honey, molasses, and anything made from them.
3. Eliminate all deep-fried foods.
4. Don’t ever drink milk or fruit juice.
5. Eliminate all fruit from your diet.
6. Eliminate all foods made from grain or rice. (According to Hampshire, this may be the most important.)
A diabetic who has reached the need for pharmaceutical intervention has got to start taking drastic action to reverse the situation. Simple sugars are obvious. Hampshire stated earlier in this article that by this point diabetics have used up all their passes. Sugars must go.
Juice is generally perceived as healthy, but is loaded with fructose molecules, each containing two glucose molecules joined together. Juicing fruit deprives it of the fiber that slows down glucose absorption, and requires several fruits to fill a glass. How often do you sit down to eat four or six oranges at once? Milk is loaded with lactose, another sugar. Grains, nearly all weigh in at close to 80 percent carbohydrates (plus or minus a few percent). Those carbs all break down into glucose—even in the wholegrain varieties.
High heat twists fats into unnatural compounds. These new molecules are classified as trans fats, and if you aren’t familiar with the various ways they affect your body, you should at least recognize that they are indisputably bad news. Enough said.
The Dos: Build Healthy Habits
1. Eat vegetables with every meal: ones that grow above the ground. Eat them raw as often as you can. Pick plenty of dark, leafy greens and colorful varieties.
2. Eat healthy fats every day: flax meal/oil, borage oil, fish oils, extra virgin olive oil. Eat these oils raw, not cooked.
3. Eat some protein with every meal. Breakfast should be predominantly protein and healthy fat. Good sources are meat, beans, nuts, cheese, and eggs.
4. Eat three meals each day with no snacks in between. Eat the last meal of the day at least four hours before bedtime. Your body needs time to normalize after a meal. Continual snacking leads to chronic inflammation.
5. Get fit. Our bodies are designed to work and sweat. There is no substitute for exercise.
6. Take a good multivitamin and mineral support supplement. As you get started, Hampshire recommends also using his supplement formulation called DiaMetrix.
“DiaMetrix is an incredibly effective product for normalizing blood glucose and all of the symptoms related to it: elevated cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, and obesity,” says Hampshire. Its success is supported with clinical research.
A double-blind, placebo-controlled, fully randomized human clinical [study] that involved 100 people—50 placebo, 50 active—was conducted. Compared to results for pharmaceuticals that typically demonstrate the ability to drop A1c levels to below the 7-percent level in as many as 20 percent of the non-placebo participants, the observed results of DiaMetrix use seem nearly impossible.
“Guess what percentage of the active (non-placebo) participants achieved an A1c of 7 or lower at the end of the [DiaMetrix] study?” he asked. “One hundred percent!” In fact, the study showed that 100 percent of the same participants registered A1c levels below a 5-percent concentration.”
With results like that you’d think that Hampshire would proclaim that he had found a cure, but that isn’t the case. “It’s a band-aid. Much like Metformin, Byetta, Actos, or any of the [pharmaceuticals],” he says. “It’s just that it is an incredibly effective band-aid–and a safe one—so it is a much better option than some on the pharmaceutical side. But it still is not going to stop the freight train, because it’s a band-aid.”
So if DiaMetrix, other supplements, and drugs aren’t the long-term solution, where does that leave us? “We use the band-aid first, and then begin to educate people through a long series of videos and articles,” says Hampshire. “So that people can begin to take responsibility, feel good about it, and see progress along the way that will reinforce the efforts they’re making and build their confidence level to where they’ll be able to fight and beat this bastard.”