Ivor Cummins is an Irish medical professional who is leading a charge to redefining the causal relationship between metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, diabetes and a whole slew of diseases including heart disease and cancer.
In my pursuit of better health I am committed to radically reducing the amount of carbs in my diet, as well as resetting the hormonal imbalance in my liver and pancreas. Dr. Jason Fung is doing his work as a doctor in Toronto, as well as publicizing the real risks of abdominal fat.
The real crisis in today’s world is a crisis in lifestyle and diets, which is putting millions and millions and millions of people all around the world in grave danger. More people die every years in the world NOW from diabetes and related illnesses than are predicted in the worst 50 year estimates of global warming. The people dying today are dying because science has been systematically ignored by government policy makers and medical professionals for 50 years.
Dr. Fung argues that the conflict of interest between industry and medical professionals, including government agencies is at the heart of this global crisis. It is time to stop mollycoddling international business interests, and get on with the business of teaching future generations how to improve the quality of their lives, while also radically extending the length of their lives, simply by learning new lifestyle choices.
DIABETIC NERVE DAMAGE (neuropathy) affects approximately 60-70 percent of patients with diabetes. Once again, the longer the duration and severity of diabetes, the greater the risk of neuropathy.
There are many different types of diabetic nerve damage. Commonly, diabetic neuropathy affects the peripheral nerves, first in the feet, and then progressively in the hands and arms as well, in a characteristic stocking-and-glove distribution. Damage to different types of nerves will result in different symptoms, including
• tingling, • numbness, • burning, and • pain.
The incessant pain of severe diabetic neuropathy is debilitating, and the symptoms are commonly worse at night. Even powerful painkillers such as narcotic medications are often ineffective. Instead of pain, patients may sometimes experience complete numbness. Careful physical examination reveals decreased sensations of touch, vibration, and temperature, and a loss of reflexes in the affected parts of the body.
While a loss of sensation may seem innocuous, it is anything but. Pain protects us against damaging trauma. When we stub our toes or lie in the wrong position, pain lets us know that we should quickly adjust ourselves in order to prevent further tissue damage. If we are unable to feel pain, we may continue to experience repeated episodes of trauma. Over the years, the damage becomes progressive and sometimes deformative. A typical example is the foot. Significant nerve damage can lead to the complete destruction of the joint-a condition called Charcot foot-and may progress to the point where patients are unable to walk, and may even require amputation.
Dr. Jason Fung, The Diabetic Code p.28
Diabetic neuropathy has led directly to my willingness to undergo a radical lifestyle change, including intermittent fasting, and major changes to my overall dietary behavior. In particular, major pain to my hands and feet has increased exponentially in the last couple of years.
This type of pain is almost invisible to the people around a diabetic. They often wonder, I’m sure, what the hell is wrong with me, as I stumble from step to step, at times looking for all the world like a drunk after one too many.
Despite my best efforts to appear normal, it is sometimes impossible for me to avoid an outburst from a sudden onset of sharp pain in my hands or feet, without any advance warning that my chronic pain will suddenly become extreme, even if only for a few moments.
Dr. Fung mentions that it is worse at night while a diabetic sleeps or rests. Well, there are many times when neither is really possible, and my partner lays across from me worrying as I toss and turn in pain. And neuropathic pain is only one of the causes of pain in my body at night. Others are arthritis, bursitis, and severe muscle cramps.
Combine these with fibromyalgia and I guess that I have won the sweepstakes of pain, so far without winning the big prizes, premature death or paralysis. Even without the immediate threat of dying, chronic intense pain is exhausting, often leaving me so tired that days go by without being able to accomplish even the smallest things. Even I tend to feel like a lazy sonofabitch because my progress in so many things is fractional or even non-existent.
I wish I were faking it, of which I have been accused at times. If I could make it go away, I would indeed. The best thing my doctor ever told me about neuropathy is while I can still feel the pain, it is still at least possible that my nerve damage may partially recover as I reduce my diabetes and stop making it worse. Once the nerves are deadened to the point where my feet are simply numb, there would be no hope of ever recovering any of the la\ost sensitivity in my feet or hands.
This is one of the reasons why I am so determined to take any measure that has even a promise of helping me eliminate or radically reduce the effects of diabetes in the future.
In an article I read today in Endocrine Web, by Kathleen Doheny
Every year, about 1.5 million Americans learn they have diabetes. However, there are more than 7 million adults who have diabetes but haven’t been diagnosed, according to the American Diabetes Association. This matters since we are learning that the best chance of reversing diabetes seems to occur very early in the onset of the disease. Finding from several recent studies indicate that the timing of diagnosis matters a lot.
