29.1 million people in the United States have some type of diabetes. This disease comes in two different forms, but it may be difficult sometimes to tell the difference between them.
Let's talk about these two types and what makes them different.
Type 1 diabetes means you are insulin dependent from birth. According to the American Diabetes Association, 5% of all people with diabetes have Type 1.
With this disorder, your body doesn’t make insulin and/or it attacks its own beta cells (autoimmune disorder).
The body optimally maintains a spoon full of glucose (sugar) In the blood at a time. Without insulin, the amount of glucose coming through the small intestine into the bloodstream would become toxic (hyperglycemia).
Referred to as the ‘fat storing hormone’, insulin doesn’t really get the credit it deserves. It is responsible for unlocking muscle and/or fat cells to receive energy. Insulin is also responsible for the transport of amino acids (protein) and free fatty acids (fat). Little to no absorption occurs when insulin is not present in the blood.
See: What is Hba1c?
Even with superior nutrition and an active lifestyle people with type 1 diabetes will remain insulin dependent. In order to lower blood sugar levels to prevent ketoacidosis, as well as getting the energy to the cells, a reduced amount of insulin is required to have optimally functioning blood. Chronic high blood sugar causes a decreased transport of oxygen-rich blood to nerve cells.
It is no surprise that the National Institutes of Health have found that diabetes is a leading cause of blindness, non-traumatic amputation, and kidney failure.
Though type 1 reversal is not as likely to occur as type 2, it is not uncommon to see full beta cell function restored with a plant based, raw-diet intervention.
Type 2 diabetes is often called 'adult onset diabetes’ and accounts for 80-90% of people with diabetes. This means that your body has become insulin resistant over time.
Type 2 diabetes has been accurately deemed a matter of ‘fat toxicity’. Cells with excess fat cause insulin receptor sites to become overworked and less efficient. Without properly functioning receptors, the pancreas pumps out more insulin until the blood sugar drops.
More fat in the cell means less effective receptors which means more insulin is required. It is as simple as that in most cases.
When the body is constantly pumping out too much insulin in response to a high calorie, low nutrient food (fast food, soda, refined food-like products) the body stays in a fat storing mode. This means it can't access stored energy, and blood sugar crashes.
Low blood sugar (LBS) causes us to seek out the types of foods that will give us instant glucose to the blood stream as fast as our brain floods with dopamine. Cycles of high and low blood sugar lead to insulin resistance. Over time, this fuels the development of type 2 diabetes.
Hormones for using stored energy are only activated once the insulin is shut off. We can achieve this by consuming low-calorie, fiber-rich plant foods (salads, vegetable soups, fruit, beans, nuts & seeds) in a mindfully slow manner. This can have a profound effect on stabilizing blood sugar.
Relieving the duty of high levels of insulin, whether produced by the body or injected, can help the body access stored energy.
So whether you inject insulin or produce it on your own, reducing the demand for insulin marginally with each meal allows for our body to switch to fat burning mode faster between meals or snacks. Releasing these reserves into the blood not only prevents blood sugar crashing but combats hunger and extends the fat burning phase. Using our energy storage cleans out the cells, making them more sensitive to insulin.
Persistent practice of these slow blood sugar waves will lead to less of a dependence for people with type 1 diabetes and can relieve people with type 2 diabetes of insulin requirements over time in most cases, with help from a doctor.