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John Bradshaw - Dealing With Diabetes


John Bradshaw - Dealing With Diabetes
John Bradshaw - Dealing With Diabetes
TOPICS: Take Charge of Your Health, Health, Sickness

Welcome to Take Charge of Your Health. I'm John Bradshaw. This is part 2 of our 7-part series, in which you'll be equipped to make decisions that will improve your health. If there's one thing the pandemic has taught us, it's how precious our health is. When your health is jeopardized, you wish there was something you could do to give you the best chance to not just survive but to thrive. So let's thrive together. Welcome to Take Charge of Your Health.

This is Take Charge of Your Health, brought to you by It Is Written. Tonight we're going to talk specifically about a disease that affects 1 in 10 Americans. And while more than 34 million Americans have diabetes, more than 1 in 3 American adults have what's known as prediabetes. And the vast majority don't even know it. Diabetes is dangerous and makes a person vulnerable to many other very difficult conditions. So, we want to know what we can do about it. The great news is that very often there's a lot you can do, and it isn't difficult. We'll speak with medical experts, physicians, and we'll check in with guests Dr. Fay Kazzi and Dr. Steve Lee. We're also going to hear from people who have turned it around, once diabetic and now diabetic no more. So let's dive right in.

John Bradshaw: Around 120 million people in the United States are diabetic or prediabetic. Diabetes is a huge concern in this country right now. And with those kind of numbers, then there's a very good chance that you are challenged by diabetes, and if not you, then certainly somebody that you know. And so, to speak about diabetes, I am thrilled to welcome Dr. Lyndi Schwartz, who is the program director of the internal medicine residency program at the Kettering Health Network based in Kettering, Ohio, just outside Dayton, Ohio. Dr. Schwartz, thank you for joining me.

Dr. Lyndi Schwartz: Thank you for having me, John. It's a pleasure to be here.

John Bradshaw: And Dr. Wes Youngberg is a lifestyle medicine specialist. He has his own clinic in southern California, and he's one of the founding directors of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. Dr. Youngberg, thanks for being with us.

Dr. Wes Youngberg: Great to be with you again, John.

John Bradshaw: All right, let's talk about diabetes. I wanna start with you, Dr. Youngberg. I'm gonna start right at the beginning. What is diabetes?

Dr. Wes Youngberg: Well, you know, I've been treating diabetics for over 30 years, and what I always like to say in lectures is diabetes is, is having a blood sugar that's so high that it actually leads to serious metabolic complications, primarily heart disease, kidney failure; it can lead to nerve damage, amputation risk, and, and that's why we want to make sure that we're checking blood sugars early enough so we never get to the point where we have those complications.

John Bradshaw: Dr. Schwartz, diabetes, it, it, it's not, it doesn't just come in one flavor, so there's Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes. Can you talk about what each one is? What's the difference between one and the other?

Dr. Lyndi Schwartz: Yes, thank you, John. So, yeah, there is Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes. It turns out that Type 1 diabetes only represents about five percent of the people who have diabetes. And, and then Type 2 is the majority, about 95 percent. So, Type 1 diabetes generally happens in people who are young children, although there can be a second peak later in life, but Type 1 diabetes happens in people who have an autoimmune, that's a big word, destruction of the pancreas. In other words, the body develops an abnormal, antibody against certain cells in the pancreas, and so they have absolutely no pancreatic function. The cells that produce insulin are totally destroyed. Um, on the other hand, Type 2 diabetes really is probably multifactorial. Um, in terms of Type 1 diabetes, we have genetic markers for it. In terms of Type 2, it's a little bit more complex. Um, typically you're looking at probably what we'd call a, multiple genes involved, and also environmental factors. So there are environmental factors and genetic factors. And, it tends to happen to people older in life. So Type 2 diabetes, generally older in life, multifactorial, environmental, with some possible genetic factors. Type 1, it's totally genetic, excuse me, it's totally, yeah, totally genetic, factors in very young, people, less than 15 years old generally.

John Bradshaw: Uh, Dr. Youngberg, you get sick; you go to the doctor; the doctor gives you something and says, "Take this, and this is going to keep this thing under control". Uh, that might be the best thing. There may be better options. When it comes to diabetes, what can people do, rather than go to a doctor and taking something for the rest of their life, is there anything that a person can do to lower their risk or even turn it around?

Dr. Wes Youngberg: Well, John, the most important thing is to get tested appropriately so you get properly diagnosed. Uh, what, what people don't realize is that even though, you know, diabetes and prediabetes, literally over a third of the population, has that, and if you just count the population that's older than age 40, it's over half of the adult population having either prediabetes or diabetes. And so this is a huge issue, but the, the number one thing is to get tested appropriately. And, and what we're learning is the most sensitive time to check your blood sugars is not fasting, like we typically do with our yearly physicals, but about an hour after the beginning of a meal or, your favorite sweet, dessert. That's when you want to check your blood sugar to see how high your blood sugar really goes, because that's what picks up diabetes and prediabetic tendencies, maybe 10 years earlier than other tests might.

John Bradshaw: Okay. Dr. Schwartz, talk to me about what somebody with diabetes might wanna do about their lifestyle, their diet, about whatever it is. What are some of the things that you can put into practice that are gonna start winding this back?

