Getting Type 2 Diabetes

Getting Type 2 Diabetes
Christine L. Foutch Naturopathic Physician Rock Island, Illinois

Christine Foutch is a practicing Holistic Physician in Rock Island, Illinois, specializing in Holistic Nutrition and Biomechanics. Holistic medicine is the art and the science of healing that addresses the whole person – body, mind, and spirit. The practice of holistic medicine integrates conventional and alternative therapies... more

Type 2 is the most common form of diabetes. 90 to 95% of people with diabetes fall in this category.

Within the United States, Type 2 diabetes has become very widespread. It is estimated that 1 out of every 4 persons have or will have this disease, or have a family member with it. The American Diabetes Association recommends that all adults age 45 and older be screened for type 2 diabetes. Individuals with one or more risk factors should be screened earlier.

So what are the risk factors?

  • Having a parent, brother, or sister with diabetes
  • Diagnosed with gestational diabetes or having a baby that is over 9 lbs
  • Sedentary lifestyle, exercising fewer than three times a week
  • Obesity, especially central obesity
  • Having been born either with high or low birth weight, especially when followed by rapid weight gain during early infancy
  • Over the age of 45
  • African-American, Hispanic, Native American, or Pacific island descent
  • Having high blood pressure >140/90 mm Hg
  • Having low HDL cholesterol less than <35 mg/dL
  • Having high triglycerides greater than >250 mg/dL

Even though type 2 diabetes can occur at any age, it most often develops in middle-aged or older adults. There is a growing number, however, of teens and adolescents being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

Approximately 800,000 people are newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes every year and 16% of those are under the age of 19.

Most people with type 2 diabetes have normal or high levels of insulin in their blood because type 2 diabetes is often not managed with insulin. It was once referred to as non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Type 2 diabetes is caused by insulin resistance.

What is insulin resistance?

It is a cellular adaptation involving the insulin receptors on the cellular membrane. The cell adapts to the high levels of insulin and the glucose in the blood, causing the cell to be less sensitive and to have difficulty recognizing the insulin and then binding to that same insulin secreted by the pancreas.

So why is insulin so important?

Insulin acts like a key, allowing for glucose to enter the cell. When the insulin receptors don't recognize the insulin or have less receptors for it, this inhibits the transport of glucose across the cellular membranes, creating the accumulation of glucose in the blood.

To overcome this resistance, the pancreas begins to produce more insulin. This response generally keeps glucose levels from raising too high as there is more insulin within the blood, increasing the possibility of the insulin binding to the receptors. So, the levels, in comparison, stay somewhat in range.

Not everybody with insulin resistance develops type 2 diabetes. The reason here is not quite understood. Possibly, for those whose pancreases work overtime to produce the extra insulin, it is possible for the pancreas to wear out and no longer produce the insulin necessary to lower blood glucose levels.

When blood glucose levels remain high over time, a person begins to experience symptoms of type two diabetes.

Overweight adults are more likely to develop type two diabetes. About 80% of the people diagnosed with type two diabetes are overweight. Fat distribution plays a role here also. Fat stored in the abdominal region is at a greater risk than that stored in the lower body regions.

Adipose tissue fat secretes a variety of hormones. These hormones have the ability to affect other tissues. This recent discovery has created much new insight. Hormone production is greatly influenced by the amount of adipose tissue in the body. This may affect how the body is responding and may influence insulin resistance. This could also explain why weight loss often restores insulin sensitivity.

The American Diabetes Association recommends consuming carbohydrates mainly from vegetables, fruits, and whole grains–and I have to question the grains–because grains are mycotoxic. Mycotoxins are a highly toxic metabolite made from molds.

The FDA estimates that 25% of the world’s grain crop is contaminated with mycotoxins. There are currently more than 400 mycotoxins known to man. So, I must question this allowance!

For an individual with type 2 diabetes, physical activity has amazing benefits. When combined with an energy-controlled meal plan, exercise has shown to increase weight loss and help with long-term maintenance of body weight.

Exercise should be encouraged for people with type 2 diabetes, and it is a highly important in managing it.

Regular exercise improves insulin sensitivity and glucose regulation. It also reduces blood pressure, improves cardiovascular fitness, reduces stress, and decreases lipid levels in the blood.

Exercise has shown to provide improvement in carbohydrate metabolism and glucose tolerance, enhancing the cellular uptake of glucose, therefore increasing cellular respiration and muscle contraction. Well, all this requires the body to draw on its reserves of stored glycogen within the muscles and liver, as the body does not rely on one fuel source. It switches back and forth as they become available.

Simply put: As cellular respiration increases, metabolic reactions are happening too quickly. The body must draw on the stored reserves as they become available.

This also creates EPOC. What is that?

Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption.

You had a lack of oxygen available during the exercise because of the increase of cellular respiration. So, there was lactic acid production because oxygen wasn't always available to make water. To put it simply, your metabolism stays increased after exercise because you are consuming oxygen more from trying to clear out the lactic acid that was produced during the exercise when oxygen wasn't available.

Studies have shown that we can greatly reduce our risk, even for those who are at high risk, by eating a healthy diet, staying physically active, and staying at the recommended body weight.


  • Fiber curbs the appetite, helping to reduce food intake
  • Fiber does reduce caloric intake as it actually binds to sugars and toxins, inhibiting absorption into circulation. Every gram of fiber potentially absorbs 7 calories.
  • Fiber is a low-density food. You get to eat more and worry less about calories. Also, subtract the dietary fiber content from the total carb count, as fiber is unable to be broken down during digestion. There are no enzymes for it.
  • Fiber slows down sugar absorption, supporting stable blood glucose levels.
  • Fiber delays stomach emptying, helping you to stay full longer.