Pulse of Oriental Medicine: Alternative Medicine That Works for Regular Folks
Alternative Medicine That Works For Regular Folks



More Food Cravings and Weight Loss Articles:







Q&A: Type 2 Diabetes Diet and Lifestyle
By Brian B. Carter, MS, LAc

Brian is the founder of the Pulse of Oriental Medicine. He teaches at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine and maintains a private acupuncture and herbal practice in San Diego, California, and is the author of Powerful Body, Peaceful Mind: How to Heal Yourself with Foods, Herbs, and Acupressure.

"I have diabetes, Type II. I would like to change my diet and lifestyle. Any suggestions?"

The main problem in Type II Diabetes is that sugar in the blood is under-utilized. The decreased creation of cellular energy from blood-sugar, and also the excess of sugar in the blood cause the symptoms of diabetes...

The goal is to lower blood sugar levels and help your body improve its use of insulin (which helps the body utilize blood sugar).

Meal planning, exercise, and weight loss are the main solutions. Doesn't sound like a whole lot of fun, does it? Indeed, Chinese Medicine explains why we may get stuck in a vicious cycle that makes most difficult what we need to do most (see my food cravings article).


Diabetic Cookie Recipe - Many years ago, there really wasn’t a diabetic cookie recipe that tasted good, but with the new sugar substitutes there are so many things that can be done, and done well!

  85% of type II diabetics are overweight when diagnosed (it's interesting though that people with very little body-fat are also disposed to get Type II Diabetes; see this reference). One professor, Dr. Ernest Pfeiffer, goes as far as to say
that "It's almost a law that any person 30% overweight for 30 years will become a [type II] diabetic."

So, you have to lose weight if you're overweight. But, how? Changing the diet, exercising, AND...

Food Allergies
Many physicians overlook food allergies, an auto-immune process. Up to 10% of Type II Diabetes, at least in Caucasian populations, may be autoimmune (see this reference). According to Stephen Levine, PhD., "The evidence is strong for the allergic causation of arthritis, asthma and diabetes." More information is available from Great Smokies Diagnostic Laboratories. Be sure to read their FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) on the subject as well. If you find out you are allergic to certain foods and you eliminate them from your diet, you may end up with dramatic loss of extra poundage.

More research on Food Allergies:

Meal Planning
  The American Diabetes Association has a good FAQ. I would only comment on the section, "Are there herbs that will help my diabetes?" Their answer is good, but it

misses an important point about Chinese Medicine, which is that Chinese Medicine has its own system of disease categorization/diagnosis. This categorization often overlaps biomedical diagnoses, but not always. It's just another vantage point. You know the difference between looking at something with a telescope (one eye) and binoculars (two eyes)? When you look with two eyes from slightly different angles, you see life in three dimensions. It's similar with biomedicine and Chinese Medicine. By looking from both angles, we can see much more about a disease and its treatment. A Chinese Medical doctor would take into consideration your biomedical diagnosis of type II diabetes, and then still do an intake, inquiry, and examination aimed at discovering the relevant Chinese Medical diseases and patterns. From there, they could prescribe herbs, diet, and lifestyle changes, as well as do acupuncture.

If you want to make the process of planning and sticking to a menu easier, check out Paul Darby's Menu Creator software. It has 5 specific settings, from losing weight to gaining muscle to a diabetes-specific menu creation.

According to Bob Flaws and Philippe Sionneau, all Type II Diabetics should:

  • Avoid refined sugar, sugar products, junk foods, alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco (I know, all the fun stuff)
  • Eat protein snacks between meals
  • Eat complex carbohydrates (these sugars get into the bloodstream at a slower, more even pace)
  • Reduce caloric consumption
  • Increase exercise

It has been said that milk consumption is related to the incidence of diabetes. However, subsequent studies have not proven that milk causes any kind of autoimmune process (see review). There is indication that genetics are part of the cause, but the whole picture is by no means clear. The hope is that the completed human genome will help future researchers discover to what extent prevention is possible.

In the meantime, if I had Type II Diabetes, I would follow the above suggestions, as well as see a practitioner for personalized herbal formulas and acupuncture. (More information about finding a practitioner in your area)

Yours in Health,
Brian Benjamin Carter

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