Dr. Lyndi Schwartz: One of the most important things to do is to dispel some of the myths about diabetes and diet. I don't know, what many others think, but there is so much literature now about, what sort of diet really helps to prevent or mitigate diabetes. And, in fact, there's a, there's a, a group that publishes worldwide every year the Global Burden of Disease. And what they found is that, people who eat too much salt, not enough whole grains, and not enough fruit are at greater risk of developing diabetes. I just, let me highlight one of the things with that is that one of the myths with the diabetes and diet has to do with eating what people call carbohydrates, and also fruit. So, diabetics, you know, oftentimes think, I'm speaking now about Type 2 diabetics, they often think, "I can't eat fruit. It makes my blood sugar go up". Um, later on we can talk about some of the mechanisms of why the fruit is really not the problem, but what diabetics really need, and this is according to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. They have now acknowledged that the best diet for a diabetic, a Type 2 diabetic, is a plant-based diet. So I recommend for diabetics a plant-based diet: whole grains, legumes, nuts, fruit, and vegetables.

John Bradshaw: Dr. Youngberg, is there anybody (we talk about Type 2 diabetics) is there anybody that's just beyond help? Or if there are, how many people are beyond help? And how many people, really? And, and I want to be as real as possible. How many people can take charge of their health when it comes to diabetes? You know, of a percentage, is it a little? Is it a lot? Go ahead.

Dr. Wes Youngberg: You know, I've, I've just been, for the last few years, been involved in a telemedicine group program to help people who had out-of-control diabetes for decades. And, and what I, I love to see is that people who have literally struggled for 20, 30 years with out-of-control diabetes and they get on what, like Dr. Schwartz said, a plant-based diet, and they get on it, they have the proper support, and they learn how to do this effectively. They literally get off all their insulin after decades of being on insulin and, and we find that 67 percent of these hardcore diabetics are actually able to reverse their diabetes, according to the criteria that the American Diabetes Association has established, in less than a year. Sixty-seven percent of these, of these hopeless cases, if they, if, if you're given, if you give your body half a chance, it can heal itself, but you've got to give it the right nutrients, like Dr. Schwartz mentioned. You've got to give it lots of nutrients that come from a whole plant-based diet primarily.

John Bradshaw: Okay, so, Dr. Schwartz, the person who's, who's getting their diet from the local burger place and the other pizza shop, what actually happens inside the body to cause or to, drive diabetes? If you're eating foods otherwise, what takes place in there?

Dr. Lyndi Schwartz: You know, people always think if you eat sugar, you get diabetes and that causes the insulin resistance. The fact of the matter is the greatest thing that causes diabetes is processed meat. The, the chance of the risk of developing diabetes is greater with processed meat than it is with even, like, say, sugar-sweetened beverages, and this is the mechanism. And this mechanism has been studied beautifully, exquisite studies looking at this. And it's a, a thing called lipotoxicity. It's a big word, but it means that the fat that's taken in by these, by these animal proteins and animal fat is actually causing mechanisms inside the cell not to work appropriately. I'll give you an example. Let's say, for example, and the reason fruit has gotten a, kind of a bum rap, a diabetic eats a piece of fruit, and the blood sugar goes up, and they blame the banana, let's say. But it's not the banana's fault. What happens is that meat they've been eating over the years has caused damage. When people eat, the sugar will, signal the pancreas to produce insulin; it goes to the skeletal muscle or the liver cell, and through a series, insulin goes there, and through a series of mechanisms inside the cell, there is a transporter that goes to the top of the cell to take the glucose into the cell. Well, what we now know is that, this fat from the animal protein is toxic to those mechanisms inside the cell, and fat begins to build up; toxic fats build up and blunt the, the mechanism that allows the transporter to get glucose into the cell. So the fat, the animal fat, is doing it, but when you eat the banana, all of a sudden the mechanism is no longer in place, the blood sugar goes up, and you blame the banana. It turns out that animal protein in, with lots of things inside the animal protein, such as saturated fat, are toxic, and they cause insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes.

John Bradshaw: Dr. Youngberg, let me ask you this. Let's say somebody comes to you, they, and they, they say, "I'm diabetic. I, it doesn't seem to me like there's anything I can do about it. I'm giving ya five minutes". What would your "Okay, I've just got a couple of moments" pitch be to that person who really wants to take charge of their diabetes?

Dr. Wes Youngberg: So that person needs some encouragement. They need to see some success. And the, the, the best way to show people success is to say, "Okay, I know you don't like checking your blood sugars, but do this for me". If you want to really know how to do this properly, start checking your blood sugars, like I said earlier, about one hour after the beginning of a meal, and just eat whatever you normally eat. And do that for a couple days. You know, whatever your favorite foods are, you know, splurge a little bit, eat your dessert, see how high your blood sugars actually go at one hour. That might actually scare you, because if you've been diabetic for a while and you haven't been checking your blood sugars very often, you have no idea how high your blood sugar can really be one hour after consuming a regular meal. So now you know what the problem is, how high your blood sugar really is after the meal, and, and now, without changing even your diet yet, go for a walk right after finishing that meal, for a half an hour. We know from, from our own research over the past 20 years that for every minute that you go for a walk immediately after finishing a meal, your blood sugar one hour later is going to drop anywhere from one to three points. And so if your blood sugars are running high 'cause you're an out-of-control diabetic, you can literally drop up, nearly 100 points after one hour after the meal mark just simply by going for a 30-minute light-to-moderate walk. That begins to show you the power of exercise, of activity in, in turning around that underlying insulin resistance.

John Bradshaw: So it seems to me, and this is what I find fascinating, that, diabetes is such a devastating disease, and so many of us are afflicted by it, but what you're saying, Dr. Schwartz, I'd like you to comment on this, what you're saying is that the path to great success is really the path of some pretty simple steps. Is, is that really the fact?

