Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins
Wow, this new plant-based nutritional book by Michael Greger, M.D. with Gene Stone is absolutely breathtaking. The amount of information presented and science to back it up showcases poignantly how much peril Americans are in as it relates to their health. But we can control a large percentage by reducing risk factors through a clean, vegan lifestyle. Yet, you cannot rush through Greger’s pages as if you’re a collegiate student with plans to attend the game afterwards. Each chapter must be visually massaged and detailed methodically to retain the plethora of nutritional knowledge.
Our plight is challenging but simple to resolve. So the journey continues since 1.6 million Americans alone die annually from premature death resulting from the top 15 chronic illnesses with heart disease being number one at 400,000 yearly deaths. According to “How Not To Die” 20 million Americans are diabetic which can lead to amputations, blindness, heart attacks, kidney failure, strokes or death. As it relates to cancer, the three digestive cancers — colorectal, pancreatic and esophageal — kill 100,000 Americans yearly.
I just finished reading chapter six on diabetes and immediately had to disseminate my summary since so many individuals are affected including my friends and family members. More than 20 million Americans are currently diagnosed with diabetes, whereas 5% represents type 1, a predisposed condition where the immune system mistakenly destroys the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Insulin is the hormone that keeps blood sugar in check and released after every meal to escort glucose into the cells. Without insulin the sugar flows in the blood and can damage blood vessels and nerves which can lead to either lower extremity amputations (75K), blindness (650K), kidney failure (50K), heart attacks, strokes and 75,000 yearly deaths.
With type 2 diabetes (insulin resistance) the pancreas can make insulin but it doesn’t work well. Fat inside the cells of the muscles and liver interferes with the action of insulin. Diabetes in kids is most likely caused by overweight or obesity and can lower their life expectancy by 20 years. Keep in mind we don’t grow more fat cells, they just get bigger when weight is put which can spill over into the blood. Plant eaters drop their chances of diabetes by 78% compared to someone who eats meat every day. Yet, monounsaturated fats from nuts and seeds seem to protect opposed to saturated fat from animals which also appears to be toxic to the cells (in the pancreas) that produce insulin. When you eat saturated fat, both insulin action and insulin secretion are impaired within hours. So, the more saturated fat you have in your blood, the higher your risk may be for developing type 2 diabetes.
When measuring blood sugar, doctors are looking for a hemoglobin A1c of under 5.7. Over 6.5 will label you as a diabetic and the prediabetic range is between 5.7 and 6.4. The best solution for most? Become a whole-foods vegan and exercise!