Nutrition, Science and Diabetes

Overview

Most people are aware that nutrition plays an very important role in managing your diabetes and your blood sugar levels.


But, as the author discovered during his recovery from a diabetic coma, most diabetes diets don't work!


He discovered that there is a lot of conflicting information out there about diabetes diets.


So, instead of trying to figure out which diet would work, he used his background in science and cell biology to design his diet.

Diagram: Nutrition & Diabetes

Diagram: Nutrition & Diabetes

Cell Structure

Overview

One of the first things that the author observed was that your cells are made up of the following macromolecules:

-- Carbohydrates

-- Proteins

-- Fats 

-- Liquids (water)

Diagram: Cell Structure & Components

Diagram: Cell Structure & Components

Food Structure

Overview

One of the interesting things that the author observed about nutritional science was that food is made up of the following macronutrients:

-- Carbohydrates

-- Proteins

-- Fats 

-- Liquids (water)

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Cell Biology: Cell Functions

Overview

Based on cell biology, your cells perform 5 major functions:

-- Absorb nutrients

-- Produce energy (ATP)

-- Remove waste/toxins (exocytosis)

-- Communicate with other cells (via glycoforms)

-- Replicate/regenerate or repair cell damage


When your cells are healthy, they perform these functions very well. But, when your cells are not healthy, they do not perform these functions very well, resulting in some kind of disease, such as Type 2 diabetes.

Major Functions of a Cell

Major Functions of a Cell

Nutritional Science

Overview

In nutritional science, there are four types of food, namely carbohydrates, proteins, fats and water. 


In cell biology, there are four types of biomolecules that support our cell functions and go by the same names. 


So, in a way, food structure "mimics" cell structure. Cells use carbohydrates, proteins, fats and water as food in order to produce energy, communicate and replicate. 


And, as this diagram shows, cells contain various organelles that are made of carbohydrates, proteins, fats and water. 


These organelles (or cell components) include the cell membrane, cytoplasm, nucleus, mitochondria, transporters, cell receptors, glycoproteins, glycolipids, cholesterol, glycogen, collagen, etc.   


Carbohydrates serve many purposes, from energy to structure to chemical communication. 


Proteins are involved in just about every process of life, including cell growth, cell signaling, repair, immunity, chemical/hormonal reactions, etc. 


Lipids (fats) also have many different purposes, including energy storage, structure, and signaling. 


Water serves as an uncomplicated environment for the cellular processes while being involved in intracellular and intercellular functions and biochemical changes. 

Diagram: Cell Structure & Components

Diagram: Cell Structure & Components

Cell Biology and Nutrition Connection

Overview

Since your cells are made up of carbohydrates, proteins, fats and water, why not design a balanced diet and meal plate that includes the healthy versions of carbohydrates, proteins, fats and water.


Doesn't it make sense that if you eat healthier foods that your cells will be healthier?


So, what are the healthier versions of carbohydrates, proteins, fats and water? Some examples include vegetables, wild salmon, extra virgin olive oil and filtered water.


Io, instead of creating a "special" diet to optimize your health, why not design a diet based on the biological structure of your cells? 


Here is a pictorial representation of what a balanced diet and a balanced meal plate should look like, especially for people with diabetes. 


This pictorial representation of a balanced nutritional strategy "connects" the carbs, proteins, fats and water of food to the carbs, proteins, fats and water of a living cell.

This meal plate identifies healthy carbohydrates (e.g. vegetables), healthy proteins (e.g. wild salmon), healthy fats (e.g. extra virgin olive oil), and healthy beverages (e.g. filtered water). 


The beautiful thing about this meal plate design is that because it also defines the quantity of each macronutrient, you don't have to count calories and carbs! -- as long as you maintain the defined proportions (percentages). 


And, as long as you measure your blood glucose level 2 hours after most meals, you can easily modify your meal plate to address your specific nutritional needs and achieve blood glucose stabilization.


This meal plate design has many of the attributes of the Mediterranean Diet, Paleo Diet, Zone Diet, South Beach Diet, Raw Food Diet, Asian Diet, Detox Diet and Vegan Diet, with critical nutritional modifications to address the real root causes of Type 2 diabetes, e.g. insulin resistance, cellular inflammation, nutrient deficiencies, excess oxidation and toxicity.


Author's Sidebar: During my early research when I was trying to figure out what were the best foods to eat to manage my diabetes, I discovered a lot of conflicting information about what to eat vs. what not to eat. I also discovered many assumptions, myths and misunderstandings concerning what is diabetes. 


So, as an engineer, I realized that in order to solve my problem (diabetes) and come up with a viable solution (proper nutrition), I had to go back to the basics of cell biology to understand diabetes and the basics of biochemistry and nutritional science to understand how our bodies respond to food.