If you have diabetes, your doctor may have encouraged you to consider making lifestyle changes; for many, that may include losing weight. While that same message has been discussed for years, recent evidence suggests that achieving about a 10% weight loss may be even more important than experts thought—with a payoff that is greater than previously imagined.
So you don’t have to lose all your excess weight to get a benefit from weight loss. As noted above, even a weight loss of 10% has a powerful effect on your A1C levels. This should be a great incentive for diabetics who, like me, have been identified as obese, or even merely fat or overweight.
After nearly three months I can say that fasting is making my health a little better, including reductions in A1C but also including things like mobility. I can actually reach down and touch my toes for the first time in a long time. Fungal infections have been radically reduced already. And my sense of hope for the future is significantly better.
What some authors have written about is the profound effect that fasting and weight loss have on the emotional health of a person. This may be something I’m prepared to write about in the future, but right now I feel like I’m on a roller coaster emotionally, really happy with my results one moment, and anxious about further progress the next.
My wife was diagnosed with Type two diabetes about the same time as I started my fasting program. She tried fasting the same amount as did I, but found that she simply couldn’t sustain a fast for so many hours, so she reduced the fasting to 16 hours and also continued to cut carbs and sugar in the rest of the day. Barely two months into her lifestyle change, including the reductions in carbs and sugar, she managed to reduce her A1C from 11+ down to 7.4.
She also lost some weight but not really that much. The thing is that her BMI is a healthy 24 so she really didn’t need to lose weight, as much as she needed to reduce carbs. A ten pound weight loss translated into a radical change in her blood sugars, and indeed in her medication requirements after the test.
I’m really proud of her accomplishment is such a short time, and firmly believe that if she continues in this direction that she will effectively a “non-diabetic” by spring, if not sooner.
I still hover around 215 pounds, but my blood sugars came down to 7.0 from 8.1 two months ago. My family doctor was pretty surprised and pleased with my progress. The biggest thing I keep reminding myself is that Rome wasn’t built in a day. My obesity is the result of 25 or 30 years of overindulging carbs and sugars, and it’s taking me some time to get the weight off. So be it. I already notice and now so are some of friends and family.
For the first time since I started this new lifestyle and intermittent fast, I am feeling a little discouraged. My weight has been fluctuating up and down between 215 and 225 pounds for a week. I thought once it got down to 215 it would stay there, but no. So I looked back at the week, and realize that I haven’t actually done anything inconsistent with my program.
So what is going on? I also notice that my blood readings have been running much higher all week, on fasting days as well as on eating days. What’s with that? Maybe I reduced my insulin too much too soon…. I don’t know but it’s discouraging. A bit. From what I read in the literature about fasting, it is seldom a straight line downwards in weight, and adjusting my insulin every day and every night is a little hit and miss.
Necessarily so, since the body isn’t actually just a machine, but is indeed an organic whole system, which I’ve been messing with for the last three months.
Today was my first day of fasting for this week. And I’m sticking to it, even on the bad days. Tomorrow with be a better day. Maybe not. But a tomorrow will be a better day if I stick to my guns and follow the program.
Hang in there with me, folks. The ride’s a little bumpy!
If you download the TOFI chart from this blog you’ll see how many different conditions and diseases are a direct result of eating too much carbohydrate and sugar over a long period of time.
As described by the Canadian Dr. Fung undoing the damage is a little more complicated than just reducing your carbohydrate and sugar consumption, it includes some level of intermittent fasting for long enough to effective reset the liver functions to allow the proper processing of carbohydrate and sugar, and eliminate the negative consequences of prolonged Metabolic Disorder.
There is now a lot of scientific support for carb restricted diets and lifestyle changes, but as I go along it is useful to collect other Facebook pages, Instagram, and other resources online to support sticking to a difficult but important process.
Canada urgently needs a diabetes strategy – just not necessarily the one that Diabetes Canada would have us believe is the right path
The following information is from Diabetes Canada – Basic carbohydrate counting for diabetes management. The charts and recommendations are EXACTLY as outlined in their PDF file available from the Diabetes Canada website
Following the information provided by Diabetes Canada, I will discuss briefly my own take on what this actually means, in the context of intermittent fasting and the low carb lifestyles recommended by Dr. Fung in his Diabetes Code.
STEP 1 Make healthy food choices
Enjoy a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low fat milk products, and meat and alternatives at your meals. A variety of foods will help to keep you healthy.
