Diabetes: Diet and Gut Health

My Notes From the Diabetes Summit

Interview with Dr. Brian Mowll

I think that diabetes is an area that there is a gross lack of one on one properly supervised care for people with diabetes. Their sort of thrown into the conventional health system where their seen four times a year for fifteen minutes at most, it’s just pharmaceutical management and people are not satisfied or happy with that they want something different but there wasn’t really anything out there for them.

The condition itself is the pinnacle of metabolic disease and the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes in particular can be a tipping point for people to change their life. Some people bury their head in the sand until they get that next tipping point which may be that they can’t feel their feet or they have a heart attack or something serious happens. For a lot of people that diagnosis is a wake up call, people come in ready to make changes as a practitioner that’s what I love. Contrary to some of the myths out there of what people with diabetes are I think most people are eager and excited to make changes their just not told what to do.

It goes beyond nutrition although nutrition is a huge component, there are many things and they all surround lifestyle. With good lifestyle modification it can be treated and we can make a huge impact on the disease. I think diet is a huge component but I do think it goes well beyond that, we have set ourselves up not only in the U.S. but now globally in what I think is the perfect storm for diabetes and metabolic disease. Were overworked were overstressed, we live in a very toxic world, our bodies are overwhelmed with toxins, poor quality foods, overly processed foods, high in processed carbohydrates, food additives and dyes. We are poisoning ourselves with our food not to mention our thoughts, were under rested were not sleeping as well as we used to. For long periods of time that can short circuit our metabolism and cause problems. It just piles on there’s gut problems and autoimmune disease, there’s other issues like that, nutrient deficiencies in our food supply. All of this piles on and creates this perfect storm to short circuit the metabolism and ultimately break the blood sugar regulation system and lead to diabetes.

The conventional care it’s called the standard of care it’s drugs with a small amount of attention paid to loose some weight, get some exercise, watch what you eat, it’s very limited advise. It’s completely ridiculous when you look at carbohydrates, except for some of the fiber they all break down into sugar, eventually glucose. Why are you going to feed glucose to someone who has a metabolic issue it doesn’t make any sense that’s what is recommended. If you look at the ADA standard and the American Academy of Clinical Endocrinology standards they are 99% medication, pharmaceutical management to just suppress blood sugar it does nothing to address the root cause of diabetes.

We can all agree that vegetables are good, fiber is good, it’s the rest of the stuff they recommend not whole grain fiber we want vegetable fiber. Most people agree that some animal products are good for the body as well and you need protein. I think the disagreement comes in with the carbohydrates, the fruit, whole grains and the reduction of saturated fat. I think the confusion comes in because there is evidence that free fat acids in the bloodstream can lead to insulin resistant so they take that and extrapolate it to clearly it must be eating foods that are high in these fats that caused the problem to begin with and really that’s just not true and never been shown to be true. In fact it’s the carbohydrates that drive the liver to produce free fatty acids and triglycerides and then cause insulin resistance. This was shown in a study on this done by Dr. Jeff Volek back in November it was the diet high in carbohydrates and low in saturated fat that caused the most free fatty acids  in the bloodstream.

They will study high fat diets and talk about the negative implications of them but what you don’t read in the study unless you read between the lines these people were also eating a high carbohydrate diet. They will say it’s a low carb diet but it’s forty percent of calories which is not even close to low. That’s part of the problem if your eating a high carbohydrate diet then saturated fat can potentially cause some problems especially if your body isn’t tuned to burn them. If you do it correctly and cut down the carbs and get your metabolism ramped up to burn fat effectively then there’s absolutely nothing wrong with saturated fats in fact their the healthiest fat.

It has been shown through clinical experience and published research trials that diabetes can absolutely be reversed, we are talking about type 2 diabetes, type 1 is an autoimmune condition. Type 1 can be improved and maybe prevented but certainly there is no cure at this point once it’s full blown and the pancreas is damaged or destroyed. Type 2 diabetes can absolutely be reversed there is two classic published data sets that show the reversal of type 2 diabetes, one is bariatric surgery, in bariatric surgery they have shown that up to 75% of people with diabetes post surgery will have reversed their type 2 diabetes. Not that I’m recommending that as a therapy but it’s interesting from a research perspective. Secondly one of the people on the summit is Dr. Roy Taylor from the U.K. he looked at that data and said I wonder if there’s a way to do this through diet. He put people on a strict diet of not only carb restrictive, fat and calorie restrictive and was able to get them to lose substantial weight and more importantly the visceral fat and more importantly than that they were able to reverse their type 2 diabetes in as little as four weeks with many of them completely eliminating medication. He went back and redid that trial several times and each time he was able to repeat the benefits. He does MRI studies at the New Castle University and he showed through MRI what they were losing was the visceral fat, the deep angry fat around the organs that’s inflammatory and causes insulin resistance packs in around the liver and pancreas. By doing that they were able to lower their blood sugar, get off medications and reverse type 2 diabetes.

