March is National Nutrition Month, as I mentioned last week. A real emergency in this country is happening with the rising costs of medicine. I urge you to make better decisions around your nutrition in order to avoid the costs of having to take medication, both for you physically and for your bank statement.
I want to bring awareness to your personal healthcare costs. From the moment you are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, your health care costs go up due to many reasons, some of which have no discernible benefits.
You are likely to incur expenses related to office visits not only for primary care but also for endocrinology, eye, foot, heart and kidney specialists. You may be asked to get regular 3-month A1C blood tests, and to do home glucose monitoring. You may need medications to control not only blood sugar but also cholesterol and blood pressure.
In addition, you may be prompted or tempted (or both) to buy foods and beverages marketed specifically for people with diabetes. You may buy and use artificial non-caloric sweeteners because of the mistaken impression that natural sugar elevates your blood sugar more than other carbohydrates you consume. You are likely to pay more for health insurance or Medigap insurance, based on the severity of your diabetes, the presence of diabetic complications, and the type of plan you want to purchase.
If you ask medical providers about your increasing costs of diabetes-related health care, you may get an answer that just ten years ago you would have paid even more, and that costs are coming down. This Washington Post article begs to differ. Optimists will add that you can look forward in the future to buying even less expensive generic preparations such as insulin as it becomes available.
But I ask you, is all this extra cost for your health care worth it when you can reverse your diabetes in as little as 8 weeks by changing your diet? If you are interested in saving your money for the joys of life and not for medical care that you could avoid, why not give my recommendations a try?
How to reduce your expenses today
Let me suggest some steps to reduce your out-of-pocket expenses related to caring for type 2 diabetes, without compromising your health.
First off, home glucose monitoring is very likely a waste of your dollars. While it is widely thought that knowing your blood sugar levels helps you keep your diabetes in check, there is no controlled medical study to prove a benefit from this. For example, if your fasting blood sugar is high, are you allowed to increase the dosage of the diabetic medication? And if it is low, can you skip the next dose or lower it? In either case, what criteria are you supposed to use? In short, doctors provide no use for monitoring your blood sugar.
Recently The New York Times posted an article saying just this:
More than 30 million people in the United States have diabetes. The vast majority of them have Type 2 diabetes. Some of those are testing their blood sugar at home, but the best research is telling us that they don’t need to — that in fact it’s a waste of money.
It’s not a small problem. The waste is running into the billions of dollars, and it’s costing all of us money through the health care system.
Aaron E. Carroll, New York Times
Some patients diligently monitor their blood sugar multiple times daily and bring the record to their doctor. However, no doctor that I know uses them for making any change in the dose of medications. Instead, doctors use results from the 3-month A1C blood test done in the laboratory for dosage adjustments. They pay very little attention to the daily variations in blood sugar levels.
You may think that the monitoring has hardly any cost because you get a free glucose meter and supplies like lancet and test strips, at least for a while. But you may need to buy extra supplies eventually, and frankly, you are effectively paying for the free goods through higher insurance premiums.
Some may be tempted to look at an external insulin pump as a solution because, if prescribed by a doctor, insurance may cover not only the cost of the pump but also the insulin used in the pump. Again, somebody has to bear the cost.
The point is, the cost of your insurance (and everyone else’s) goes up because you are doing things that have no proven value. If more people were to forego these supposed useful items, it is possible that the cost of insurance would go down.
The cost of diabetes complications
More importantly, most people who maintain blood sugar levels within the desired limits using diabetic medications such as insulin still do not escape the serious complications associated with diabetes. They still experience kidney, eye, foot and cardiovascular complications. They are forced to accept these because they are led to believe that type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease and there is nothing they can do about it, other than taking the medications or insulin injections their doctor prescribes.
Similarly, consuming foods and beverages prepared for and marketed specifically for people with Type 2 diabetes has not been shown to prevent the incidence of complications related to it. The same is true regarding the use of non-calorie sweeteners that are promoted to make you believe that you are reducing the intake of at least some sugar calories. This too, in my opinion, is a false sense of comfort.
The real way to lower your insurance costs
Frankly, the best way to reduce the cost of diabetes-related healthcare is to find ways to reduce your blood sugar without the need for medications, and by not wasting money on unproven diabetes care-related procedures and potions. So how can you lower your blood sugar?
Let me ask you this: If you were not eating any foods, would you experience a blood sugar rise? Of course not. That means that something in our foods is the cause of your blood sugar elevation. The logical question is: What component of food contributes the most to the rise of blood sugar.
The straightforward answer is that it is carbohydrates from grains that are the major source of glucose that fills your blood stream and leads to ongoing Type 2 diabetes. It is not the natural sugars such as found in fruits and vegetables, unless you consume them in beverages in large quantities.
The truth is, you can formulate a strategy to lower your blood sugar levels without the help of medications simply by avoiding or minimizing the intake of food items made with grains and grain-flower products. You may think that this is not a natural way of life since grain products have been part of human diet for thousands of years. You may worry that you cannot live without sandwiches, toast, muffins, pizza, rice, and corn snacks.
However, the facts speak for themselves. These are a part of your diet only because they are manufactured in mass quantities and highly marketed to you. Over the past 50 years, the agricultural production of grains has gone up significantly, as they have become a major component of our diet –from less than 30% to between 50-70% of the diet all over the world. Meanwhile, the incidence of obesity and type 2 diabetes has also gone up in parallel. Is it a coincidence? I don’t think so.
If you have had success reversing your Type 2 diabetes through diet change and avoiding as much as possible the consumption of grains, I want to hear from you! Email email@example.com with stories, comments and questions.
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