Diabetes and Cholesterol: A
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
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
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
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
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