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Diabetes and Cholesterol: A Connection

August 12, 2001

Two medical-related stories appeared in The New York Times the other day: "Diet and Exercise Are Found to Cut Diabetes by Half" and "Anticholesterol Drug Pulled After Link With 31 Deaths."  The obvious link between them is invisible to too many people.

Diabetes: Diet and Exercise

In the first story, patients who ate less fat, exercised two and a half hours per week, and lost a moderate amount of weight cut the incidence of diabetes by more than half among those most at risk.  These results were better than obtained by use of drugs.

Well, if you don't poison the body with fats, burden it with too much weight, and if you combine that with moving around a bit like the body was designed to do, of course the body will function better and be much less likely to develop diabetes.

Since the vast bulk of the fat which people ingest is contained in animal-derived foods -- meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs -- one way to avoid diabetes is to eat in a more vegetarian style.

Cholesterol: Diet

As far as the other story about the anticholesterol drug being pulled, most people don't really need that drug at all.  The body produces cholesterol on its own.  You don't need to ingest much, if any, to be healthy.  Only people with a genetic problem which causes their own bodies to produce too much cholesterol perhaps need a cholesterol-lowering drug.

But for most people, wouldn't the obvious solution be -- stop eating so many foods containing cholesterol.  Then you won't need a cholesterol-lowering drug that may kill you.

Cholesterol is found, in practical terms, only in animal-derived foods -- the same foods implicated in diabetes.  People insist on eating huge amounts of these foods every day, and then want a "magic pill" to cure them of the poison that they have ingested.

Well, even if another cholesterol-lowering drug works for them, that wouldn't take care of the problem that eating animal foods is, as the companion story reported,  linked to the incidence of diabetes -- as well, I should add, to the incidence of many types of cancers.

Diabetes and Cholesterol: Common Lesson

The common lesson of the two stories is: take care of your body by exercising and avoiding animal foods, and your chances of living a longer, healthier life will be greatly increased.

Unfortunately, people are lazy, and it's true most would rather pop a pill than alter their "lifestyle."  But the proven, dramatic benefits of such lifestyle changes are rarely given the prominence they deserve in the medical advice that most people receive. 

If patients adopted preventative measures involving lifestyle changes, the medical/pharmaceutical establishment would make far less money from selling people its magic pills and treating them for heart disease and cancer.  Could that be the reason why such preventative measures seem to take the back seat to the magic pills in the medical advice and treatment that most people receive?

This was a selection from The Daily Diatribe

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