Dr. Lyndi Schwartz: Yes. That's absolutely the fact, John. Let me tell you, interestingly, if you ask somebody, "What is the best way, to prevent diabetes"? And, and Dr. Youngberg is absolutely right. I believe in exercise and a plant-based diet. But let's say they ask, "What is, what, what kind of food helps the most"? Would it be berries or cruciferous vegetables or whole grains? And people would probably say cruciferous vegetables or fish or whatever. And it's the whole grains. And it's so simple, because there's a, there's something in whole grains, it's called cereal fiber, that really improves the body's ability to respond, by producing more insulin. And so cereal fiber does that. Additionally, it produces, these short-chain fatty acids that really improve the body's ability to produce insulin response. So it's very simple. Exercise, whole grains, and fruit, that's, that's really about as simple as it gets.

John Bradshaw: Let me ask you this. So if I want to get more whole grains in my diet, what do I do? What should I be eating?

Dr. Lyndi Schwartz: Um, a whole grain has the bran, the germ, and the endosperm. So when you go to the store and you try to get the loaf of bread that says on it, "whole wheat" or "seven grain," um, look and see if the first word on that package is "enriched" or "bleached" or if it says "whole". If it says "whole," that's what you buy. So, legumes, beans, lentils, whole grains, quinoa, you know, all those kinds of things, rice, brown rice, brown pasta, those are some simple things. You know, you don't have to, you don't have to quit eating pasta, but eat the whole-grain pasta, the brown rice, and those kinds of things, very simple. Beans and rice, you know, is just a wonderful way to get whole grains.

John Bradshaw: Dr. Youngberg, you've been working with people with diabetes, for many, many years now. So, where do we find motivation? Because you and I both know there are people thinking right now, "Yeah," and there's even someone thinking, "Yeah, I've heard it all before". Okay, but we want to get somebody, you know, out of their chair and into the kitchen or, or, and, and, and preparing something decent or into their walking shoes and taking a walk around the block. What do you find is the best motivation to help people say, "Okay, I can do this; this can become a reality in my life"?

Dr. Wes Youngberg: Well, John, a lot of people think they're just, they're just too old, that they've had this too long and that it's really too late, and, and therefore they don't have any hope. And so what I see as my job as an educator and a lifestyle medicine specialist is, is to show them that there is hope. And, and, and so we show them the examples of, of, of a patient I had recently, who five weeks before his 90th birthday was diagnosed with out-of-control diabetes, and he said, "I'm going to reverse this. Show me how". And he did it in five weeks. We have the documentation. And, and then he, he went to his 90th birthday and he celebrated. He said, "Look what I did"! And he, and he did it by, by doing the things we've been talking about, going to a 100-percent plant-based diet, and in his case he decided to do two meals a day. He stopped eating late at night, stopped snacking whenever he felt like it. and he started going for a 45-minute walk after breakfast and a little walk after lunch. And, and it was just transformative, and in, with just five weeks, his hemoglobin A1C had gone from 7.2 all the way down to 6.2. And then three months later, his hemoglobin A1C, which is that caramelization factor, that glycosylation or glazing of sugar to proteins that we measure on a regular base to, to see what the average blood sugar problems are, and that came down under even the prediabetic cutoff, which is 5.7. And, you know, that was six years ago. He's now 96 years old, and he has a hemoglobin A1C of 5.1 percent. It's better than most college students. And so never think that you're too old.

John Bradshaw: Fantastic! So encouraging. It's obviously accessible. It can be done. Dr. Wes Youngberg, thank you very much for joining me.

Dr. Wes Youngberg: Ah, good to be with you, John.

John Bradshaw: Dr. Lyndi Schwartz, it's been great having you. Thank you so much.

Dr. Lyndi Schwartz: It's been wonderful. Thank you, John.

John Bradshaw: I'm joined now by Phil White. He's joining me from Simi Valley in southern California. Phil, thanks so much for joining me.

Phil White: A pleasure to be with you today, John.

John Bradshaw: You've got an incredible story. We're talking about diabetes. You were advanced stages of prediabetes, but something happened. Okay, walk me through where you were, what happened, where you are now. I know it's going to be a great story.

Phil White: Well, certainly, John, I mean, there are, there are a lot of details to this, but I'll just give you a thumbnail sketch. Basically, life had gotten out of control for me. Um, as you mentioned, I was in the advanced stages of prediabetes. Uh, I was in a situation where, I was severely overweight. Uh, I was in, in actually class 3, diabetes. I was considered to be morbidly obese. Uh, I weighed nearly 290 pounds, and, I, I had, high cholesterol. My cholesterol was out of control. Uh, I was on blood pressure meds. Um, that was life. And the interesting thing for me, John, is, I want to tell you that, I have been a vegetarian for a number of years, and, and even to the point where I was largely, largely vegan. Uh, but I came to learn a number of things about my lifestyle and my, my dietary habits. Uh, there are a lot of things that, have the label vegan on it, but they're not healthy for you. And so, I, I kind of started learning my lessons, and I was going to have to make some lifestyle choices and changes, if I was going to, to be different. And, and, you know, I, I heard that other people could do it, and I thought, okay, why not me? Because I was not happy with the way I was. I was not happy with, being severely over-obese. I was not happy with having low energy and all of those side, sorts of things. So, yeah. I, I just had a reality check and said, hey, do I want to, be in a situation where I'm in poor health, as I'm, as I'm heading into retirement years and, and not be able to enjoy the vitality of life? So, that was, the reality, check for me and the point of choice where I knew that I had to make some, some changes.