I think controlling blood sugar levels is under discussed, obviously everyone knows the big three which is body composition, physical activity and diet those are certainly important. I don’t believe the being overweight causes diabetes, there is plenty of people in the world who are obese and overweight who do not have type 2 diabetes in fact have completely normal blood sugar. I don’t think we can blame overweight or necessarily being over fat however it is a factor and it plays a roll and I think losing weight especially visceral fat is very helpful in controlling and regulating blood sugar and reversing diabetes.

Diet is critically important all the things we discussed eating, a real food diet low in processed foods particularly processed carbohydrate foods, sugar and starch. High in vegetable matter and good quality not lean proteins with full fat and lots of healthy fat. Whether you go into full blown nutritional ketogenic diet or you do a low carb diet I think there is room for personalization there but certainly diet is a key factor. Activity is very important were not meant to be sedentary were meant to move. Genetically were programmed biologically, we developed to be active we have to burn the glycogen that’s stored in the muscles and in the liver so we can then replenish it out of the blood supply with glucose. Exercise is one of the ways we can burn sugar and glucose without even needing insulin it’s very important for people with insulin resistance. We talk about three different forms of exercise some cardio some resistance training and then doing some sprint training and some high intensity training as well.

There are some other things I like to mention sleep I think is critically important, sleep and rest there are studies that show one night of lack of sleep triggers insulin resistance and certainly night after night of that could be a major factor of developing diabetes and insulin resistance. Stress is another huge factor your stress hormones, your cortisol and adrenalin go up that raises blood sugar it makes it more difficult to regulate blood sugar. For many reasons stress can be a huge factor, immune health is important. We know in conventional diabetes care that when the blood sugar is high and we can’t really explain why often times it’s due to an infection like a tooth abscess or a gut infection or a cold or something that people are dealing with so immune health is really important.

Gut health is extremely important it seems everything comes back to the gut. Gut health not only in type 2 diabetes which can drive inflammation and insulin resistance that is an unhealthy gut but leaky gut, intestinal permeability, is implicated in triggering type 1 diabetes and other autoimmune diseases. We have to look at organ function and metabolic function, to me if we say the pancreas is the main organ in type 1 diabetes to me the liver is the main organ in type 2 diabetes. It’s the metabolic organ it processes everything we eat it processes nutrients and ultimately it’s in charge of the brain, pancreas and other organs. In charge of regulating the blood sugar, we have to make sure all these parts are working.

I get a lot of questions on blood sugar being elevated even on a low carb diet, even on zero carbs that’s liver dysfunction, sometimes adrenal dysfunction, sometimes stress. You have to get the liver supported and working well so you can control blood sugar. Hormones play a big roll, thyroid hormone I mentioned cortisol and adrenalin, testosterone in men plays a big roll and estrogen in women. There are other hormones that all act with insulin and with the rest of this chemical soup that ultimately determines how our metabolism, how our metabolic function is going to work.

Something that I never hear discussed is nutrient status, people run out and buy all these supplements that may be good or may not be good. Sometimes with high doses of things like chromium, biotin, zinc and so forth because there is data showing their beneficial but they have no idea if they really need that or if their absorbing it or utilizing it. Vitamin D is another example I think it’s important to test these levels to look at these levels and find out if your deficient you may have no idea if your deficient in lipoic acid, carnitine or CoQ10 unless you do the digging to find out and that’s when the supplementation can be almost magical and make a big difference.

People are cutting out red meat and cutting out meat altogether and don’t realize the damage their doing by these vectors for nutrients. Plants are great sources for vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients but they don’t have everything we need, the fat soluble vitamins and some of these others like carnitine and other certain minerals our omega 3 fats are best found in animal sources so we really need a well rounded diet.

The biggest thing I learned putting on this summit is probably the emphasis on the gut a lot comes back to the gut and digestive tract. I did a lot of research on that because it’s not something on the surface that you might assume but gut health ultimately drives overall health and inflammation which is a key factor in type 2 diabetes that is driven from the gut. We also learned the unimportance of total cholesterol and don’t give up hope type 1 and type 2 diabetes is preventable. Type 1 diabetes you can reduce your need for insulin, insulin is not without problems high insulin levels whether your injecting it or making it yourself is inflammatory it causes fat storage. You will eventually become insulin resistant even as a type 1 diabetic your putting yourself at risk for other problems, cancer and so forth. It’s important to know that you can make a difference you can make a change by making lifestyle changes rather than just relying on medications only for diabetes care.

Dr. Brian Mowll web page

His you tube channel


Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is for educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for diagnosis or treatment rendered by a licensed physician. It is essential that you discuss with your doctor any symptoms or medical problems that you may be experiencing.

M. Scherker medical researcher


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