I started watching some videos from Dr. Jason Fung. You can find many on YouTube. He’s a nephrologist (kidney specialist) who believes insulin causes type 2 diabetes. Yes, I said insulin causes type 2 diabetes.
Basically, his premise is type 2 diabetes is a condition of insulin-resistance. High blood sugars are the symptom not the cause, yet we seem to have singularly focused on treating the high blood sugars. We should be treating the insulin resistance instead.
By giving type 2s more and more insulin to bring down their blood sugar, they have more insulin circulating in their bodies – too much. This, he says, results in insulin toxicity. And while high glucose isn’t good, Fung says insulin toxicity is what causes heart disease, cancer and high blood pressure. He also says excess insulin causes artherioslerosis causing plaque to form in the arteries to the heart (2 out of 3 people with diabetes die of heart disease). And, excess insulin causes the body to retain salt and water. Too much salt leads to high blood pressure which most people with type 2 suffer from.
So Fung’s thinking is while treating type 2s with insulin brings down their blood sugar, it worsens their diabetes and results in metabolic syndrome – high blood sugars, high triglycerides, high blood pressure and excess body fat.
Dr. Fung’s treatment protocol includes low carb eating and intermittent fasting. This keeps insulin needs low and releases the stores of sugar and fat in the liver caused by the insulin resistance. This by the way is known as fatty liver which most people with type 2 diabetes also have.
As a treatment protocol Fung also favors some diabetes drugs, but only those that don’t raise insulin. And gastric bypass if necessary. But he says fasting accomplishes what gastric bypass does naturally. I can only imagine how much the pharma companies like him. If this interests you at all, watch some of his videos. It’s difficult to capture this complexity in a few paragraphs. I also just watched his six part series on YouTube on obesity. This stuff just fascinates me.
I should say I discussed Fung’s ideas with a few certified diabetes educators and while they didn’t dismiss what he said, and in fact agreed we should be looking at bringing down the insulin resistance, they did feel high blood sugars caused glucose toxicity and insulin was the only remedy for this.
While Fung’s work is on type 2 and not type 1, he does advise low carb eating for us type 1-ers too to keep us from getting insulin resistance. Type 1s can also become insulin resistant like type 2s. That’s referred to as double diabetes.
Dr. Fung also led me to this website on optimizing nutrition to manage insulin. It’s written by a young man, Marty Kendall, who is predisposed to type 2 due to family genetics and has a wife with type 1. Kendall became interested in how to eat for insulin dosing. He’s very much an advocate of low carb/high fat and his recommendations are very close to paleo and ketogenesis with some twists. Definitely worth checking out.