Use added fats in small amounts. This helps to control your weight and blood cholesterol.
Choose portion sizes to help you to reach or maintain a healthy weight.
STEP 2 Focus on carbohydrate
Your body breaks down carbohydrate into sugar (glucose). This raises your blood sugar levels.
Carbohydrate is found in many foods including grains and starches, fruits, some vegetables, legumes, milk and milk alternatives, sugary foods and many prepared foods.
Meat and alternatives, most vegetables and fats contain little carbohydrate. Moderate servings will not have a big effect on blood sugar levels.
STEP 3 Set carbohydrate goals
Your dietitian will help you set a goal for grams of carbohydrate at each meal and snack. This may be the same from day to day or may be flexible, depending on your needs.
Aim to meet your target within 5 grams per meal or snack.
STEP 4 Determine carbohydrate content
Write down what you eat and drink throughout the day.
Be sure to note the portion sizes. You may need to use measuring cups and food scales to be accurate.
Record the grams of carbohydrate in these foods and drinks.
For carbohydrate content of foods, check the Beyond the Basics resources, food packages, food composition books, restaurant fact sheets and websites.
STEP 5 Monitor effect on blood sugar level
Work with your health-care team to correct blood sugar levels that are too high or too low.
My take on the information provided above by Diabetes Canada is that it is great information, as far as it goes… Which means that I think that there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye.
VARIATION 1 Make healthy food choices – just not the ones implied
Enjoy a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low fat milk products, and meat and alternatives at your meals. A variety of foods will help to keep you healthy.
This is only one point of view, and one that isn’t necessarily all that helpful, especially since built into the advice are prejudices about the virtues of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and low fat. From my reading in the recent past I am now vitally convinced that the international obsession with starch and sugar based foods (ie: vegetables, fruit, and whole grains) is the fundamental CAUSE of the current epidemic of diabetes. Included in this obsession is the unproven argument against fat and meat.
Recent articles and books on the subject suggest strongly that the prejudice against fat has directly led the world’s health practitioners and public health authorities to make recommendations that have strongly affected whole populations into wrong minded and dangerous eating habits.
So the first point is almost right. Just totally wrong about low fat, oh, and about having a healthy mixture of vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Generally one considers that the first items listed in a list of recommended items should be the items encouraged and supported as the primary source of dietary energy. And this would be WRONG! Sugars and starches should never constitute more than about 10%, maybe 15% of your daily calories. The rest should be made up of proteins and fats, as your primary source of dietary energy for life.
And portion sizes are really important – mostly to keep the amount of starches and sugars to the lowest possible levels, to allow the body to use fat as a primary sources of energy, leaving dietary sugar and starches to supplementary roles.
VARIATION 2 – Don’t trust traditional dieticians or doctors to give you good dietary or lifestyle advice.
Don’t trust you dietician to set goals for you, especially regarding carbs, sugars, fats and protein. Most dieticians today have been trained in a world where fat and protein (especially from red meat) have demonized and starches and sugars elevated to saintly status. Most cook books, dietician training materials, and schools are teaching the same poisoned information that has led us into the diabetic disaster that is underscoring modern lifestyles.
If you want to continue to fight with obesity and diabetes, then follow the Canada or US National Health Strategies, because doing so with take you down the same path as millions of us who are now suffering from severe diabetes, and other side effects of this advice and governmentally supported policy.
On the other hand, if you want to get off the Merry Go Round, and start to live a healthy, happy life, start to adopt what is considered to be a radically reduced diet of sugars and starches. Take your primary sustenance from meat, butter, eggs and fat, or even from vegetables rich in fat. Sugars and starches should be considered as purely luxury items, to be consumed sparsely, and in consideration of their potential for causing harm
At the end of another week of three 36 hour fasts, I’m contemplating how much my life has already changed, and how much it may still change, as I continue my fasting and attack on diabetes.
First of all, I currently weigh about 30 pounds less than when I started on the low carb high fat program. Fasting started about two weeks later, after I took the time to consult with my endocrinologist about how to manage my blood sugars during my fasting. We had already switched to two different types of insulin, long acting and fast acting, and I’m using the new meter that tests all day long, so he felt that the risk of a dangerous low could be managed.
Secondly, I now know that fasting isn’t really all that hard, for me. I suspect that motivation is a huge part of this, but fasting seems pretty straightforward to me now. Take care of my insulin and blood glucose levels, otherwise just don’t eat. Anything. Instead of it being hard, it’s been pretty easy, and the results so far are gratifying.
