Our final blog in our Winning the War on Sugar series...
Imagine What the Last Fifteen Years of Your Life Will or Could Look Like
Prelude: In writing this blog series about the national health crisis caused by added sugars in our diet, I am reminded of Moishe the Beadle, the eccentric loner in Elie Wiesel’s portrait of his Holocaust experiences called Night. After surviving a mass grave of foreign Jews in the Galician forest, he returns to Wiesel’s hometown of Sighet, Transylvania to warn every one of the Nazi threat to exterminate all Jews everywhere. All of the locals dismissed his words of caution as mere rants from a mad man who was getting crazier in his old age. As we look back on this episode from Wiesel’s book, it is easy for us to ask the question “why didn’t anyone take this man seriously?”
As I write these blogs, I can definitely relate to Moishe the Beadle, even though I am not an eccentric loner, but an executive with over 20 years of experience in the medical device and health care supply distribution sector; who is a happily married family man who likes to coach my kids’ lacrosse and football teams in my leisure. Although I am perceived by most people as normal or sane, I fear that my warnings about the epidemic forecast caused by added sugars will also be easily disregarded as mere paranoia from a guy who wants to sell you more medical supplies. As stated in previous blogs and our corporate literature, we at CCS Medical are in the business of LOSING customers to improved outcomes. It is a very happy day here at CCS Medical when we talk to a patient who informs us that they no longer have diabetes and they do not need our services anymore!
In this final submission of our War on Sugar blog series, I appeal to all of you to look at the facts:
- 29 million Americans currently have type 2 diabetes (10% of the population)
- 86 million more have prediabetes (and most are NOT aware of their condition)
- Global projections show a 54% increase of adults with diabetes by the year 2040!
But first and foremost, I am appealing to current type 2 diabetics, who understand the pain, the daily inconveniences and the looming health risks that come with this disease. While the task of managing your diabetes has its challenges, I am urging you to look beyond your current routine to ponder what your future will look like…
If you are a type 2 diabetic or have pre-diabetic conditions that remain uncontrolled, think of what the last fifteen years of your life will be like.
- You may have to endure the pain and discomfort of a dialysis treatment as often as three times per week because you suffered from kidney failure. Each treatment can take up to four hours. Worse yet, you may even require a costly kidney transplant surgery. The National Kidney Foundation projects that up to 40% of type 2 diabetics will suffer from kidney failure.[i]
- You will also experience weight gain and swelling in your ankles because the damaged blood vessels caused by diabetes – especially in your kidneys – will require your body to retain more water and salt. You will have difficulty emptying your bladder because diabetes has damaged the nerves in your body.
- Damaged blood vessels can also cause diabetic eye diseases including glaucoma, even blindness, as diabetes is the #1 cause of blindness in the United States.
- Damaged blood vessels and nerves from type 2 diabetes means you will likely suffer from a heart attack and/or a stroke, perhaps more than once, along with a host of other heart-related diseases and brain damage. For adults with diabetes, heart disease and strokes are the most common causes of death.[ii]
- You may require a shopping list of over a dozen prescriptions, including high blood pressure medications like ACE Inhibitors which also slow the loss of kidney function. Prescriptions for pain management may also be a necessity due to diabetic neuropathy, which is a very painful and debilitating disorder.
- Your likelihood for living independently will greatly diminish as family members or professional caretakers will be needed to help you with your medications, your transportation and even your housekeeping, thus bearing additional financial expense as well as emotional costs to yourself and the people you love.
Worst case scenario, what if you couldn’t even remember the last fifteen years of your life? Scientists are finding a greater link between diabetes and Alzheimer’s. A recent Albany University (NY) study published last June suggests that Alzheimer’s could, in essence, be the late stages of type 2 diabetes!
According to researcher Edward McNay, “People who develop diabetes have to realize that this is about more than controlling their weight or diet. It’s also the first step on the road to cognitive decline.”[iii]
If this isn’t scary enough, what if the last fifteen years of your life were the next fifteen years of your life? And what if you only had ten years or five years left to live? No matter the time length, the quality of those years along with the pain you have to constantly manage and endure will not be time well spent.
In addition to yourself, there is yet an even greater “worst case scenario.” Imagine your children being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and all the related health risks at a much earlier age than yourself when you first became diabetic. With a projected 54% increases of type 2 diabetes cases within the next 25 years, your children’s risk should be taken very seriously too, especially given the predominance of added sugars in our American diet.