John Bradshaw: So what did you do? What changes did you make? How did that play out in your life?

Phil White: Well, I think there were a number of factors for me, John. Um, first of all, I saw that other people were able to make choices, and so I, I told my wife, I said, "Jan, we've got to make some changes. We've got to do some things". And at that point in time, we joined, a Diabetes Undone program, that was, under the direction of Dr. Wes Youngberg, and his video presentations. And, the more we got into that, the more we could see, hey, we can do this.

John Bradshaw: And so, things started, well, thing, things, pounds started falling off. Talk to me about that weight loss journey.

Phil White: Well, it, it wasn't long before, when, when I started eating right, and making, healthy choices that I could see, this process taking place in my life. Uh, just to give you a, a, a point of reference for this, John, I had actually been exercising quite a bit, as, as much as my, my physical health would allow me to. I was exercising three times a week. I was going out to the park, with a friend, and we were working out there in the park. And in a period of four years, four years, I lost 15 pounds, working out hard, I mean, hard. I didn't change anything else but exercise, and there are so many people that have this thing wrong. They think that exercise is the key. I actually discovered four points in my life that would make the difference, for me. Number one was what I call "engage". I had to engage my mind. I had to make a trip to my mind to realize that I could make these kinds of changes, that are between the ears; that was the first thing that needed to happen for me. And once I made that choice, I recognized that the next thing I had to do was I needed to start eating right, because it's, as they say, it's 80 percent what you eat and 20 percent what you do. The pounds started coming off. And you'll be interested to know that what, that it took me, just exercising alone, it took me four years to lose 15 pounds. In four weeks of making these lifestyle changes, I lost my next 15 pounds. And when I saw the train leaving the station, I said, "You know what, I'm on this baby. We're, we're gonna, we're gonna take it all the way". And so, you know, I, I took it down. I've, I've lost 80 pounds, and I'm feeling better. I'm no longer on any medications. I don't have high blood pressure at all. And the fourth key is what I call "excel". And once you do the other three, three, then you can experience excellence in your life. And that's what I have. I went to my cardiologist a, a year ago, and he says, "Listen, man". He says, "You're, you're just absolutely amazing". He says, "You have cut your risk of a cardiovascular event by more than 50 percent".

John Bradshaw: That is phenomenal! Real quick, anything you regret? Number one, and number two: Can anyone do what you've done?

Phil White: Absolutely no regrets. No regrets. And, to, can anyone do it? Listen, man, if I could do it weighing, weighing nearly 290 pounds, you know, and I've lost well over 80 pounds, anybody can this. Anybody can do it.

John Bradshaw: Magnificent. Phil, thank you very much. I really, really appreciate you taking your time and sharing your, inspirational story and experience. Thank you, God bless you.

Phil White: Absolutely. My pleasure.

John Bradshaw: So let's talk about sugar for a moment. And let's talk about how you might be able to get a whole lot less of it into your diet and into your life. I am joined by Dr. Fay Kazzi, who is a registered dietician, a health professional, and an author. Dr. Kazzi, it has been said that "a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down," but I think that was probably some bad advice. Talk to me about sugar.

Dr. Fay Kazzi: Yeah, so actually sugar in and of itself isn't a bad nutrient. It, there are some good things that are attached to sugar, and though that statement does say that "a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down," fruits and all forms of fruits have a good amount of sugar in it, but it's attached to vitamins and nutrients and enzymes that help to metabolize and digest and give us energy. So in that context, sugar is a wonderful thing. Um, it's when we extract sugar from sugar cane and from different types of foods that provide us sugar and we consume that in concentrated amounts, that's where the problems begin to arise for us.

John Bradshaw: Okay, let's talk about how we can get a little bit less and how we can avoid some of the pitfalls that can be associated with sugar.

Dr. Fay Kazzi: Yeah, so one of the best ways to limit your consumption of sugar is to stay away from drinks or to limit the amounts of drinks that are very concentrated in these sugars. So, example, a good example is sodas. Uh, cutting soda from our diet and replacing it with, different types of water that could be flavored. And I like to do this myself. It's called spa water. It's where you add slices of strawberries and berries and mint and maybe a slice of lemon, and you let that saturate in your water, and the great thing that you can do with this also is you can add, different types of natural sweeteners, stevia from the stevia plant. You can actually take stevia leaves, and you can find this at most, most health stores, and you pluck those and put them inside that water and just let it seep in the water for a day in your fridge, with these fruits, and it can actually produce a delicious-tasting, water that's free of concentrated amounts of sugar.

John Bradshaw: It is not hard to imagine how too much sugar can be, a little harmful for people. As a matter of fact, I have a can of something here, a popular soda that contains 51 grams of sugar. Now, admittedly, this is a 16-ounce can, and a typical can is 12 ounces, but it's also very typical for people to drink more than one. So in this 16-ounce can, 51 grams of sugar. So what I'm going to do, Dr. Kazzi, is take my spoon and my sugar bowl and put the, the 17 teaspoons of sugar into this cup, and we'll see just how much sugar that is. But I don't want to stop you from carrying on, because you're sharing some really important stuff. Go right ahead.

