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"Diet" May Be an Underused
Four Letter Word

By Dr. Peter W. Kujtan, B.Sc., M.D., Ph.D.

Article printed on page 21 in the October 30, 2013 issue of
The Mississauga News under the feature: Health & Beauty, Medicine Matters.
Portrait of Dr. Peter W. Kujtan, supplied 2005
Dr. Peter W. Kujtan

In ancient Pompei, it is said that there were advance tremors and numerous signs that the people of that region simply ignored or discounted, mis-believing that tragedy can always be averted in a prosperous society.

In my own lifetime, it is hard to ignore the changes seen in the North Amercian health care spectrum. Industrialization of farming is producing record amounts of cheap, bland, processed, corn and soy based calories in boxes, promoted inactivity and has resulted in record breaking obesity. We are in the midst of a diabetic epidemic too. The ash that choked Pompei, and our current food chain have much in common.

We too may soon find our civilization being excavated by future archeologists wondering how we managed to extinguish ourselves. It turns out that my grandmother was right on track by growing her own vegetables, and insisting that the spots and blemishes on the food was healthy for us.

Genetically engineered food, feed lots using growth hormone and antibiotics, high fructose corn syrup and fish farms didnít exist. I now wish I paid more attention during the fall canning and preserve making season. The epidemic of diabetes is directly related to how we mistreat our intestinal tracts. We have yet to prove the exact mechanisms, so it is difficult to issue caution. We know that sugar excess is toxic, particularly the more complex and synthetic molecules whose breakdown to usable glucose produces undesirables, yet there are no sugar limits stated in our own national food guides. Never in history have so many been able to eat so sweetly, so often!

Doctors were caught unprepared to address the food problem, by the lack of practical advice in medical school. Almost all of my nutritional education was received on a self directed learning basis after I graduated. I was fortunate to have a research supervising physician who insisted that all of his fellows could critically evaluate the significance of studies and claims. This skill has allowed me to often see the fallacy in misleading information.

We now try to diagnose people with pre-diabetes or carbohydrate intolerance as a way of getting a jump on diabetes. Modern medicine has explored every nook and cranny of the diabetic effect. Every conference I attend, suggests chasing the disease and not the cause. Diet is an underused four letter word in this forum. For example, we now have 10 different classes of diabetic medications that can be mixed and matched to help control the damaged system handle sugar, but none are curative.

One of the first things I do when I get suspicious of diabetes is hand the patient a pedometer and encourage them to walk 5000 steps daily. We talk about food as a body fuel. How to recognize proper food, when to eat, how to eat, how to mix and burn fuel types are all important. In some toads, diabetes is nothing more than a nifty survival mechanism, yet in humans, it is a chronic disease.

According to Chef Lesia, the best way to recognize good food is to taste it! Change what and how you eat immediately, it is the only chance your grandchildren may have.


Related resources:

Diabetes prevention: 5 tips for taking control by Mayo Clinic staff. Changing your lifestyle could be a big step toward diabetes prevention - and it's never too late to start. Consider these tips. Tip 1: Get more physical activity. Tip 2: Get plenty of fiber. Tip 3: Go for whole grains. Tip 4: Lose extra weight. Tip 5: Skip fad diets and just make healthier choices.

Diabetes: These Facts May Surprise You from Eat Right Ontario. Take the quick quiz to get some surprising facts about diabetes prevention and management.

Diabetes and Food Connection. Article from Southern California College of Optometry. "The cause of diabetes continues to be a mystery, although both genetics and environmental factors such as obesity and lack of exercise appear to play roles...

Diabetes is an epidemic and getting worse. A full two-thirds of the population is overweight and 1/3 of them are clinically obese. There are currently about 20 million diabetics and about 60 million with metabolic syndrome. In addition, there are two million adolescents (or 1 in 6 overweight adolescents) aged 12-19 who have pre-diabetes. Something in our American diet is not working!"

The Best Food Choices from American Diabetes Association. 1. Eat more vegetables, especially non-starchy vegetables. 2. Choose whole grain foods over foods made with refined grains and flours. 3. Choose lean protein foods. 4. Fruit is also a great option and can curb your sweet tooth. 5. Choose low-fat milk and dairy. 6. Choose healthy fats in moderation and limit unhealthy fats.

Food and Fitness: What Can I Eat? from American Diabetes Association.

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