I made the change to my lifestyle on July 10, and began fasting near the end of the month. It’s now the end of the first week of September so I’m approach two months into the program. My insulin levels are lower than ever as are my glucose readings. I take half of the prescribed dose of long acting insulin these days, and no fast acting insulin at all on my fasting days, and about three quarters of the previous prescibed dose on my non fasting days.
The biggest concern is keeping my blood sugars high enough not to end up in a coma from hypoglycemia from having too much insulin in my system and lowering my blood sugar too much. In more than 20 years of trying to manage my diabetes low blood sugar was never ever a remote possibility, even after being on insulin, as my blood sugars were always higher than desireable.
I recently made two new holes in my belt to keep my pants from falling down, after moving from the last belt hole at the other extreme. I didn’t measure my waist when I started because I was too embarrassed to admit how big I had become. Now I wish that I had because I’m shrinking fast.
When I started this fast, I told myself that I would stay the course for three months, and then re-evaluate where I’m at then, from a health perspective as well as general feeling perspective. I also said that I would be happy if I were to get my weight under 200 lbs or 90 KG by the end of the 90 days of fasting. Today I weigh 217 lbs, down from 244 lbs on July 10th. I believe that I will achieve both goals, at which time I will commit to the next phase of this program.
I wish I could say that there have been no negative effects of fasting. It’s a little early to make that statement. What I can say is that there haven’t been any, so far.
I’m current working through the discovery that diabetes and obesity are the evil twins of post-second war American policy in health care and diets. If you read about the history of high carb, low fat diets you soon discover that the United States, and the rest of the world, were conned years ago, about the benefits of high carbs and the dangers of fat, any fat, but especially fat from animal sources. These policies were initiated by the National Health authorities to try to reduce heart disease but instead have led to several generations of increasingly unhealthy populations.
Children don’t eat too much. But their choices are influenced by what they are taught by their parents as well as what they see in the media, and on social media. All of the sources of information are tainted by misinformation pumped out by a combination of well meaning but uninformed dieticians, medical doctors, school authorities, health boards and urged on by corporate interests who make money selling foods based on this advice. Eating foods that inevitably bring on obesity, as surely as clouds bring on the rain, is dangerous. Childhood habits encourage the eating of carbs and sugar, rather than healthier alternatives.
Our generation is perhaps the last generation that needs to be poisoned by the demonization of fats and the promotion of carbs and sugars. The recent book by Dr. Jason Fung, the Diabetes Code, should be must reading for everyone responsible for feeding themselves, but especially for anyone responsible for giving advice on healthy eating and living.
I am currently on a fasting program outlined in the Diabetic Code by Dr. Fung. Here are some reviews by other, professional doctors and experts, who might be better qualified to give a review. From my point of view what Dr. Fung does extremely well is combine recently discovered truths, and rediscovered nutritional wisdom from the past, in a readable and applicable book. It inspired me to change my life.
DONALD B. WILSON BA MAOM, author of the Rain Coast Review, a recent blogger on diabetes and health.
“By understanding the underlying cause of the disease, Dr. Fung reveals how [type 2 diabetes] can be prevented and also reversed using natural dietary methods instead of medications. This is an important and timely book. Highly recommended.”
MARK HYMAN, MD, author of Food: What the Heck Should I Eat?
“With rich scientific support, Dr. Jason Fung has sounded a clarion call to re-evaluate how we view and treat diabetes. Considering that roughly half of all adults worldwide are diabetic or on their way (pre-diabetes), The Diabetes Code is essential reading.”
DR. BENJAMIN BIKMAN, Associate Professor of Physiology, Brigham Young University
“In The Diabetes Code, Dr. Fung lays out the case for eliminating sugar and refined carbohydrates and replacing them with whole foods with healthy fats. Dr. Fung gives an easy-to-follow solution to reversing type 2 diabetes by addressing the root cause, diet.”
MARIA EMMERICH, author of The 30-Day Ketogenic Cleanse
“In this terrific and hopeful book, Dr. Fung teaches you everything you need to know about how to reverse type 2 diabetes. It could change the world.”
DR. ANDREAS EENFELDT, author of Low Carb, High Fat Food Revolution
“The Diabetes Code should be on the bookshelf of every physician and any patient struggling with blood sugar control.”
CARRIE DIULUS, MD, medical director of the Crystal Clinic Spine Wellness Center
“The Diabetes Code is unabashedly provocative yet practical . . . a clear blueprint for everyone to take control of their blood sugar, their health, and their lives.”
