For so long society has expressed the idea that as long as you follow the Department of Agriculture Food Pyramid you will remain in good weight and good health. But what happens when one eats exactly what is prescribed by the pyramid, but continues to have increasing insulin levels and increasing glucose levels?
Obesity and Type Two Diabetes Are Increasing At Epidemic Rates in the United States
From 1935 to 1996, the prevalence of diagnosed type two diabetes climbed nearly 765%. Currently, about 16 million Americans suffer from type two diabetes, one-third of whom are not even aware that they have the disease. Recent data suggests that 47 million Americans have the metabolic syndrome, an insulin resistance syndrome that is associated with an increased risk in type two diabetes. Between 1991 and 1999, the prevalence of adult obesity increased a staggering 57% and, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 60% of U.S. adults are overweight. For centuries, doctors and scientists have focused on discovering the underlying cause of diabetes. While some diabetics possess the genetic gene, doctors are now attributing type two diabetes to individuals’ exercise habits, diets, and, specifically, their carbohydrate intake.
Scientist, Richard Kahn, Conducts an Experiment To Determine How Carbohydrates Affect Insulin Levels
In 2009, Richard Kahn, the now retired chief scientific and medical officer of the American Diabetes Association, was asked to create a committee to prescribe a diet plan for people with diabetes. He began by comparing and contrasting many of the recent diet fads. Kahn took an interest in the low carbohydrate diet due to its significant weight-loss results. There was little to no evidence about the relationship between diabetes and the diet, so Kahn decided to conduct a study himself. The study was later published in the New York Times.
Richard Kahn paired up with Kevin Hall, a colleague of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and created a study that involved 17 overweight and obese men, none who suffered from diabetes. They stayed in a clinical center where they ate carefully controlled diets. The men were split into two groups. Both groups consumed the same amount of calories, but the carbohydrate composition of the diet varied from high to low.
Study Results Indicate Carbohydrates Have a Strong Positive Correlation With the Development of Diabetes
The results alluded that that increasing intakes of refined carbohydrates are associated with the upward trend of the prevalence of type two diabetes. The insulin secretion among the second group of men, the group consuming the low carbohydrate diet, dropped 50% meaning that much less insulin was required to maintain normal blood glucose levels. Diabetes results when the body can’t produce enough insulin, so by eating a very low carbohydrate diet it reduces the amount of insulin the body needs.
Richard Kahn’s findings have initiated a new conversation among scientists and doctors in regards to carbohydrates and diabetes. Many scientists and nutritionists are suggesting a change in the Department of Agriculture Food Pyramid to reflect Kahn’s findings and limit carbohydrate intake to prevent obesity and diabetes within the United States. As more studies are administered, professionals hope more knowledge about the negative impact of carbohydrates will spread in order to prevent type two diabetes.