Today in the New York Times:
All I can say is that it must be incredibly difficult to write a factually accurate headline without using too many words. Today on the Front Page of the New York Times, above the fold we find that headline which I have quoted above. A more accurate headline would be “Rate of New Diabetes Cases Lower in the United States.” What has happened is that last year 1,400,000 people found out that they have type 2 (adult onset) diabetes. They compare this to the 1,800,000 people that were given that same bad news in 2008.
Unnamed “experts” temper their joyful exuberance with this caveat, “Experts cautioned that the portion of Americans with diabetes was still more than double what it was in the early 1990s.” The absolute number of americans that have the ‘disease’, the ‘running total’ if you will, is still 200% higher than it was 25 years ago. Yes, I suppose that would ground you a bit if you were looking for a sobering statistic to offset the Good News that “New Diabetes Cases, at Long Last, Begin to Fall.” At this rate, if we change nothing else we are doing, there will be no new cases of Type II Diabetes in the year 2040.
So, what do you suppose they cite as the reasons that the incidence of this metabolic disorder is not affecting as many people as normal?
Experts say they do not know whether efforts to prevent diabetes have finally started to work, or if the disease has simply peaked in the population. But they say the shift tracks with the nascent progress that has been reported recently in the health of Americans.
Isn’t it obvious on the face of it that if diabetes is prevented that it is a form of progress in the health of America? Since it is the precursor of very many very bad things, if you can find a way to prevent diabetes you are de facto improving the health of the nation, right?
So what are the efforts to prevent diabetes that may be working? How does one prevent type 2 diabetes, and you may want to tell the parents of the CHILDREN who are contracting this affliction. This article does not spell it out. It’s as if nobody really knows. There is this, though, where we might find clues as to what the reporter thinks might be contributors:
There is growing evidence that eating habits, after decades of deterioration, have finally begun to improve. The amount of soda Americans drink has declined by about a quarter since the late 1990s, and the average number of daily calories children and adults consume also has fallen. Physical activityhas started to rise, and once-surging rates of obesity, a major driver of Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease, have flattened. Type 1 diabetes, often diagnosed in childhood and adolescence and not usually associated with excess body weight, was also included in the data.
There they are, calories and exercise. “Once-surging rates of obesity, a major driver of Type 2 diabetes” is the best clue we have yet of what the NY Times thinks we should do to curb diabetes. However, I hold that obesity does not drive diabetes. Neither obesity or diabetes are diseases, they are both symptoms of a problem, but they are not causes of each other. Calling diabetes a disease is like calling fever a disease. The difference between obesity and fever is that we can do something about the cause of obesity–and diabetes, and they are the same thing.
Drinking 25% less soda is a help, but why not say what you really mean, Americans need to quit drinking sugar and other sweeteners. Calling soda bad will push people to fizzy waters, which are also sugary, to fruit juices, which are every bit as bad for kids and their parents, but have the glow of ‘healthy and natural’. Sugar is causing both obesity and diabetes. Going on a diet where all of your calories come from a daily Jamba Juice or the Smoothie King concoction of your dreams is still going to be causing you problems, America. Cutting calories is not as beneficial as cutting carbs.
We can’t possibly exercise enough to prevent the damage that you are doing by getting half of your calories from the sugar in your yogurt, ketchup, hamburger buns, apple juice, barbecue sauce or any of the other sugar sweetened health foods that are out there.
Want to prevent Adult Onset diabetes from showing up in your children? Quit feeding them processed foods and drinks. Completely swear off of even ‘healthy’ processed foods because that is an oxymoron. It is not possible to add enough vitamins back into a food to make it as good as the original. I know it takes more time, but not much more, to make your own foods. Eat eggs, eat bacon, eat ham, eat beef…the are all real and they are all way better for you than any man-made recreation of food.