Dr. Fay Kazzi: Yeah, so, that is definitely a game-changer when you actually can visibly see the amount of sugar that's being poured into your drinks. Um, and here's some interesting facts about sugar. So right now we know that diabetes is on the rise. There's Type 1 and there's Type 2 diabetes. Type 1 is more of an autoimmune, issue, and it's not as prevalent as Type 2 diabetes. There's actually around 30 million people worldwide that have diabetes right now, and somewhere upwards in the 80 million that don't even know that they have diabetes; they're in the prediabetes state. And so, what you want to do is limit the amount of sugar in your diet so that you can help to control your diabetes. Now, but there's lots of different ways of doing this, but one of the best ways, of course, is to stay away from foods that are very concentrated in those sugars and focus more on a whole-food, plant-based diet. You can have your fruits, and you can have, foods that, naturally have sugars in them, as long as it's in the context of this whole-food, plant-based diet. For example, if you want to have an apple, you can, but you can only eat so many apples. If you eat two or three apples, you're a champion. So, the thing is that these sugars are attached to a lot of water and fiber, and that tends to fill us up and expand in our bodies and make us feel full so that we don't need those extra calories. So sugar, again, is not bad as long as it's attached to nutrients. Sugar that is extracted and put into, for example, sodas or sugary drinks or candy, the problem there is what we call, we call that empty calories. So it's giving you calories, but they're empty. There's no nutrition attached to it. So we really want to learn the techniques of focusing more on plant-based, ingredients when we're, cooking our foods and preparing our desserts, even. And you can use natural sweeteners, like dates, I love using dates, and even maple syrup, in reasonable amounts, can be a lot more effective, because they, again, are attached to nutrients.

John Bradshaw: Okay. So, I'm, I'm done with my sugar, my sugar experiment, my sugar bowl and, and so forth. And here's the amount of sugar that was in this one can. Can you see? That's a gargantuan amount of sugar. And when you are consuming this one can, okay, this is a 16-ounce as opposed to 12-ounce, and we're going on, three grams to a teaspoon, some would say four. It doesn't make a whole lot of difference. This is a colossal amount of sugar. So you drink one, two, three, four of these things, ai yai yai, it's no wonder that children climb the walls. I don't think anyone's going to say, "You must never", you might say, "treat yourself". Others might take umbrage at that term, but, you know, you can cheat a little bit and say this is for a dessert, this is for that, but, but when it becomes the, the, the major part, when it becomes a lifestyle, well, we've already heard from people tonight about what happens then. Sugar. So, do you have any final parting words of encouragement for us, Dr. Kazzi?

Dr. Fay Kazzi: Did you know the amount of sugar that we're eating right now is quite shocking in comparison to the 1850s? In 1850 your average individual was consuming about 20 pounds of processed sugar throughout the year. Twenty pounds. You know, you can kind of break that out into per-day levels. But right now we are consuming on average 160 pounds of processed white sugar every year. Just to kind of help put it in perspective, in case there's someone out there wondering, "Oh, I'm pretty sure I'm not drinking or having that much sugar". That just gives you a little idea of what the average person is consuming.

John Bradshaw: Fantastic. Dr. Kazzi, thanks for helping us to see how life can really be sweet. Appreciate you taking your time.

Dr. Fay Kazzi: You're welcome.

John Bradshaw: It is time for frequently asked questions on the subject of diabetes. And so I'm glad to be able to welcome back Dr. Lyndi Schwartz. She is the program director for the internal medicine residency program at the Kettering Health Network based in Kettering, just outside of Dayton, Ohio. And alongside her is Dr. Wes Youngberg, who is a lifestyle medicine specialist with his own clinic in southern California, one of the founding directors of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. Dr. Youngberg, let's start with you, frequently asked questions. When somebody asks you something about diabetes, what's the burning question, and how do you answer?

Dr. Wes Youngberg: The burning question, John, is, "Hey, I'm hearing all this information about the paleo diet and if I just stay away from carbohydrates and eat more meat, that I can get rid of my diabetes". And so I, I, I suggest to them that, yeah, you may be able to lower your blood sugars temporarily by doing that, but at what cost? You see, the whole point of treating diabetes should be improving your health, should be improving the health of the organs that are damaged by diabetes. And we know that a high-meat diet in particular is really bad for the kidneys, one of the organs that takes the brunt of the damage of diabetes. And I have had many patients who have come to me after going on a paleo diet or a high, high animal protein ketogenic diet; they have really blown out their kidneys. Their, their glomerular filtration rate has dropped precipitously to the point where they're close to requiring kidney dialysis. They come to me for answers, and I say, "Completely throw that diet out. Get on a 100 percent plant-based diet". And all of a sudden the kidneys start regenerating and getting their function back. The inflammation goes away, and the glomerular filtration rate starts to go back up, and many times I see that reversed to the point where they don't even have any level, any stage of chronic kidney disease.

John Bradshaw: And I know what somebody is thinking. Somebody is thinking, "Well, that's a lot to ask". But I'll tell you what is a lot to ask. It's a lot to ask a physician to take your leg off at the knee if that limb can be saved. It's a lot to die young. So, this certainly isn't too much if you are serious about reversing a pretty significant, health challenge. Dr. Schwartz, what is a question you are frequently asked, and how do you respond?

Dr. Lyndi Schwartz: You know, diabetics have been told for such a long time that they have to have a low-carbohydrate diet that when I tell them that the low-carbohydrate diet is not the best for them, that, in fact, a high- carbohydrate, low-fat diet is best, they become concerned about that. And then they also want to know, when I recommend the plant-based diet, is "Where do I get my protein"? Uh, people are really stuck on protein, and they want to make sure they have adequate amounts. So I have to explain, you know, that the legumes and the beans and the whole grains and the vegetables are full of wonderful protein, that the body can use, and there'll be no deficit.

John Bradshaw: Dr. Youngberg, what's another frequently asked question on the subject of diabetes? You handle these all the time. What are people asking you?

