Cure diabetes - do you have a hungry beast inside?
© Colin Austin
This documents conforms to creative commons.
It may be freely copied but the author must be recognised
and it cannot be used for commercial purposes. 5 Jan 2015
But it is addictive - the same as
tobacco, alcohol and the drugs. This is the hungry beast
||One of the worst modern inventions must be high
fructose corn syrup, it is cheaper and sweeter than
even refined sugar and is virtually everywhere in
processed foods from packed soup to hamburgers.
For a healthy twelve year old sugars and carbs are great, it
give them a massive burst of energy as the body produces
bulk insulin to release the energy. But this takes a toll as
the body becomes resistant to insulin and the pancreas (that
produced the insulin) has to works harder leading to insulin
deficiency and intolerance. Diabetes here we come.
The excess sugar is then converted to fat in the liver
leading to the sister illnesses - heart attacks, strokes and
cancer - here we come again.
Many professional doctors and dieticians say that this can
be stopped or even reversed simply by changing the diet to
include fresh green vegetables - so easy right? But the fact
is that diabetes and the sister illnesses far from going
away are increasing at an alarming rate making them the
greatest health issue of our time.
There is a major gap between theory and practice. Why?
While virtually all doctors and dieticians recommend eating
more vegetables changing diet is easier said than done.
These articles aims looks at why and what can be done about
it using wicking baskets to grow your own food and how to
cook it so it actually tastes good.
Why processed sugars and carbs are so dangerous.
Carbs and sugars, (particularly high fructose corn syrup)
are addictive and dangerous - but they need not be. Our
bodies need sugar - there is nothing intrinsically bad about
sugar - it is simply that the sugar hidden away in
supermarket food is so highly processed that it is
immediately absorbed by our bodies leading to a sugar spike.
Our bodies respond by going berserk and pumping insulin to
counter the sugar, in a healthy body this insulin is so
effective that it rapidly mobilises the insulin so this high
is followed by a ‘low’. We feel hungry again and will eat
more sugary food. This is the hungry beast at work.
However if this goes on and on we can become insulin
resistant - we have diabetes - get fat and are prone to
heart attacks, strokes, cancer and other horrids.
The cause is the sugar spike rather than the sugar itself.
Worse - often a sugary diet is lacking vitamins and
minerals. Technically this is easy to solve - eat more green
vegetables grown in nutrient rich soil. Green vegetables,
particularly those with a lot of fibre, slow down our
digestion so avoiding the sugar spike.
All sounds good but there is a gap between what the medical
text books say and the real world. People on a high sugar
diet just don’t like eating a lot of vegetables. They know
full well they are healthy and they should eat them - but
What makes is worse is that a lot of supermarket vegetables
are genetically selected for transport and storage and are
force fed so they simply do not taste good or contain the
essential vitamins and minerals.
This is personal
||This is a real problem I have faced at a personal level, my
wife Xiulan is diabetic and recently broke several bones in
her foot which started to turn black - not at all good.
Diabetes is the most common cause of amputation and
But Xiulan is a highly intelligent lady; she is a qualified
surgeon and well understands the issues. She is in
considerable pain with her foot so has every reason to be
Yet she still craves after the high carb foods and simply
will not eat the needed vegetables to balance the carbs.
This is not a question of science or logic, at an
intellectual level she fully understands but there is a
fundamental difference between the intellect and the
This is a problem that not just we face - it is at the heart
of why diabetes and its sister deceases are expanding so
rapidly to become the world greatest health hazard.
want to analysis why. How is it when the best brains in the
business agree and when the solution appears to be so simple
- that the world seems unable to resolve the problem.
Google alerts may be no substitute for formal training in a
particular discipline but they do give an enormous range of
views. Nowhere is this more evident than in diet.
The first conflict is between fats and sugars. It may seem
obvious that eating fats will make you fat but that is not
necessarily true, sugars - it turns out - are greater source
of people becoming fat, particularly in the critical organs
like the liver.
This has led so some extreme diets such as the Atkins diet
and its offspring which advocate the almost complete
elimination of sugars and carbs. The theory is that the body
still needs energy and if there is no sugars or carbs will
break down fat in the body to provide this energy.
See how well this theory works at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3I02aVkdi_M.
Another video in which experts from the various camps debate
Just watching google alerts on diet and health will show the
number of weird and wonderful diets. Some like the Paleo
diet are quite comic in their logic ignoring the fact that
in the paleo times the life span was only twenty eight
years. Most died younger with just a few reaching old age.
Their role was to look after the young - a key role which
explains why human life extends well beyond the child
rearing age - the parents were simply too busy getting food.
On top of that there are the clear quacks offering typically
some magic potion obtained from some exotic plant from some
remote country. But the quacks are easy to spot. It is so
simple - look for an abstract or summary that give you the
key information up front.
The producers of these videos are obviously unaware how
their high pressure promotion - trying to keep you in
suspense until almost the last minute - clearly identifies
them as quacks. The very last minute (if you watch that
long) is when they ask you for money.
People are intrinsically different
Very few experts or quacks recognise the variety among
people - what works for one person may be totally
inappropriate for others.
Just look at some of the vast numbers of papers published on
diet. The serious scientific papers are all subject to
statistical analysis. (The papers showing Mrs Pumpkin from
Memphis lost 100Kg in after two months are meaningless. It
may be true that Mrs Pumpkin did loose 100Kg but that does
not mean that you will.)