DR. WILL COLE, leading functional medicine practitioner and educator at drwillcole.com
“With his trademark humor, Jason Fung exposes the secret that type 2 diabetes can be reversed with the right combination of diet and lifestyle—you can reclaim your health and vitality. Dr. Fung will teach you how.”
AMY BERGER, MS, CNS, author of The Alzheimer’s Antidote
“The Diabetes Code clears the fog around type 2 diabetes and underscores that for most people, it is preventable or reversible.”
DR. KARIM KHAN, MD,British Journal of Sports Medicine
I’m current engaged in intermittent fasting. That is I fast three days a week for 36 hours each day of fasting. I thought it would be hell. I was wrong.
I’ve previously blogged about why I’m fasting. It’s a part of getting rid of diabetes from my life, in as much as that is possible. It’s a part of a change in eating habits that started in my childhood and led me to becoming a Type 2 Diabetic before I was 40 years old.
Prior to starting the change, on July 10, 2019, I weighed in at 244 pounds (111.13 kilograms), about 80 (36 kg) pounds above my ideal recommended weight of 165 (75 kg) pounds. Even that is more than the Canada Health Guide suggests would be my healthiest weight. The guide suggests that I should weigh between 145 (65lg) and 165 (75 kg) another 20 pounds (9 kg) less.
Whichever weight guide I use the real point of this fast is not really about weight, or even the Body Mass Index. (I was at 45 BMI when I started this.) It is about my diabetes and my obesity. Losing fat is precisely the point of this exercise, in that it is fat, particularly around the waist and in the internal organs that is the source of insulin resistance itself, the precursor and the cause of Type 2 Diabetes.
According to Dr. Jason Fung, in the Diabetic Code, one of the most effective ways to reduce and eventually eliminate diabetes is to fast on an intermittent basis for sufficiently long enough for the body to attack and consume the fat in the liver, the pancreas, and the other internal organs responsible for regulating insulin production and diabetes. My 36 hour fasting periods are recommended by Dr. Fung, along with a much reduced carbohydrate load on the days I do eat. By doing the fast it is suggeted I will cause my body to start using the fat accumulated in my internal organs, even before I lose significant weight from elsewhere in my body.
Periodic fasting can help clear up the mind and strengthen the body and the spirit. Ezra Taft Benson
So what is it like? Fasting three days a week for about a day and a half each time? It’s not hell! That much I can say. I have found that I don’t really miss eating on my fasting days, although food is very much still top of mind. I’m constantly reminded of the fact I’m fasting by the smells and sights of food being consumed and promoted.
Truthfully, on my non-fasting days I have more problems with food than on the days I don’t eat at all. It is hard to make the adjustment to eating meals with substantially less carbs and sugars than I am used to. There are whole types of foods that used to be my main diet that I no longer eat, including things like pasta, potatoes in the form of french fries or chips, bread served at every meals, desserts like donuts which I used to eat at lunch every day.
And even at that, I don’t really miss the high calorie carb and sugar foods like pop and cookies. I quickly figured out that the low carb diet didn’t mean that I have to go hungry, but simply means that I fill up on other things that don’t cause my liver to produce more insulin and convert more sugars and carbs in more and more fat. I’m eating more fish, meat and fatty foods like avocados. Until now I have never thought of eggs as healthy, or as a main source of protein and fat, in a good way.
I’m having to unlearn bad food habits, both in the sense of things I now avoid, as well as things I eat more. My diet is getting more interesting and diverse, because no longer do I use sugar in food to make it palatable. Sugar is fine is small doses. Really small doses!
I still eat potatoes. Really small potatoes, and not deep fried. And only a small amount of potatoes with my dinner meals, if any at all. Same with rice and pasta. Same with really sugary fruits, like my standard apples and bananas. Now I eat a lot of salads, with my meat or eggs or fish or vegetable proteins.
This is my fourth week of fasting three times a week, for 36 hours each time. Oh, and by the way, I am losing weight and fat around my belly. So far my belt is now on the smallest hole setting. I’ll need a new belt soon, as I keep going.
The first couple of weeks on my changed diet, even before I started the fasting part, I lost 10 pounds, and I immediately lost another ten pounds in the first three weeks of fasting, But my weight has been static for a few days after that initial success. For the past five days my weight has been going up and down about five pounds. Hopefully I’ll break through to a new low soon and quit cycling. But whether or not I’m losing weight quickly or slowly I know that I’m pushing my body to clean up the fat in my liver, and that’s the whole point of this.
I’ll be touch, as I continue this journey where I’ve never gone before.