Autumn 2000 index                                                                                                     CivAb index


Diabetes is increasing as a corollary

of obesity and high fat consumption


    Between 1990 and 1998 the incidence of diabetes among people in their 30's rose a whopping 76%!  In the population as a whole, there was a more modest increase from 4.9% to 6.5% of the population, but that is still a 32% increase over all.


    Over 90% of diabetes is the Type 2 or Adult Onset variety in which insulin-producing cells wear out and stop producing insulin.  It is worrisome that Type 2, usually found in adults over 45, is now affecting so many people in their 30's and even being diagnosed in teenagers.


    Dr Frank Vinicor, director for diabetes at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and author of a study based on telephone interviews with 150,000 American households published in Diabetes Care, Aug 24, 2000, predicted that the number of cases would continue to grow in tandem with the increase in obesity.  The study determined that every pound of excess weight increases the risk of diabetes by  4%.


  Not everybody who is overweight becomes diabetic, however.  There is a genetic factor which often runs in families that makes some people more disposed to the disease than others.  Still, the best way of preventing it is through exercise and keeping weight within bounds with a low-fat, plant-based diet.  Excess weight could be considered a precursor of the disease.  Walking more, sitting less, and avoiding high-calorie snacks can help.   


Type 1 or insulin-dependent diabetes is a more serious autoimmune disease in which the body's immune cells kill the insulin-producing islet cells, but here too, diet and exercise can help to control the disease.


    According to Dr Jay Markowitz, director of pancreas transplantation at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the US spends $98 billion dollars a year caring for 16 million diabetics.  Much of the cost arises from complications of the disease which sadly include kidney failure,


    Cures for disease are rare, however.  Most of the remedies that are called "cures" treat symptoms without getting rid of  the disease.  This is partly due to the practice of trying to artificially recreate the symptoms of human diseases  in other animals and plying them with new and existing drugs instead of studying disease during clinical practice and through autopsies and thenlooking for ways to prevent it.  It was through autopsy that Dr Thomas Cawley unlocked the mystery of diabetes in 1788.  It took well over a century of animal experimentation before the palliative of insulin was achieved through better refinement of bovine pancreatic extracts rather than from animal experimentation, which had only served to delay progress.  Stem cell research, along with exercise and attention to diet,  holds the promise of preventing this disease that afflicts so many from materializing. 


    Robert Cohen in Milk the Deadly Poison (pp 218-220) cites a number of studies that point to  cow milk fed in infancy as a possible cause of Type 1 diabetes later in childhood.  One study comparing Finnish and American children reported in New England Journal of Medicine,July 30, 1992, is of particular interest.  Finland has both the highest rate of dairy consumption in the world and the highest rate of juvenile diabetes which strikes 40 out 1000 children compared to c. 7 out of 1,000 in the US. The researchers theorize that the antibodies against milk protein the children develop in their first year attack and destroy the insulin-producing islet cells in the pancreas.


    Another proposed study will follow with 3000 children who receive no dairy products during their first nine months to see if it affects the incidence of diabetes.  Cohen warns that nursing mothers in the study should also be required to avoid dairy products in order to ensure that no bovine proteins are transmitted to the children through their milk.


Autumn 2000 index                                                                                                     CivAb index

The Civil Abolitionist

Autumn 2000

The Civil Abolitionist

Autumn 2000