Dr. Wes Youngberg: Well, the, the problem is what are, I'm concerned about the complications, and, and, and as you just pointed out, John, I just recently had a patient, today even, whose brother died after saying, "I'm not going to do dialysis anymore. I'm, I'm tired of doing dialysis". And, and so, you know, some people, the only reason they are alive is because three times a week they spend four or more hours at a dialysis center getting their blood dialyzed because their kidneys no longer work. And what we're suggesting is that the vast majority of people who require dialysis could have prevented that if they would have paid attention to the things that we're discussing right now.

John Bradshaw: Dr. Schwartz, another frequently asked question on the subject of diabetes.

Dr. Lyndi Schwartz: Yeah. Everyone wants to know, "If my mother had it, will I also get it"? Um, and, I just tell them that, yes, the risk is greater, but it can be prevented by doing some very simple interventions. Um, so, that's, and that's a very common question for me.

John Bradshaw: Understandably. And that's a wonderful answer, too. Dr. Youngberg, we've got time for another one.

Dr. Wes Youngberg: The challenges are that so many people have prediabetes, and I suspect 90 percent of the people with prediabetes have no idea. And so, when, when patients come to me, I encourage them to get tested broadly. So don't just get the standard test. Ask your doctor for the two-hour glucose tolerance test, which has made a strong resurgence in the last year because of research at the City of Hope Hospital documenting that everybody should really get that test to see the, how at risk we all really are.

John Bradshaw: Dr. Schwartz, I'll give you the last word. Is there another frequently asked question, and if there is, I suspect there is, how do you answer?

Dr. Lyndi Schwartz: Many people are afraid about the complications. They afraid about blindness; it's very, very common. So, blindness, and I tell people that they need to have their eyes checked frequently. They're also very worried about their feet. Um, "How can I protect my feet"? And the, the changes, the lifestyle changes are so dramatic, but vision problems scares everybody. The kidney is so insidious sometimes, although it's a major issue, that the eye problems people are going to get, they always wonder, "How can I tell? What am I going to notice in my vision"? and so forth. And, I just instruct them to go to the ophthalmologist, get the annual checks that are recommended, and then really begin to, to affect their, their diet and so forth. It's interesting that you can really do a lot by just doing preventive changes. It prevents these complications from happening, the eyes being one of the top ones.

John Bradshaw: Fantastic. I want to thank you both. Dr. Lyndi Schwartz, I appreciate it. Thank you so much for joining me.

Dr. Lyndi Schwartz: Thank you, John. It's just been wonderful. Thank you so much.

John Bradshaw: Dr. Wes Youngberg, as always, it's, it's great. Thank you so much for sharing your time.

Dr. Wes Youngberg: Good to be back with you.

John Bradshaw: John Steffens joins me now. He joins me from southwest Florida with an incredible story of a remarkable turnaround in his life. John, it's really nice to have you. Thanks so much.

John Steffens: Thank you very much for having me, sir.

John Bradshaw: Tell me something about your experience with diabetes. It had you in a pretty tough place.

John Steffens: It did. It's something that I never thought I'd have to, battle with. But, last year I found myself in an emergency room because my sugar was off the charts. It was probably over 600, milligrams per deciliter, and, I was having blurred vision. And I, I noticed a tingling in my fingers, and I had, a little bit of obesity going on back then. I had sleeping, and sleep apnea was part of it. But, so I knew I had to do something different.

John Bradshaw: So, what did you do? What, you, you had a, a number of factors taking place there, and you came, you made a decision. What did you do?

John Steffens: It turns out that there's a, a wellness center run by an Adventist organization, it was a very loving place, and I was able to fortunately have the privilege of going there for three weeks, and they showed me some really practical skills with, it was an all-around healing center. It wasn't just the physical aspect of things, it was spiritual, mental, emotional, and it really put me on the right path.

John Bradshaw: What sort of changes did you make in your life?

John Steffens: Um, obviously I had to change my lifestyle, such as nutrition. And, I had to put in a regular exercise, routine and, a little bit of like stress management there that, that they taught us and, different basic coping, skills.

John Bradshaw: So, how, how, how bad were things, and, where do you think you'd be today if you hadn't sort of got on the program?

John Steffens: Well, for one thing, I'm not so sure if I would still have my sight. And, I know that maybe extremities would have been an issue, because a lot of people who have advanced diabetes conditions, you know, they end up losing limbs. But, since then I have educated myself quite a bit and actually have specialized in that area. And I've been teaching in that aspect as well at my, my church, where I started the health ministry there.

John Bradshaw: You know, that's fantastic. How quick was the turnaround? How long did it take you to see improvement?

John Steffens: At Uchee Pines, 10 days, I no longer qualified with the symptoms of, a diabetic, you know, with the, with the criteria that I'd been under. I no longer fit in that category, in a matter of 10 days.

John Bradshaw: Hold on, hold on. So you had tingling in your extremities. You were losing your sight. You had blurred vision. All this stuff, and after 10 days, you could say, "I'm no longer a diabetic"?

John Steffens: Well, the medical profession tells you that once you have diabetes, you always have, you always have it. But what I say is I no longer qualify in the criteria for a diabetic because my blood sugar has changed, right? And all the things that they measure diabetes against, I no longer fit into that picture.

John Bradshaw: So this was Type 2 diabetes. It's important to point that out, adult onset diabetes. So each day when you, you know, you start a new day, and you want to remain in this pathway to good health, what are the sorts of decisions you're making on a daily basis?

