What Big Pharma Doesn’t Want You To Know About Diabetes

Article written and reviewed by Tara Kemp
Published February 6, 2018

Over the past decade, the number of people living with diabetes has more than doubled. By 2050, about 1 out of 3 Americans will have diabetes, according to the CDC.

The vast majority of cases are prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is already the number one cause of adult-onset blindness, kidney failure, and surgical amputations.

A common medication that big pharma offers is a medication called Metformin. Metformin is the drug most commonly prescribed to treat type 2 diabetes and prediabetes. Its side effects are diarrhea, nausea, physical weakness and fatigue. And… it doesn’t work very well.

At least not nearly as well as a different treatment that is less expensive and has no negative side effects. So why aren’t doctors prescribing this better treatment? 

Well, because it’s not a drug… it’s a diet.

In one study by Dr. Neal Barnard and other researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health, a group of participants were asked to do two things: eat only plants (no meat, dairy, or eggs) and choose low-fat foods. 

They didn’t have to exercise, count carbs, or portion out their food. They could eat as much as they wanted!

After three months, the researchers looked at the participants’ A1c values. 

Analyzing A1c values, which measure long-term blood glucose control, is the best way to see if a diabetes treatment is working. The better your body’s ability to control blood glucose, the lower your A1c value.

The group eating a low-fat vegan diet experienced an A1c reduction equal to or better than typical results achieved using big pharma's oral medications like Metformin.

As a big bonus, the vegan group saw bad cholesterol levels drop by 20%, and they also lost significantly more weight. 

In addition, this group found it easier to stick to this diet than the standard “diabetes diet” because they could eat as much as they wanted and didn’t have to count their carbohydrate intake.

What Actually Causes Prediabetes and Type 2 Diabetes?

Okay, time for a quick biology lesson. When you eat carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into individual “sugar” molecules, including glucose. Glucose circulates in the blood until it’s taken up by tissues to be stored or burned for energy.

Think of insulin as the “key” that unlocks the door to let glucose in the blood enter your brain, liver, muscle, and other tissues.

Diabetes happens when your body can’t unlock millions of cellular doors, so the glucose is trapped in your blood and can’t get inside your tissues to be used for energy.

In type 2 diabetes and prediabetes, the issue is insulin resistance, which basically means that your body is RESISTING what insulin is trying to do. The culprit causing this resistance is fat. 

When you eat fat, some gets burned for energy and some gets stored in your fat tissue – but if you eat more than your body can use or has room to store, some of it ends up getting stored in your liver and muscle cells too.

Over time, these cells get clogged up. It’s like putting gum inside the lock that insulin is trying to unlock in order to let glucose into the cell. So fat blocks insulin from helping glucose enter the cells.

Scientists have known for more than 85 years that eating a high-fat diet – especially a diet high in fat from animal foods and processed foods – causes insulin resistance, prediabetes, and type 2 diabetes.

That’s why a plant-based diet is SO powerful in preventing and even reversing type 2 diabetes, especially when compared to what big pharma offers.

Whole plant foods are naturally low in fat, and because they’re high in fiber and water content, they’re filling and satisfying. They’re nutrient-dense without being calorie-dense, so you can eat more food but fewer calories.

A Real Life Example of Reversing Diabetes With a Plant-Based Diet

Let us tell you about our friend Adam. 

When Adam was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at age 30, he weighed 300 pounds and had an A1c of over 9%. His fasting blood glucose was often close to 300, which is three times that of a non-diabetic individual.

Adam was a dream to big pharma – he ate a high calorie, high-fat, high-protein, high-refined-sweetener diet and his health was declining fast.

Adam heard about a plant-based diet, and he decided to try this approach instead of relying on big pharma medication.

After just 2 months of eating fruits, vegetables, potatoes, squashes, beans, lentils, and whole grains, Adam lost over 40 pounds. In total he has lost 160 pounds and completely reversed type 2 diabetes.

He was amazed to find that even though he was eating as much as he wanted, he was continuing to lose weight. His fasting blood glucose quickly dropped down to 120, showing him that his new lifestyle was working.

Adam Sud Type 2 Diabetes

Unlike other diets, there is no yo-yo effect on a low-fat, plant-based, whole-food diet.

Six months later, Adam had completely reversed type 2 diabetes. In one year, he lost over 100 pounds, and 5 years later he has lost over 160 pounds, completely diabetes-free.

Take Home Message

The bottom line is this: we know exactly how to solve the diabetes epidemic.

The answer isn't something big pharma can deliver. But luckily, it's much more affordable.

Simply minimize or eliminate meat, dairy, eggs, and high-fat processed foods and replace those foods with delicious and nutritious foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes like beans, lentils, and peas.

Diabetes is a big problem that affects all of us to one degree or another. In fact, most people with prediabetes don’t even know it! This disease weighs on our country’s public health and even our economy. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

At the end of the day, the power to prevent and reverse diabetes is right on your plate, and something that big pharma would prefer you didn't know.

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Leave a Comment!

Have you tried a low-fat, plant-based, whole-food diet? Do you have a success story like Adam? Let us know in the comments below.

About the author 

Tara Kemp

Tara Kemp is the Director of Nutrition Education at Mastering Diabetes. She has been active in the field of health and nutrition for many years, including working with Forks Over Knives, Engine 2, and Dr. Neal Barnard and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Tara has a bachelor's degree in Education from Bucknell University, a Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from eCornell, and is a Certified Food For Life Instructor through the Physicians Committee.