Two seemingly groundbreaking studies, published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that type 2 diabetes, or “diabesity”, could be cured with gastric bypass surgery. The flurry of media attention and medical commentary hail this as a great advance in the fight against diabetes. The cure was finally discovered for what was always thought to be a progressive incurable disease. But is this really a step backwards? Yes, and here’s why.
No one is asking the most obvious question. How did the surgery cure the diabetes? Did the surgeons simply cut out the diabetes like a cancerous tumor?
No. The patients in the studies changed their diet. They changed what they put in their stomach and that’s something that doesn’t require surgery to change. If they had surgery and they didn’t stop binging on donuts and soda they would get violently ill and vomit and have diarrhea. That’s enough to scare anyone skinny. If I designed a study that gave someone an electric shock every time they ate too much or the wrong thing, I could reverse diabetes in a few weeks. But you can get the benefits of a gastric bypass without the pain of surgery, vomiting and malnutrition.
Most don’t realize that after gastric bypass diabetes can disappear within a week or two while people are still morbidly obese. How does that happen?
It is because food is the most powerful drug on the planet and real whole fresh food and can turn on thousands of healing genes and hundreds of healing hormones and molecules that create health within days or weeks. In fact, what you put on your fork is more powerful than anything you can find in a prescription bottle.
Astonishingly, the researchers just compared surgery to medication, which has been proven over and over not to reverse diabetes, and often promotes progressive worsening of the diabetes. Patients who get on insulin gain weight, and their blood pressure and cholesterol go up. And in recent studies, those who had the most aggressive medical therapy to lower blood sugar had higher rates of heart attack and death.
These two new studies on gastric bypass should have included a treatment group that had intensive lifestyle therapy as well as medical therapy or surgery.
Lifestyle change and changes in diet work faster, better and cheaper than any medication and are as effective or more effective than gastric bypass without any side effects or long term complications. These changes are not easy, but then neither is gastric bypass.
A recent study entitled Reversal of type 2 diabetes: normalization of beta cell function in association with decreased pancreas and liver triglycerides proved that diet alone could reverse type 2 diabetes. The bottom line: A dramatic diet change (protein shake, low glycemic load, plant-based low-calorie diet but no exercise) in diabetics reversed most features of diabetes within one week and all features by eight weeks. That’s right; diabetes was reversed in one week. That’s more powerful than any drug known to modern science and as or more effective than gastric bypass. But since it was a diet study, it got no press or attention. Other research proves that intensive lifestyle therapy can achieve the same results.
We don’t have to heal with steel, we can heal with meals
Shrinking someone’s stomach to the size of a walnut with surgery is one way to battle obesity and diabetes and may be lifesaving for a few, but it doesn’t address the underlying causes. And many will regain the weight because they didn’t change their understanding of their bodies or relationship to food.
Clearly, weight loss is critical and important for obtaining optimal health. However, what we are finding in patients who have gastric bypass surgery is that even a dramatic change in diet in a short period of time creates dramatic metabolic changes.
All the parameters that we thought were related to obesity, such as high blood sugar, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, inflammation, and clotting, are dramatically reduced even without significant weight loss because of the rapid effects of dietary changes that control which genes get turned on or off. This is called nutrigenomics – the way food talks to your genes.
While weight loss is important, what’s more important is the quality of food you put in your body – food is information that quickly changes your metabolism and genes.
Unless we address the root causes – what we eat, our sedentary lifestyle and the social and environmental conditions that drive obesity and disease–we will have tens of millions of more diabetics lining up for stomach stapling! The only ones to benefit would be the bariatric surgeons, the makers of the surgical instruments and the hospitals who are paid handsomely.
To paraphrase President Clinton, “It’s the Food, Stupid!”
Health-e-Solutions comment: We tell people to “focus on the food.” All other elements of lifestyle changes are enhanced by good quality, alkaline-forming, extremely low-glycemic and nutrient dense, foods. The diabetic-alkaline lifestyle focuses on foods that fit this description. It has worked remarkably well for our two type 1 diabetic boys. For over 4 years, we have been able to manage their type 1 diabetes naturally, without the addition of exogenous insulin. While we do not claim our boys are cured of type 1 diabetes, we do believe they remain in remission – as long as we keep them on the diabetic-alkaline lifestyle.