John Steffens: The way, if, once you receive the education, which Uchee Pines did give me, it gave me the basic tools to be able to look at food and nutrition in a different way I was looking at it, realizing that there are consequences for those decisions for each bite that I choose, whatever food that I was going to take in. But I'm either, I'm either gonna go back into that mode of diabetic, or I can continue to stay well if I choose the right food and the right, the right lifestyle.

John Bradshaw: So let me ask you. Is that some great sacrifice? You look at a, you look at a, I don't know, a, a donut on the one hand and on the other hand something that doesn't look like a donut. Are you saying, "Man, I'm missing out on this great food"? Or are you looking at it another way?

John Steffens: You have to reprogram the way you look at food. So when you see that donut, you know there is nothing beneficial other than the temporary enjoyment at that moment in time, but there are repercussions coming right behind that, 'cause I know where it would lead me.

John Bradshaw: Okay. And you, you're enjoying the, the, the direction you're taking now? You've learned, you learned to like sort of new foods, the healthier foods, or is it a struggle?

John Steffens: Oh, yeah, I never had an issue as far as learning to like the food of plant-based nutrition, which is basically where I, where I am now. It's, sometimes when you're around the people, even within the church, believe it or not, there are people who don't necessarily make good, you know, nutrition choices, lifestyle choices, and so, you know, they offer things to you, and it is a temptation for a moment, but you have to realize that you have a different type of education now. You can make the, a different choice, healthier choice.

John Bradshaw: Let me ask you one more question. You look ahead now. How is the life that you see in front of you different to the life that you saw in front of you a couple of years ago?

John Steffens: It's night and day. It's the difference between a bleak future where your health is being questioned. You're looking at potential, you know, bad health, results there and possibly even death down the road, much sooner. Now you're looking at, okay, this is conquerable. Now you can have a bright future, so long as you stay on the path, and you can go anywhere, really.

John Bradshaw: John, it's a fantastic story, really encouraging, very, very inspirational. What a turnaround. Thanks so much for taking time and sharing with me. I appreciate it.

John Steffens: Thank you very much.

John Bradshaw: You know, when you don't customarily exercise, even the idea of exercising can just about fill you with dread. It's easy to find reasons not to exercise. But there are so many compelling reasons why you ought to. Well, we wanna make it simple and something that you look forward to doing. To talk with us about exercise, here's Dr. Steve Lee.

Dr. Steve Lee: Thanks, John. Let's talk about jogging or running. Running is a form of exercise that has become extremely popular over the past several years, with over 7 million Americans signing up for races just last year. Physiologically, our bodies are designed for long-distance running. And over long distances humans can actually outrun most animals. In fact, there are several races every year where people run against horses, and the winner switches back and forth. Running, just like walking, requires almost no equipment, and some people actually run barefoot. But most people will want a good pair of running shoes. And while it's fun to run around a track or on a scenic trail, you can also just run around your neighborhood. Make sure you pick routes that are safe and avoid heavy traffic or other dangerous areas. Running is a high-impact sport, and this may sound bad, but high-impact sports are actually very important to build strong bones and muscle. But also, high-impact sports can have a higher chance of injury, so you may want to ease into it rather than signing up for a marathon next week. If you have any questions, you should talk to your doctor before starting any kind of exercise program. But for the vast majority of us, running is a wonderful exercise that is good for your cardiopulmonary health and improves your muscular tone and builds strong bones.

John Bradshaw: Okay. It's time to look at tonight's CREATION Life study. Although this is night 2 of Take Charge of Your Health, this is study 8 that we're looking at, study 8 of an 8-part series. You shouldn't talk about health without considering spiritual health. It's very easy to suggest that spiritual health might be the most important component of health. Study 8 is "Nutrition". And it starts with an inspiring true story, the story of Lauren, who decided to do something about her weight. And she took steps that saw her lose, over two years, 120 pounds. And when she lost 120 pounds, she began to lose even more. We share that story with you to demonstrate it really can happen. There is hope. You can take charge of your health, and you can see amazing improvements in your own personal health journey.

The study starts by asking question 1: "What was God's original diet for humanity"? And we find out by looking at two Bible verses all the way back in the book of Genesis, which is the very first book of the Bible. You know, many people are surprised to find out that the Bible talks about health. They're surprised to find out that God cares about your physical well-being. And He surely does. That is made abundantly clear in the Bible again and again and again. Just think about it. If it's true that God created human beings, the Bible says He absolutely did, then you'd think that God, the Creator of the body, would know how to take best care of the body.

So in Genesis, God said, "See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food". Then Genesis 2 in verse 9: "And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant for the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil". God originally designed human beings to eat fruit, nuts, seeds, eventually vegetables. Right there in the Garden of Eden this diet supplied humanity with everything necessary to live healthy, fulfilling, abundant lives. Today we refer to this diet as a plant-based or vegetarian diet. As Hippocrates is credited as having said, "Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food".

Okay, I want to look at question number 2 of CREATION Life study guide number 8, "Nutrition". Here's question 2: "What benefits did God promise His children if they would follow His guidelines for health"? There's a question worth considering. God said, "Here are the guidelines," but He also said, "If you follow the guidelines, you will prosper. You will do well". So you're thinking, "I'm gonna make some changes. What's in it for me"? The answer comes in Exodus chapter 15 in verse 26, where God said, "If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you".