What the Last Fifteen Years of Your Life COULD Look Like
Fortunately, there is hope for the 29 million Americans with type 2 diabetes, as well as the 86 million with pre-diabetic conditions. The epidemic of type 2 diabetes and prediabetes is reversible for many of us, and for the rest of us, diabetes can be managed in order to live a better, healthier quality of life with greater independence. It all starts with one pledge, one promise to yourself.
Just Say NO to added sugars in your diet. Join us in the War on Sugar!
As we have stated in our previous blogs, the Winning the War on Sugar starts with type 2 diabetics. If you are reading these blogs for the first time, please refer to the first five in this series for more information.
- Winning the War on Sugar Starts with Type 2 Diabetes Patients
- Understanding the Addictive Power of Sugar
- Just Say No!
- How Taxpayers Subsidize the Sugar Industry
- The Farce of Sugar Substitutes
In a nutshell, these blogs and our new “War on Sugar” were inspired by a new book released last December by science writer Gary Taubes called The Case Against Sugar. In this “must-read” exposé of science, history and straight talk, Taubes makes the convincing case that added sugar is the tobacco of the new millennium, backed by powerful lobbies, entrenched in our lives, and making us all very sick.
Furthermore, Taubes establishes that added sugars are the root cause of type 2 diabetes. Whether you read the book or not, see for yourself what your life could be like without the overwhelming presence of added sugars in our western diet.
Start your own clinical trial on what your life could be like by just saying NO to added sugars, along with a new regiment for life consisting of healthy foods & beverages and even just a light amount of daily exercise.
- Just Say NO to sugar also means saying YES to 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables in your daily meal plan. It’s as simple as filling a measuring cup and pouring the required amounts in a bowl or on a plate. There is joy in experiencing real food on a daily basis, and the natural sugars in our fruits and some vegetables can satisfy our sweet cravings over time as well as give us an authentic “high” with sustainable energy to get us through the day.
- Just Say NO to sugar also means saying YES to daily exercise. It can be as simple as a 30-minute walk every day, especially before a meal, to curb your appetite while decreasing the amount of sugar and fats that accumulate in your body.
Now imagine the last fifteen years of your life in a much more distant future. It’s the type of future in which you are enjoying an active lifestyle, watching your grandchildren’s games and recitals, and doing what you love. It’s the last fifteen years preceded by several more years of better intentional living, free of chronic pains and the looming risk of life-threatening diseases.
- You are traveling more with the disposable income that you would have spent on costly prescriptions and medical procedures that a life with uncontrolled type 2 diabetes would have sucked from your budget.
- You are also saving tax money that once went to subsidize our domestic sugar industry for many years. Because you Just Said NO back in 2017, you and millions of other Americans forced the federal government to repeal this anachronistic "New Deal-era" subsidy and sent a message to the sugar trade that they had to be self-sustaining and compete in a free market economy.
- You are free of the addictive power of added sugar, and on that rare occasion when you have a holiday dessert or piece of birthday cake, your head will spin from the sugar rush and you will remember how you used to eat processed foods and cereals that were high in added sugars throughout your day many years ago. You will be amazed that you once lived with such a diet!
- The restaurants and consumer packaged goods companies would be providing healthier options in response to the market demands that you helped to create by Just Saying NO many years ago.
- You are watching movies about the 20th Century and are laughing at scenes that show people drinking soda like it is water, much like we marvel at entertainment depicting a bygone era with cigarette smokers puffing away in an office or at a bar.
- You may even be swimming, riding bicycles or skiing well into your eighties, all because you chose to JUST SAY NO to added sugars in your diet.
- Your bones and your vision might start to deteriorate, but only from old age, while your kidneys, blood vessels, nerves and the rest of your body will continue to be heart-healthy!
In this future scenario, you and your contemporaries could be known as the next greatest generation because you chose to JUST SAY NO to added sugars, and you liberated yourself, your children and your neighbors from the sinister power that sugar once held over our lives.
[ii] “Diabetes, Heart Disease, and Stroke,” National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/preventing-problems/heart-disease-stroke
[iii] “How Alzheimer’s could be Type 2 Diabetes,” Alzheimers.net. http://www.alzheimers.net/2015-10-14/how-alzheimers-could-be-type-2-diabetes/