The other day, I read an article about how former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. His physician told him that he had only 10 more years to live, which brought Huckabee’s world crashing down. But instead of crashing down with it, he decided to make it the catalyst to changing his life for the better. I’ll continue his story later1.
The ever-increasing problem with sugar.
Stories like Mike’s are a dime a dozen; poor choice of lifestyle is the cause and impetus of millions who suffer from disease and illness. And yet we continue with poor health choices until it’s almost too late. One of most prevalent of poor choices has to do with sugar.
There’s a quote that was written over 110 years ago that says,
“Sugar clogs the system. It hinders the working of the living machine” (Councils on Diet and Foods 327).
Today, the recommended sugar intake shouldn’t exceed 25 grams per person per day, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The fact of the matter is, however, that in the United States alone, the average daily sugar intake is a staggering 126 grams. That’s more than twice the average sugar intake of all 54 countries, of which America is ranked the number 1 nation in the world of sugar consumption.
Dr. Francesco Branca, Director of WHO’s Department of Nutrition for Health and Development says,
“We have solid evidence that keeping intake of free sugars to less than 10% of total energy intake reduces the risk of overweight, obesity and tooth decay”. Making policy changes to support this will be key if countries are to live up to their commitments to reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases.
Much of the sugars consumed today are ‘hidden’ in processed foods that are not usually seen as sweets. For example, 1 tablespoon of ketchup contains around 4 grams (around 1 teaspoon) of free sugars. A single can of sugar-sweetened soda contains up to 40 grams (around 10 teaspoons) of free sugars.
The recommendations are based on analysis of the latest scientific evidence. This evidence shows, first, that adults who consume less sugars have lower body weight and, second, that increasing the amount of sugars in the diet is associated with a weight increase. In addition, research shows that children with the highest intakes of sugar-sweetened drinks are more likely to be overweight or obese than children with a low intake of sugar-sweetened drinks.
The recommendation is further supported by evidence showing higher rates of dental caries (commonly referred to as tooth decay) when the intake of free sugars is above 10% of total energy intake compared with an intake of free sugars below 10% of total energy intake.
Based on the quality of supporting evidence, these recommendations are ranked by WHO as “strong”.
What will it take for us to change?
I’m from South Africa, and the sugar intake here has increased to a point where the government announced that a sugar tax would be promulgated into law, effective April 1, 2017.
The question that comes to mind is this: What’s the solution? What will it take for us to change? A doctor’s note? A government-enforced law?
I like what Mike Huckabee said:
“…a focus on weight loss will probably lead to failure. Instead, your focus needs to be on actual health and fitness. With permanent health and fitness, the weight will take care of itself.”
I believe this rings true as a solution, not only to type 2 diabetes, but to all lifestyle diseases.
I decided to do something about it.
I’m currently 6 weeks into a “no processed sugar” mission. It started when I posted something on social media. It started as somewhat of a joke, but I quickly realized that there are millions of people with real, debilitating addictions to processed sugar.
So, to cut a long story short, I took up the challenge to go without processed sugar for 6 months. The ironic part is that I started the challenge just a few weeks before Christmas.
I’m a pretty active guy and practice a vegetarian lifestyle, but I’d never realized how much my life was impacted by processed sugar until I had to face this challenge. For example, I was preparing a healthy bowl of oats for breakfast and automatically reached for the jar of maple syrup. Now, when I have that same bowl of oats, I just add a few dates, raw honey, or raisins.
Studies have shown that it can take up to four days to change one’s taste buds. It took me about seven days, so that number can vary from person to person. The good news is that you can change your body’s sense of taste!
My processed sugar-less results:
I feel amazing. How?
- I sleep like a baby.
- I have more sustained energy.
- I’m losing weight.
- I’m able to concentrate for longer period of time.
- My mind feels clearer.
The conclusion to Mike Huckabee’s story:
Huckabee tackled his type 2 diabetes head-on. He changed his diet, eliminating sugar, high-glycemic-index foods, and staying away from typical eating habits. He also started exercising regularly.
A year later, Huckabee had lost 45 kilograms (100 pounds), completely expunging his diabetes and other associated health risks—all through exercising regularly and giving lots of attention to his diet.
Perhaps the most salient element of his story is that Huckabee has now devoted his life to sharing the “secret” to his success with others. More people need to know that there’s hope for a release from their debilitating illnesses.
How will you challenge yourself?
To learn how you can actually reverse your type 2 diabetes, visit www.diabetesundone.com, where you’ll learn the practical, simple lifestyle changes needed to tackle diabetes the way Mike Huckabee did.
1 Sizing, Matt. “Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.” LifeExtension.com. LE Magazine, Dec. 2005. Web. 11 Jan. 2017. <http://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2005/12/cover_huckabee/page-01>.
2 “WHO Guideline : Sugar Consumption Recommendation.” World Health Organization. World Health Organization, 4 Mar. 2015. Web. 11 Jan. 2017. <http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2015/sugar-guideline/en/>.