The genuine statistical analysis may show real trends - but
they are still trends and they often not that strong. Maybe
the numbers of cases of overweight or diabetes are reduced
The net results is simply confusion and disbelieve among
those looking for real help with their diet so most do the
obvious and just ignore the huff and puff.
Diets based on some magic formulae rarely work - you have to
spend the time working out how your body works.
Learning how you work
Diets which aim to restrict calorie intake rarely work.
Eventually people just get hungry and pig out. This craving
for food is not even us; it is the microbes in our stomach
sending chemical signals (neurotransmitter) to our brain.
These neurotransmitters are incredibly difficult to resist -
you just crave for that particular food. These cravings are
part of the survival mechanism - and the vast majority of
people eventually give in.
These are very difficult to resist.
We have to self-experiment and find out which food sets up
the cravings and which foods supress the hunger. I know for
me that I have an addiction to Pizza. Surprisingly I find
that dark chocolate (without sugar) is a hunger suppressant.
But that is just me - it does not mean that it will apply to
We also have to recognise that these craving come from the
bacteria in our guts sending out neurotransmitters. It can
take several weeks of a revised diet for us to change our
gut bacteria from those that cause harmful cravings to those
that stop us feeling hungry.
I have no solution for this - for a few weeks you just have
to sweat it out.
The aim must be to substitute with a non-fattening food. For
most people it seems that vegetables really do work. We know
that the fibre in vegetables act as a hunger suppressant.
The message is clear, forget about slimming diets and eat
Patient compliance is a term which is widely used in the
medical profession and seems to ignore just how deeply
ingrained our food preferences are. For example my wife
Xiulan just will not eat uncooked vegetables. It is not a
question that she does not understand the health benefits -
she simply cannot put them in here mouth - there is some
overriding force preventing her. I have an ingrained fear of
wobbly ladders - it is not a question of logic - it is the
way we are.
I could put this down to simply obstinacy on her part but it
is not - there is some ingrained physiological factor which
prevents her - presumably some form of primitive protection
system. On reflection I can relate to this - I am a typical
omnivore who can eat almost any food - but there are some
exceptions. My Chinese granddaughter looks on fish eyes as
some form of delicacy - but there is just no way I could put
an eye of a living creature into my mouth - however good or
beneficial I am told it may be.
Xiulan will quite happily scrape the brains out of a lobster
head and thoroughly enjoy them - but cannot eat a lettuce.
Humans are all different and a bit weird - it is not a
question of logic but innate feelings, we just have to
design diets around these.
This was brought home to me in the period when I was
involved in looking to provide sustenance food in Ethiopia.
My involvement was how to overcome water shortage and this
is how the wicking bed system evolved - as a cheap way of
providing water in times of drought.
But a co-worker with me had what I thought was a major
advance in food security. He had isolated some trees growing
in Central Australia which were used by the native
population as a reliable food resource. The climatic
conditions were similar to Ethiopia and he did trials which
showed that once established they would grow well. To me
this seemed a major breakthrough. Yet the sad truth is that
the bulk of the people just were not prepared to accept this
plant which was new to them as a food source.
||Now to me this was pretty amazing. Before this I had no
experience of starving people. Mothers were watching their
babies die because they had no food and hence no milk.
me this was a highly emotional experience yet this food
prejudice was so strong that they just would not change
The economic juggernaut
Google alerts will show the high level of aggression from
the public towards our food industry - which is the world’s
largest industry controlled by a small number of
international giant companies. They are portrayed as some
form of giant evil empire.
This is not true - they are in business to make as much
money as possible for their shareholders - typically
dominated by the large financial institutions. If the boards
fail to make enough money they are simply kicked out and
replaced by others that will. This is the rules of the game.
They are not in business to protect our health - that is
every individual responsibility - and if we buy it they will
continue to supply it.
True Governments are there to provide some level of
protection but in reality there is not much that they can do
against the power of these international organisations. They
can ensure standards of hygiene - give some protection
against the use of toxic chemicals and ensure some
conformity of labelling. But that is really as far as it
The net result is food that is high in sugars –
(particularly the toxic high fructose corn syrup), low in
nutrients and with varieties selected (or in some cases
genetically modified) for the benefits of the food system -
e.g. shelf appearance, long shelf life, resistance to damage
in transit etc.
The net result may be highly undesirable with a spiral
health problem starting from excess fat in our organs and
leading to the deceases of diabetes, heart attack, stroke,
cancer etc. But it is not ‘their’ fault – however ‘their’ is
- it is our fault (or largely our fault) because we buy the
stuff they want to sell.
That’s the system and in reality we cannot change it.
So what do we do about it?
People are already doing something about it. Farmers markets
are well established, there is a viable organic food
industry, many people with large gardens are growing their
own food and there are various food cooperatives and a
health food industry (sometimes genuine sometimes a con).
And how well are they working? Well for some - particularly
the more affluent who can afford to pay two or three times
the price of supermarket food - quite well. But it is
clearly not working for the majority or people. The
statistics show the ever expanding increase in diabetes and
its sister deceases.
So what could I do about this? The answer to me was a system
which would enable anyone to grow their own food.
||My life’s work has been in innovation. My pioneering work
with Moldflow changed an industry and my work on wicking
beds has helped thousands of people around the world to grow
their own food.
Now my current work is on the wicking basket - a system
which I want to make as simple, cheap and reliable that
anyone can grow healthy food.
This is the subject of my next article.
However I really understand that people will only start
eating vegetables if they really taste good. Now I am no
Jammie Oliver but my third article in this series will focus
on my attempts to prepare and cook vegetables so they
actually taste good. This is a typical innovation project -
lots of failures with the occasional success.