Once I understood this "connection", it was pretty easy to define a nutritional strategy (and meal plate) that would align with the body's biology and biochemistry to ensure optimum health in most situations. Of course, this model has to be fine-tuned for each specific diabetic client, based on their post-meal blood glucose readings, diabetic complications, medications, other health issues, age, and other factors.


Bottom line: A healthy diet must include all 4 of the major macronutrients in balance. Diets that ignore one or more of these macronutrients such as a "low fat" diet or "low carb" diet just won't work in the long run.  

Diagram: Cell Biology and Nutrition Connection

Diagram: Cell Biology and Nutrition Connection

Importance of Science

Overview

If you really want to understand a disease like Type 2 diabetes so that you can help improve your own health or the health of others, then, one of the best ways to do that is to learn about the science of disease (and human physiology) at the cellular level.


Science helps you learn how to analyze and solve complex problems and recognize when people (especially doctors) are not telling you the truth. Science will give you the insight to understand why most so-called "diabetes diets" don't work and why most diabetics are unable to improve their health.


But, more importantly, science will give you the knowledge and insight to help your diabetic clients improve their health.


And, once you accomplish this, it will give you more confidence and your clients will have so much confidence in you that they will gladly tell their friends and relatives about you.


In addition, science (and mathematics) will help to train and organize your brain so that you can think more logically and creatively in problem-solving and multi-tasking.


Science is not merely a collection of facts, concepts, and useful ideas about nature. Science is a method of investigating nature--a way of knowing about nature--that discovers reliable knowledge about it. In other words, science is a method of discovering reliable knowledge about nature.


Reliable knowledge is knowledge that has a high probability of being true because its veracity has been justified by a reliable method. Reliable knowledge is sometimes called justified true belief, to distinguish reliable knowledge from belief that is false and unjustified or even true but unjustified.


Every person has knowledge or beliefs, but not all of each person's knowledge is reliably true and justified. In fact, most individuals believe in things that are untrue or unjustified or both: most people possess a lot of unreliable knowledge and, what's worse, they act on that knowledge!


Science is a method that allows a person to possess reliable knowledge (justified true belief) about nature. The method used to acquire and utilize scientific knowledge to draw conclusions and make recommendations is called the Scientific Method.


The Scientific Method is a structured and organized process for answering questions and solving problems. The key steps of this process include: asking questions, making observations, gathering information, forming a hypothesis, testing the hypothesis, analyzing the data, drawing conclusions, and making recommendations based on the data and conclusions.


Science is a powerful "way of knowing" based on experimentation and observations of the natural world. We depend on science for unbiased and verifiable information to make important decisions about our lives. 


Although there are other ways of knowing that may be important in our personal and cultural lives, they rely on opinion, belief, and other factors rather than on evidence and testing.


That is why there are so many contradictions and so much confusion about how to treat people with Type 2 diabetes. A lot of what people believe is based on pseudo-science and (false) information that everyone thought to be true.


So, instead of following the crowd, I decided to use the Scientific Method and my understanding of cellular biology and biochemistry to figure out the best way to treat my diabetes and hopefully get off the medications and save my legs and my eyesight.


And, once I improved my health and got off the medications, everyone I met wanted to know how I did it. I tried to explain the science behind what I did but I got nothing but glazed looks and dead silence from the audience. In fact, one person said: "You sound just like my doctor. I don't understand him and I surely don't understand you."


I quickly realized that I had to translate what I knew from a scientific perspective into a language that people would understand. Having been a technical trainer for a couple years during the early part of my career as an engineer, I knew how to "break down" the technical information into PowerPoint slides, pictures, diagrams and charts that the audience would be able to grasp without having to understand the science.


Ironically, I used the Scientific Method to come up with a way to communicate to the audience about diabetes and nutritional science without having to go into the technical details of the science itself. People loved the charts and diagrams, because it helped them to understand how to treat their diabetes and improve their health.


When one uses the Scientific Method to study or investigate nature (or a client's health), one is practicing a concept called "scientific thinking."

All scientists practice scientific thinking, of course, since they are actively studying nature and investigating the universe by using the scientific method. But scientific thinking is not reserved solely for scientists or doctors.


Anyone can "think like a scientist" -- as long as you use the scientific method and, more importantly, apply its concepts to what you're investigating. 


When one uses the methods and principles of scientific thinking in everyday life--such as when studying history, economics or seeking solutions to problems of disease, for example--one is said to be practicing critical thinking.


Critical thinking is thinking correctly for oneself that successfully leads to the most reliable answers to questions and solutions to problems. In other words, critical thinking gives you reliable knowledge about all aspects of your life and society, and is not restricted to the formal study of nature.


Scientific thinking is identical in theory and practice, but it focuses on giving you reliable knowledge about the natural world and the sciences. Clearly, scientific thinking and critical thinking are the same thing, but where one (scientific thinking) is always practiced by scientists, the other (critical thinking) is sometimes used by humans and sometimes not.

Diagram: The Major Sciences

Diagram: The Major Sciences