Isn't that something? God promised that if we would trust Him and live according to His guidelines, we wouldn't have many of the common diseases that the rest of the world suffers from. Scientists have studied ancient Egyptian mummies and discovered that they suffered from, listen, in ancient Egypt, people were suffering and dying from and with arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and a whole variety of other ailments. Not surprisingly, these ailments mirror the common ailments that we face in the world today. God said to His people way back then, "Follow me, and you won't get any of that". Now, let's try and be appropriate and balanced about this. It's important to remember that this is not God giving you a blanket guarantee.

Let's pause and consider. This is not God saying, "If you do this, you'll never get cancer". This is not God saying, "You'll never get heart disease; you'll never get diabetes; you'll never have a stroke," because you and I both know that there are many people who have done everything right, only to see it go horribly wrong. People who've lived perfectly healthy lives are battling dementia. If, if they could redo it, they'd probably do things exactly the same and therefore maybe even end up with the same result. Unfortunately we live in a world that has been ravaged over the years by illness, by disease, by sickness, you could simply say, by sin, and here we are thousands of years after Creation; we're a sick bunch. God said to Egypt, to Israel back then, "You won't get the Egyptian diseases if you do what I say".

So what God is saying to us today, "If you follow the principles that I'm giving you, you'll do much better than others. You'll do much better than you might otherwise do. If you follow the principles, you'll be able to ward off heart disease in many, many cases. You'll be able to ward off diabetes that otherwise you would suffer from if you didn't follow my principles. You can protect yourself against cancer by following the, the simple principles that I'm giving you". So God made the promise, we believe it, we accept it, but we just wanna be a little careful, a little moderate in how we apply it. Now, let me give you three reasons why you might wanna consider adopting a plant-based diet. You'll find more reasons in the study guide, but I'm going to give you three now and under each reason some, some sub-reasons. Let's look at this.

First reason: hunger. Listen to this. The number of people worldwide who die from undernutrition each year: 7.6 million. That's a terrible number. The number of children worldwide who die from undernutrition each year, the number of children: 3.1 million. The number of people who could be adequately fed using land freed for farming instead of feeding the cereals to animals, did you get that? The number of people who could be fed adequately using the land freed for farming instead of feeding the cereals to animals: 3.5... billion people could be fed. You notice that? We have millions of people undernourished or malnourished dying of starvation, but billions could be fed if we just simply shifted the way things are done. Percentage of the world's farmland devoted to beef production, not that we wanna vilify beef farmers, we don't, but here's the fact, nearly 60 percent of the world's farmland is devoted to beef production. Shift that, and that's a lot of food provided for hungry people.

So, hunger, reason number 1 that you might want to think about adopting a plant-based diet. Point number 2: cancer. The increased risk of breast cancer for women who eat meat daily compared to women who eat meat less than once a week: 3.8 times, nearly four times the cancer risk. You're more, more than, you're almost four times more likely to get cancer if you eat meat daily, if you're a female, as compared to women who eat meat only once a week. For women who eat eggs daily, compared to once a week, you have a 2.8 times increased risk of cancer. Those are some mind-blowing numbers.

Reason number 3; remember there are more, but I'm giving you three reasons. Third reason that you might want to adopt a plant-based diet is cholesterol. The percentage of U.S. men who die from heart disease: 25 percent. One in four men in the United States dies from heart disease. The percentage risk of the average U.S. man who eats no meat, dairy, or eggs dying from a heart attack: 4 percent. So instead of 25 percent, it's 1 in 25. Did you get that? The percentage risk of the average U.S. man who eats no meat, dairy, or eggs dying from a heart attack, it's low. These are just the numbers. One thing you can't really argue with is facts, and these are true facts, as opposed to false facts, which I'm supposing aren't facts at all.

All right, the guidelines here given from God, by God in the Bible, they go on, and they are, really helpful and very practical. But I want to look at this question here, and I believe it's question number 6: "Does God care about how we treat our bodies"? How about that? "Does God care about how we treat our bodies"? Look at what God says. This is in 1 Corinthians chapter 10: "Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God". Eat in a way that honors God. Evidently God does care. There might be a way, evidently, to eat or drink that dishonors God. Can you imagine what that might be? Probably not that hard to imagine.

As a matter of fact, this is kind of like what you read in question 3 in the same study guide. So I want to read question 3 for you: "What guidelines can we follow" to eat in a healthier manner? There's a good question. Ecclesiastes 10 in verse 17 says, "Blessed are you, O land, when your king is the son of nobles, and your princes feast at the proper time, for strength and not for drunkenness"! Just think, how often do you eat for strength? How often do you eat saying, "This will be good for me"? It's very common for people to sit down and eat some junk and say, "Well, this part will be good for me," but think about the rest.

Oh, no, God doesn't want to wring all the fun and enjoyment out of your life. He certainly doesn't want to take all the fun and enjoyment off your plate, but it's really important that you figure out what real fun and real enjoyment is. Fun and enjoyment is living longer and doing well. There's nothing fun or, enjoyable about dying young or living with diseases that you can avoid. Let me suggest this to you, and that's if you want to make some changes in your life and you want to see God do great things in what you're doing, go to God, pray, and say, "Lord, help me. Guide me". And do you know what? He'll absolutely do it.

Here's what I'd like you to do. Go to takecharge.life, takecharge.life, and you can download this resource. You can also there watch again this presentation, if you missed part of it, if you'd like to watch it again. And you can share the link with somebody else and say, "Hey, you, too, can learn how to take charge of your health". Tomorrow night we're talking about "the big C": cancer. Nothing to be alarmed about, everything to be hopeful for. You are going to be encouraged and blessed, and you are going to learn how you can take charge of your health. I'm looking forward to seeing you for, with more in part 3 tomorrow night of Take Charge of Your Health. See ya then.
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